First Friday #12

First Friday this month was a little lighter then last month unfortunately, but I think I had a better time. It was a warm day and I thought it would bring out the crowds, instead I think the crowds decided to go to dinner I guess. I had on display this First Friday works from my shows in Virginia at the Mid-Atlantic 2016 and my show at the Lebanon Picture Frame Gallery that I had with Melissa Perhamus. I also had all five remaining Maybe Baby paintings out too. I managed to sale a painting that night to my friend Kate Hughes, from my Wanted series from the early 2000’s. Here’s the piece that sold, Wanted No. 1:

Anthony Smith, Wanted No 3, 24 x 36 inches, mixed media, 2003

The Wanted series was a set of 8 mixed media paintings that I did back in 2002 when I first arrived in New York from Michigan. The series was a response to the ramp up to the second Iraq war and was inspired by a call made by the Triple Candie Gallery back when they were in Harlem. They asked artists to make protest signs to protest the war, so I chose to take slave posters from after the Fugitive Slave Act was passed in 1850 and superimposed the posters with “characters” inspired by slave brands like these below:

Of the 8 paintings I originally made there are now only two Wanted works left which makes it one of my most successful series, and I think I’ll return to that theme in the future. But I digress, First Friday was quiet I had some folks interested in my Maybe Baby series…, particularly the progression from the first piece to the last one…. I felt that guests to the studio were more well behaved regarding eating my food without looking at my work… I had two old pieces out on view to test what folks thought of them. Two works from my Leaving Bensalem Set were out and the positive comments I received from Kate Hughes and Ward Van Haute, the owner of the Bethlehem House Gallery, made me realize that I should have more faith in my older work. Here are those two Leaving Bensalem pieces:

The night ended as quietly as it began, with the noted exception of artist Andrew Kish’s studio. Andrew participated in a exquisite-corpse-like exercise with mostly Easton, PA based artists and had a large crowd in his space late into the night. The crowds there made me realize that artists have to take the lead to drive the crowds to First Friday rather than relying on the Banana Factory and ArtsQuest to promote the event. So in the future I think I will design studio based demos to drive in more foot traffic here. In closing despite the crowds I had good company in my space and continued to deepen my friendships with the other resident artists, particularly those on my floor. Okay here are some pics of what my space looked like this month:

Until next time…


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