Last Friday was First Friday at the Banana Factory and as per normal I’m reflecting on it nearly a week afterwards. I felt initially that the day would be sparsely attended because of Labor Day weekend, and it was initially, but it ultimately ended up as a nicely attended event.
The night began with an ArtsQuest reception for donors. It was my first donor event and though attendance was – except for the artists – on the light side, it was still very nice to see folks dedicated to the arts in the area show up. Once First Friday began in earnest the typical trickle of folks came in. I went light on the refreshments this month and didn’t feel bad about it for a change.
One of my first guests were a couple who noticed a painting I had that featured the President and they decided to use the occasion to lay into Obama for not doing more to improve race relations in the country. That nearly sent me ballistic and I had to stop myself from screaming all kinds of obscenities at them. They seemed to have taken the hint that I wasn’t happy with their comments and quickly left leaving me feeling like a heel for taking their bait.
Another lovely couple came in looked at my work and left saying to “keep it simple”. This comment irritated me because they seemed to have missed the point of my work. I’d never walk into someones space and offer a backhanded jab like that. This couple, in they’re nice and entitled middle class finery, seemed to confirm to me that folks in this area seem to think they can say anything to an artist.
On a positive note I received a visit from Tyrone Webb, a fantastic spray paint artist who I’ve talked about before. He and I are becoming fast friends and I’m eager to get him into the Banana Factory as a resident artist. Tyrone and I spoke about the difficulties in getting exposure for our work, possibly investing in a publicist and also the need to manufacture popularity. We also spoke a bit about his messy divorce…, my heart goes out to him for what he’s going through. Tyrone and I also had a great chat with a black ArtsQuest member who seemed surprised and delighted that there were resident artists at the Banana Factory who were people of color. This suggests to me that ArtsQuest needs to do a better job highlighting the artists in the building to the South Bethlehem community; I’m told such efforts are in the works.
The night ended with me with a bit of embarrassment when I thought a visitor was gay. I ate crow on that one. The guy seemed mildly annoyed but somewhat amused at the same time so hopefully I saved a little face there by making light of my gaff. Additionally I had a great conversation with the Director of Visual Arts at ArtsQuest, Stacey Brennan, who let me know about all the plans she has in store for us over the next few months.
For this First Friday I decided to mostly put up older works from my “Who is Prester John” series and my “Original Eight in Apotheosis with the Isley Brothers” sets. I also displayed several drawings from my Hotness in Concert series along with Hotness No. 3. Here’s some images of the studio set up this month.
During Labor Day weekend I drove up to Factoryville, Pa with my boyfriend and another good friend of our, King, and listened to the new Radiohead CD all the way up. It of course put the two of them to sleep in minutes which was just fine by me because it meant that I could listen to those smooth melancholic tunes in peace. I particularly liked “Identikit”and “Present Tense”. Here are some YouTube videos of these songs.
On a completely different note I recently reheard a Ciara song from 3 years ago and fell back in love with it. It’s “I’m Out”, and features Nikki Minaj. Here’s the YouTube video of it as well.
Okay that’s it for this post. Next I’ll finally begin looking at Obama and the arts, and report on new development in the studio as well as document my current exhibit at the new LGBT center in Allentown, the Bradbury-Sullivan Center. Until then do be well!