19 August 2015

Contemporary Longrifle Association Show

The 2015 CLA show was held last week at its usual venue in Lexington, Kentucky. There were, as always, many talented artists although it seems like in the past few years, fewer new artists of note. The attendance was down considerably from say four years ago, when you could barely squeeze through the aisles. Long time attending artists such as Shawn Webster, Steve Lodding, Jeff Bibb and Jeff Bottiger were absent. They not only brought their artistry but their unique personalities to the show.

It was, nonetheless, a great time. My main goal is to visit with rarely seen friends, like my brother of a different mother, Ron. Share meals with Lisa and Carroll. Learn from Brian, Steven, Mark, Mitch and others. It may be on the down hill slide but its still better than anything else out there.

Brian Anderson's traditionally forged weapons

John Schippers engraving and restoration

Mitch Yates trade silver

Giclee prints of David Wright paintings

Alec and Matt
 Certainly one problem is the average age of both the artists and the buyers - maybe 60 or greater, very few young people. There are some talented young makers such as Alec Fourman and Matt Fennewald who will hopefully keep up their artistry and carry forward the tradition.

Many of the objects for sale are far too expensive for young persons to purchase although the Gray Hair Mafia was buying unabated. There seems to be a trend to make every day objects, such as knives, artificially precious by having multiple artists of note construct them. The emphasis has moved from utilitarian but historically accurate items to highly elaborate collectibles, never meant to be taken down from the wall. Personally, I think this does nothing to move the art form forward and forces out folks lacking deep pockets, and creating huge collections in only a few hands.

1 comment:

Villagevoice said...

Sounds like they're making the same mistake so many fine arts organizations still struggle to overcome: elitism.

Artists and artisans would do well to respect your observations, and make themselves accessible to a broader marketplace. Keep the high end wares for big profit, and provide practical quality goods as well, to attract new buyers who want to put them to good use!