I've been showing my art for over 15 years, everything from basements to corporate galleries. Take whatever chance you get to show your work, you'll grow from it, trust me. To me, showing my work has always been a social event. I love being at the opening, talking to people, sharing an experience. It's an important part of the process for me. I'd like to share a quick look at some of the shows along my journey, but I don't want to talk about the art. I'd like to focus on the events.
Let's start with 2003, my first show after art school. A group of artists put together a show in my backyard. We called it Art in the Garden. It was really a bunch of young local artists showing their work to each other. I think we had wine too. We put up easels in the backyard and around the house. It was a blast, and I learned that my work all over the place, but I didn't care. I enjoyed the social aspect of the show and sharing my work with friends. I was hooked.
|Original invite to Art in the Garden|
Next is Streets2k5, with Albus Cavus, and artist collective I worked with for many years, starting this show. It took place in New Brunswick, NJ. The show was at eight different venues, with over 100 international artists (most mailed in their work) It included outdoor painting, musical performance, and a radio interview. This was a HUGE event that created incredible memories, lasting friendships, and fuel to continue pursuing my art. I'm still in touch with many of the artists I met from this show.
|Streets 2k5, Showing the Harvest Moon, Feaster Park, TheCORE, New Brunswick NJ|
Right around the same time I felt I could hold a solo show. I had three successful solo shows over three years, at The Harvest Moon, New Brunswick, NJ. I started to look at the solo show as more of an experience I was creating for the viewer. It wasn't just about the art on the walls. It was also the announcements, the promotions, and the environment.
|Commuter, Harvest Moon Brewery, New Brunswick, NJ|
In 2011, Hinterland, was a group show at Aristeia Metro, in the NY Design Center. Four artists of varying style, brought together by a super cool interior design company, to show work and have a party for their clients. This group can throw a fun party. They had an amazing DJ, passed hors d'oeuvres, bartenders, dessert trays. I learned that passed hors d'oeuvres REALLY makes a difference. An upscale event can change perception for your audience. It's not necessary, but it's something nice to offer your guests.
|Hinterland, Aristeia Metro, NY Design Center, NY|
Daydreams, Solo show at Salon Concrete, Red Bank, NJ, in the fall of 2014. Our twin boys were born in February, 2015, so I knew I wanted to take a break. I also knew that after that show I would be switching gears to get into the world of children's literature. This was a CRAZY show. The salon based a collection of style, cut, and color, on my work. Click here to see styles. We had a live photo shoot in the front space of the Salon. You could see the photo shoot from the street through a nice big window. Inside you were greeted by a wall my original skateboard designs, and a whole bunch of people. Once you walked into the space, we had two tables of hot and cold food, passed hors d'oeuvres, and an amazing DJ. My art filled the walls, both framed work and line art paintings directly on the walls. It was jam packed with people. What a night!
|Daydreams, Salon Concrete, Red Bank, NJ|
Why am I telling you all of this? I'm starting to understand that creating picture books, for the most part, is a quiet, solitary journey. It's easy to get caught up in that, but what happens when you have a book launch, or need to promote your book? There may be long breaks between those books. How can you maintain a following? Hold events with your art. Socialize. Join group shows, promote your work, gain a following. Put yourself out there. You work so hard on this process, you should share the work that you create. Do it for yourself. Trust me, if you've never shown your work, you don't need a corporate art gallery or fancy design center. You can show at a library or restaurant. Just try it. Invite some friends and have a good time. See what happens.
After a short hiatus, (our twin boys are now two yrs old) I am getting back to showing my work... and I have two coming up.
The Wondrous World of Children’s Book Illustrators
The Interchurch Center
475 Riverside Drive, Suite #240
New York, New York 10115
Opening reception, June 22, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
The Illustration of Mike Ciccotello
Johnson & Johnson, Corporate Headquarters
New Brunswick, NJ
August 28 - October 6th.
Viewing is by appointment only (it's easy to do)
Contact - Stacey Hecht, Exhibitions Coordinator
Corporate Art Program, Johnson & Johnson