Sunday, June 2, 2013

ISSA Show!

The annual International Society of Scratchboard Artists annual show opens next week in Vancouver, BC!  

I have three pieces in the show (shown below, you might have seen them in previous posts).  It is going to be an amazing collection of scratchboard art from all over the world - so if you have any opportunity to go check it out I strongly encourage it!!
(Click the image to go to the show's online preview!)
I feel incredibly fortunate to be a signature member of the ISSA.  I love that beyond being just a member, I actually know the founders of the society and was around (virtually, as is the way with things these days) during its conception.  The ISSA folks have been doing great things to help advance scratchboard art as it's own, legitimate fine art medium and among those things is the annual 'scratchboard exclusive' show that they hold.  

 "A Dog Named DaVinci" 8x8" (c) Pam Boutilier

Those not involved with this medium might not realize that it can be a tough one to categorize, and most juried art shows (the kind that help you gain recognition and sales and that are often a part of an artist's professional life) don't give much thought toward scratchboard art.  It's not that scratchboard art is refused or anything, it's just that you usually have to specify what medium or category your art is.  

 "Intensity" 4x16" (c) Pam Boutilier

Often the choices fall along the lines of 'Oil Painting', 'Watercolour', 'Pastel' in which 'Scratchboard' is rarely an option... so 'Other' it is.  If they categorize more generally: 'Painting', 'Drawing', 'Mixed Media' do you choose drawing because it's a line-oriented medium?  But the colour is painted on, and for my whiteboards the background is all brush-applied ink.. so does that make it a 'Painting'?  Not really.  Very often we are left to our own best interpretation and hoping that the jury panel agrees.  There has been no standardization.  This is a frustration for scratchboard artists, but also might be a turn-off for other artists starting out in the medium.  Part of the goal of the ISSA is to make scratchboard art a recognized medium in its own right and alleviate some of these problems.

"Storm on the Horizon" 4x4" (c) Pam Boutilier

The annual ISSA show is a fabulous event!  Not only is it a one-of-a-kind collection of some of the best scratchboard art from all over the world, but if you are lucky enough to attend in person (which sadly I will not be this year) there are workshops with some amazing artists.  I've met and hung out with these folks and can vouch for the fact that you'd be hard pressed to find a more warm, friendly, down-to-earth and interesting group of people.  If you are an artist and at all interested in scratchboard I strongly encourage you to try to attend the ISSA workshops (or you can purchase DVDs of previous workshops on the website here).

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