Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I don't "like" what Twitter is planning to do



I've been tweeting under my real name since 2008. I am very particular about how I use Twitter. I don't reply to everything of interest because having conversations in public feels awkward. My DMs are closed to all but mutual followers as a measure of self-protection. I don't retweet everything I like because I want my timeline to be focused on specific subjects. That's where "liking" or "favoriting" things comes in. I just want to promote my artwork, sell books, and get interior design clients. That's why I signed up for social media in the first place. But as usual, Twitter has ignored the needs of its users in favor of the whims of its founder. And it makes me want to leave, or at least use it less frequently.

In the ten years since I have been on Twitter, it has been a source of disappointment much of the time, at least when it comes to business opportunities. Every once in a while it works for me. I got my first illustration project because the author found me on Twitter. I got my first grant because I found out about the opportunity on Twitter. Its greatest value to me has been as a source of breaking news. Since Michael Jackson's passing in 2009, it has been where I have learned about celebrities' deaths. It's been a way to stay informed without turning my television on. During the uprising in Ferguson, MO it was how I found links to live feeds of what was happening there, without the filter of any reporters' interpretations. It was where I discovered the We Need Diverse Books movement, and many of the protests, marches, rallies, and direct actions I've participated in.

When people who don't have a Twitter account or don't use it complain about it, I always tell them that it depends on who you follow. I am very intentional about who I follow. When I first joined, I only followed accounts related to art or interior design because at the time that was the advice social media experts were giving. I eventually widened the accounts I followed to include news outlets, local businesses I like, and finally "regular people" with interesting perspectives. Because I joined the site when I was 29 and looking for a job, I haven't tweeted many things I regret and would delete. And because I am a creative looking for ways to promote myself, I have never been interested in using Twitter as a platform for debate or even conversation. I see it, as well as my other social media, as my personal billboard.

When Facebook first introduced the "like" button (it seems like it's always been there, but it wasn't), one of my cousins lamented that people wouldn't comment as much on his status updates because of it. Instead of expressing their thoughts and feelings on his posts in their own words, they would just "like" them and move on. This is the reverse. Something about no longer getting the simple affirmation that something I said resonated with someone and having that replaced with "dialogue" really unnerves me. My art is not something I want to debate or defend. I'm not in grad school anymore. I'm online to try to share my work and make money. My finished work, not ideas that are incomplete and could be stolen by an opportunist. My finished thoughts, not ramblings that belong in a journal.

As it becomes more clear that the misuse of the internet—especially social media—is responsible for much of what's wrong with the world right now, including the current American national nightmare, it makes me feel like I am complicit as a social media user. I have spent years envying other people's social media success, though many have spoken out about how their near-celebrity has brought them a lot of unwanted attention from stalkers and trolls. When I think of that, I feel relieved that I don't have that problem. Still, as an independent artist and author and freelance interior designer, it's imperative that I get the word out about what I have to offer.

Lately I've been thinking that I might be better off sending out postcards than sending tweets. The internet has become so crowded and noisy and it's so hard to get noticed. But maybe if someone saw this in their mailbox they'd buy my book.




Yes, I've become so annoyed with social media that I am looking to direct mail marketing now. There is a lot that social media is good for. I wish it could live up to its promise and that the leaders of social networking companies would get out of the way so it could live up to its full potential.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The 2018 Fall Cornelia Arts Building Open House

It's been a while since I've attended or written about the open studios at the Cornelia Arts Building in Ravenswood. Seeing the art there has always been an inspiring experience. I enjoyed seeing work by Jordan Scott and Jason Messinger again. I also know a few of the artists who have studios there. I will begin with their work.

Kevin Swallow

Nelson Armour

Kathy Weaver


I also had a chance to see work by artists I met for the first time. Here are my favorites.

Abena Motaboli
Abena Motaboli

Sally Brandl
Sally Brandl


Swanky Modes Design
Swanky Modes Design

Madeline Shea
Madeline Shea

Susan Redeker
Susan Redeker


Emily Roynesdal
Emily Roynesdal

Madeleine Philbin
Madeleine Philbin





The Cornelia Arts Building usually has open studios quarterly, so the next one will probably be in the winter. It's definitely worth visiting and I am always so inspired by what I see there.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Design Chicago 2018

Attending Design Chicago this year gave me the opportunity to learn about so many new products, while also becoming more knowledgeable about existing ones. I think my favorite new product line is the Wanderlust Collection from Pindler. What a sumptuous palette.


There was a lot of beautiful fabric to see. One of my favorite showrooms, Osborne and Little, had some beautiful designs.




I loved the way this chair in the Robert Allen showroom was upholstered.


I attended a very informative Benjamin Moore presentation about the way light effects how colors are rendered. The paint swatches below are all the same colors, but the three different light bulbs in the lamps bring out varying casts and undertones in them.


I also saw more beautiful things in the Michael Taylor Designs showroom.



And the Donghia showroom.





I look forward to being able to apply what I've learned to some new projects soon.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Other Art Fair


Since I have been exhibiting my artwork for ten years now, I thought it was time I participate in a large scale international art fair. For years I've attended EXPO and SOFA at Navy Pier, on the outside looking in, wishing that I could be one of the featured artists. I applied for two grants to pay for this show at the same time that I applied to be in it. The grants rejected me but the show accepted me. I think I felt a sense of urgency about taking a chance on it anyway because my aunt's sudden passing made me think about the things I hope to achieve in my lifetime. I don't want to wait to be "discovered" by someone. I'm trying to put myself in situations where I am more likely to encounter people who would want to buy my art or can otherwise help further my career. My goal isn't necessarily fame, but for the right people to know my name.

The show was a Mana Contemporary on Cermak. Though the building is gritty and industrial on the outside, it has been transformed into a sleek art space on the inside. I was very pleased with the way the show looked.

paintings by Tiffany Gholar at The Other Art Fair



I made two new paintings for the show, Emerald Splendor and Violet Verve.


paintings by Tiffany Gholar at The Other Art Fair


I brought a comfortable chair that goes with my artwork. I also brought one copy of each of my art books.

I really appreciated the fact that The Other Art Fair partnered with Little Black Pearl. And it was also good that there were receptions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.


The youngest VIP to visit my booth during the VIP reception Friday was my niece.


I think she liked the colors of my business cards.

There were 120 artists in the fair. The work ran the gamut from installation art to painting to sculpture to multimedia experiences. Here are some of my favorites.

art by Jane Georges at The Other Art Fair in Chicago, 2018

art by Jane Georges at The Other Art Fair in Chicago, 2018

art by Jane Georges at The Other Art Fair in Chicago, 2018
A site-specific installation by Jane Georges

Wendi Turchan
Wendi Turchan


Victoria Fuller
Victoria Fuller

Zach Mory
Zach Mory

Patti Brady
Patti Brady

Mychaelyn Michalec
Mychaelyn Michalec


Ella Lima
Ella Lima

Yvette Kaiser Smith
Yvette Kaiser Smith

Britni Mara
Britni Mara




Emma Repp
Emma Repp

vSteven Chayt
Steven Chayt
Liz Mares
Liz Mares
Matthew Adamczyk
Matthew Adamczyk



Michael Pfleghaar
Michael Pfleghaar
Alvaro Galindo
Alvaro Galindo
Jim Ford
Jim Ford


So much beautiful work, as you can see. It was a shame that more people didn't come to see it. I didn't sell anything.

red dots I never got to use; a blank sales docket

The issue may have been the location. As I have written before, Chicago is a very segregated city. There are many in this city who will not venture south of McCormick Place. What lies west of Chinatown are parts unknown to them. With Mana being as far south as McCormick Place and across the river from Chinatown, the journey to The Other Art Fair was likely too daunting for some people to take. A shuttle bus or trolley service would have made a huge difference. So would having the show closer to Navy Pier to get the most out of the EXPO traffic.

I won't lie about how I felt by Saturday night. I was profoundly disappointed. People who said they were coming back never returned. I felt like it might be too late for me to sell anything. I had fleeting despondent thoughts of dumping all my paintings into the Chicago River, which of course would defeat the purpose of trying to have an eco-friendly, zero-waste art process. So then I thought it might help if Allen Vandever were there to threaten to chop my art up with an axe again. But I remember how that went. I have a lightbox sign at my studio that currently says "BUY MY ART" on it and I had thought about bringing it. Though I'm sure it wouldn't have made a difference either. I was glad that an artist friend called me during the show and talked me out of my gloomy mindset. I had begun to wonder if my work just isn't good enough and was going back over all the hard times I had as a sales associate and thinking of all the things my old jobs had taught me and worrying that I hadn't been a good salesperson of my work. I started thinking of all the places I didn't advertise the show, and wondered if posting about it on this blog that nobody even really reads anymore would have made a difference. (But I advertised on all my social media, even LinkedIn, for goodness sake!) Then I heard other artists also saying that their work wasn't selling, either. So at least it wasn't just me. Though it was nice hearing people say they love my art, it is hard to believe that if they don't actually buy it. It's kind of like when someone says they love you but not enough to marry you.

But these are the things that happen when you do something for the first time. You make mistakes. You learn from them. 

Having to return to my studio with unsold artwork after paying so much to be in a show where I didn't sell it was disheartening. So is still feeling like I don't have enough of the right people paying attention to my work. I still feel invisible, unrecognized, and unnoticed. Still, I realized that even though it is really hard being an artist sometimes, it would be even harder doing something I hate every day. I suppose the good thing about this experience was realizing this. Yes, the thing I love to do is typically a very, very hard way to make money, but I still want to do it anyway.

I don't think I will be paying to participate in any more shows for a very long time unless I finally get a grant that can cover the cost. Despite my disappointment, I'm glad I got to be a part of the inaugural The Other Art Fair in Chicago and hope that it will somehow lead to better things.

The 2018 EXPO Chicago art show

This year's EXPO Chicago art show was not quite as dynamic as it had been the past few years, though one new addition that I appreciated was having more events taking place concurrently around the city, extending its scope beyond a few days at Navy Pier to a full week around the city. EXPO Art Week programming even included one of my favorite places, The Smart Museum at The University of Chicago, with a dynamic celebration of a new show that just opened there about South Side artists.

I suppose I have high expectations for EXPO now because—if you're familiar with my blog you may recall—this was the show where I serendipitously met Olympic Medalist Tommie Smith right after I had just read about him in a book I was reading while studying for Jeopardy!, found a booth that coordinated perfectly with my outfit, and saw a painting that foretold our current national nightmare. Also, I had to rush through the show because I had an art show of my own to get to and didn't want to be late for the first day. So I didn't have time to visit the Justice Hotel installation that two artists I know, Maya Camille Broussard and Rhonda Wheatley, were a part of.

Here are photos of the art that caught my eye. As always, I try my best to include the names of the artists in the captions, but sometimes I miss a few.


Prune Nourry

Peter Williams

Forum Gallery



Benjamin Larose

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga


Guerilla Girls






AfriCOBRA







Fu Xiaotong



Mario Moore

Clare Rojas

Jim Lambie




Andrea Galvani

David Gill Gallery

Hank Willis Thomas

Anna Kunz

Jon Rappleye


Shin Sung Hy

Whitfield Lovell

StephanΓ© E. Conradie

Ann Agee

Karen Arm


Ger Van Elk

Oscar Murillo

John M. Armleder

Patrick Bongoy


Firelei BΓ‘ez

James Rosenquist

Bisa Butler

Sculpture: Jesse Small; Bas-reliefs: Rupert Deese


Carlos RolΓ³n

William LaChance

Esmaa Mohamoud




El Anatsui

Alexis Peskine

I also recorded a few short videos of live performances and video art that I liked. 


Video art by Gregory Scott

Live performances by ballerinas from The Joffrey Ballet Company



I'm glad I had the chance, though it was brief, to see all the art that was on view at EXPO this year and still hope that someday I will get to display my work there. But I'm getting closer since I was in a satellite fair this year. Click here to read about it.
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