Entries Tagged 'Art' ↓

Where did I take this photo?



I have been producing some new cool stuff, and it is time to clean the walls of some of my older pieces. No reasonable offer will be refused.

Contact me at: fb.art@sio.midco.net

‘Bettie is Dead’; Bettie Page’

Acrylics and mixed media on canvas, no frame. 16 x 20″




Flashback Saturday; March 2007

This was a post I did on my old site 25dp.com, somethings never change at the Pavilion


‘The Day Ray Johnson Died’

Shadow Box – 12 x 12 x 3″



Every year for the past 5 years I have donated a piece to the Washington Pavilion VAC Arts Night (A fundraiser for the Visual Arts Center). As you all know, I’m not a big fan of the Washington Pavilion or art ORGS in general. Although I believed in supporting the Visual Art Center because it’s the ONLY FREE amenity in the publicly funded facility, and Howard is pretty cool (Howard is the curator, he actually wrote my intro on my webpage and he told my best collector, Clyde, that I was the only TRUE artist in Sioux Falls, because I’m vocal about the arts in Sioux Falls). Arts Night is kind of fun too, you get to see all these rich hob-knobbers slobber all over each other. They usually overdress for the event and underpay for the art. I have been very vocal the past couple of years about minimum bids, etc. Of course the Pavilion feels it is about the quality of the work, that is why the art doesn’t bring enough. Never mind that they don’t use a real art auctioneer, or that they overcharge for the ticket (Approximately $80 per person for just the meal and a seat at a table). The meals are usually cold and the meat is usually dry. Last year the PAV decided to start JURYING the art, too get better quality – so to speak. I think this is unwise for a couple of reasons:

1) They should accept every single piece donated, isn’t this a fund-raiser?

2) Don’t invite artists that do poor quality work.

Last year after a couple of long time artist contributors were rejected, I brought up these two things. Of course things did not change. They wanted to have a meeting with me about my concerns. I said a meeting was unnecessary, because I told them what I thought and they need to fix the problem internally. Like I said, after a few months I never heard anything, so I sent them a NY Times article about artist donations, and how some ORGS give back to the artists. I still never heard anything, and I am assuming that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

My donation was rejected this year with 34 other artists. In the form letter they say pieces are picked by quality, sellability, media, and CONTENT (Huh?) but I have a feeling my rumblings had something to do with my rejection and not my art. I worked at the PAV for 4 years, every decision they make is POLITICAL.

Every year I try to submit something different and interesting. It’s not that I’m some hack who does close-up photos of tulips or 5-minute abstract paintings. My piece brought $850 dollars last year which is about double of what others artist’ work brings. Two years ago I tied for first place for the People’s Choice award and the year before that I was on the Arts Night planning committee. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I put in my time, and my art is appreciated. I could care less what people pay for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for giving other artists a chance. That was the goal of my art group MAC that I formed a couple of years ago. I think that is actually the positive thing that could come out of this, but it could be handled differently, like rotating artist donations every year, or having two Arts Nights per year. Howard once suggested one before Christmas would be a good idea. I’m finding out more and more though that people who had an education in the arts or arts management have trouble thinking for themselves and exploring new ideas. Apparently, creativity is not a part of the education.

This year I did a shadow box called “The day Ray Johnson died” It wasn’t a political piece, I usually try to stay away from that for Arts Night. It was a tribute to the famous self-taught collage/mail artist Ray Johnson. Ray was anti-establishment, maybe it’s fitting that that piece was rejected. He never had a manager and peddled his art on his own. Maybe the words “Art is Dead” painted on the shadow box glass deterred the jurors from selecting it (you know, that CONTENT thing). It was in reference to RAY’s death, not art in general, and in a postage mark. Basically I was saying that “Mail Art” died a little the day Ray died. It’s really not a complicated message. I think sometimes people look too deep into my art, I’ve told people it is all on the surface. A couple of years back, a local art critic poked fun at my work because I painted words on my paintings. He felt I was giving something away to the viewer, art is supposed to be giving to the viewer not cloaked in mystery. What if Caravaggio believed that, would he have invented the Baroque style? Speaking of Caravaggio, it makes me laugh that in 2007 artists are judged for their personal beliefs and personal lives instead of their art. Imagine if patrons would have felt this way about Caravaggio? He would have never worked a day in his life. He was quite the hellraiser. Patron’s wanted him for his art, not for his personality. I think that is what it is all about, by banning my art, they are banning me personally. Seems like a silly assertion, but trust me I have had past experiences with the Ol’ Pavilion.

This rejection was the last kick in the balls I’m going to take from any art organization, especially the Pavilion, a place that has kicked me twice before. Once when they refused to market my individual exhibit because it may be controversial and once when I was passed up for a management position when I worked there because I was too outspoken. Maybe I’m the stupid one here for continuing to donate. I tried getting out of it two years ago, but was personally asked by Howard and his assistant Erin, and that changed my mind. I was reassured by Erin that my work would probably never be rejected because I’m a long time donator that the VAC appreciated. Apparently times have changed.

There’s a new Sheriff in town, David is the new director of the VAC. Howard was filling in until they found one. I have never met David, but he had no problem putting a personal note on my rejection letter that he would like me to donate next year. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen – pal. According to his resume, he’s one of those ART SCHOOL apologists who judge art on it’s appearance. It’s a shame he had to pay for his education. I wonder if his new blood had a little to do with my rejection? I left David a phone message asking who the jurors were, he never called back. An email to him revealed that he was out of town until Monday, according to the auto reply. Seems convenient that he would be gone when all the rejected artists were picking up their work, so his staff has to deal with them. That’s typical of the Pavilion management: The best way to solve a problem is to ignore it. Looks like he will fit in nicely.

Make no mistake, the Pavilion is about private money and their donors. The donors shape what goes on in that building and the executive director and employees are merely their minions. I wonder what kind of soap they use to clean their noses?

Don’t believe me. Check this out. A couple years back, Arts Night registered a domain for the event where they show pictures of the artists work. I went there today to see who got selected:


Pretty cool huh? A credit card company apparently got picked.

So what’s next? I’m going to insist that the juror names be released or the reason why my piece was rejected. Secrecy only makes my suspicions stronger.


This is the Email exchange I had with the Pavilion, I CC the Executive Director on the Final response.



No need to call, I work all day and am hard to get a hold of.

I just have two questions:

1) What criteria did I fail that resulted in my piece getting rejected?

2) Who were the jurors? I am assuming this information is available
since you are a publicly funded institution.

Thank You
Scott L. Ehrisman



As was mentioned in the letter that was mailed out, “The volunteer jurors considered several key criteria while reviewing artwork. It was exciting because the quality of the pieces presented for consideration was amazing. However, with this event quality is not the sole criteria. Additional criteria included variety in media, content, and buyer appeal. It was a most difficult challenge to select from those 90 pieces approximately 60 that would be included in the live auction.”

The jurors selected are members of the community and friends of the arts. The jurors are anonymous because of the nature of this fundraising event.

Thank you again.

Best regards,




I guess I can understand (or maybe I can’t) why the jurors need to remain anonymous BEFORE the selection and rejections. But I can’t understand why they need to remain anonymous after the process is over?

I have been in several JURIED shows and the juror or jurors are always advertised, usually ahead of time. In fact I have even seen your name as a juror in a couple of exhibits. It only makes my suspician stronger that my rejection was purely political.

And, even if the jurors need to be ’secret’ why can’t you give specifics as to why MY PIECE was rejected? A form letter is tacky.

I have donated to Arts Night for the past 5 years. I was a member of the Arts Night Planning Committee 3 years ago. I won the People’s Choice award 2 years ago and my piece brought $850 last year (double of what half of the other pieces brought in the auction.) I highly doubt my rejection had anything to do with your ‘CRITERIA’.

I think REJECTING donations from artists in the community is unwise, as I told Howard and Erin last year after several of my friends were rejected.

Secrecy and Censorship is NOT the cornerstone of art – especially in a publicly funded facility.

Scott L. Ehrisman

PS- Save yourself some postage and remove me from ALL of your mailing lists.



Like I said above “Secrecy and Censorship” have no place in public art. Sometimes I sound like a broken record when I tell arts administrators about this.

When did Neo-Cons take over the Arts?

Hopefully this experience will pan out, and I will be able to make a point once and for all about Elitism, Censorship and Secrecy in are the Sioux Falls arts community.


I have been producing some new cool stuff, and it is time to clean the walls of some of my older pieces. No reasonable offer will be refused.

Contact me at: fb.art@sio.midco.net

‘Bettie Wrapped’; Bettie Page’

Acrylics/shrinkwrap on stretched canvas wrap, no frame. Approximately 12 x 12″





I have been producing some new cool stuff, and it is time to clean the walls of some of my older pieces. No reasonable offer will be refused.

Contact me at: fb.art@sio.midco.net

‘How do you like them apples?; Bettie Page’

Acrylics on stretched canvas, no frame. Approximately 30 x 40″



City’s manager of public art doesn’t have a frickin’ clue

Well like most peeps who think they have a handle on public art in Sioux Falls, (the SculptureWalk ‘founders’ come to mind) our’s had this to say;

For example, Quanbeck Etten assumes the Helen McKennan and Edwin Sherman busts were given by founders of the city more than a century ago.

Huh? McKennan was just placed a few years ago by an artist who is alive and well, Martin Wanerski. As for the Sherman bust, it was created by J.K. Daniels;

John Karl Daniels (1875 – 1978)

Iowa State Fair Sculptor 1911 – 1912

Born in Norway, John Karl Daniels immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 9. He grew up in St. Paul and trained there in several art schools and with two different sculptors before setting up his own studio. He worked in stone, wood, and bronze. In the early 1900s Daniels started doing butter sculptures to make extra money. Daniels also created sculptures for the Minnesota State Fair. Several stone and marble sculptures of Daniels’ are on public display throughout the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.


Scares me a bit that the one that is in charge of curating our public art has done very little research. Wouldn’t the manager of Central Services have access to ‘the googles’?

I also had to chuckle, snort, and cry when I heard we needed an ‘iconic’ piece of art on the river. We have one already, a priceless cast of the Statue of David gifted to us by famous inventor Thomas Fawick in the early 70′s. Tom’s greatest inventions were the tractor clutch and the disc brake, but who is paying attention? If it was up to me, I would ditch the ‘arc of dreams’ concept, and place David at Falls Park in front of the tower overlooking the falls, let’s make it a true tourist attraction. Not sure people are interested in visiting places that make balloons and sell insurance.


I didn’t win


No surprise. I spent about 30 minutes on my design and mulled over about 5 different designs and decided to submit one. I felt it was strong. I have been a graphic designer for over 20 years and an artist for my entire life, picking up a pencil when I was about four. I have learned that I don’t let my feelings get hurt when I don’t win. Life is not about winning, it is about doing good work. I try to do GOOD WORK. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I win.

Often, art is about an opinion of others, it is subjective, I am content with that. I have people buy some of my art that I personally don’t like, but I don’t fret. If it makes them happy, so be it.

If I have one regret about my design, I think I should have included more industry and technology. But I stuck to the rules and felt the simplicity of the falls and South Dakota’s unrelenting Sun was enough.

As for other criteria, I felt that the submissions should have been anonymous and based on the quality of the work. I have been in many juried shows, and most quality shows don’t allow the jurors to know the artists or their names. It is a matter of fairness.

I felt the winning design was based on bias of the jurors and I was kind of upset that a ‘local’ was not picked. I believe the winner is from South Africa. I have lived the ‘American Dream’ or lack of it in Sioux Falls and South Dakota most of my life. This town is in my veins, I know it.

Do I think some on the selection committee denied my design as a finalist because of who I am. Maybe.

Do I think my design would never get the favor of city leaders because of who I am. Maybe.

My heart is not broken, like most things in this city, especially in the arts, I have learned we tend to take the well connected low road instead of the respectable high road.

All is fair in love and war.

I think I will be submitting my design to the County Commission, but I am probably ‘to broke’ to make a model.


I have been producing some new cool stuff, and it is time to clean the walls of some of my older pieces. No reasonable offer will be refused.

Contact me at: fb.art@sio.midco.net

‘Queen of Broken Hearts; Bettie Page’

Mixed media on masonite, custom frame. Approximately 12 x 36″



Where did I take this photo?

I will give you a clue, it was at night and it was DTSF.



I have been producing some new cool stuff, and it is time to clean the walls of some of my older pieces. No reasonable offer will be refused. Contact me at: fb.art@sio.midco.net ‘Presenting Bettie’ 16 x 20″ Mixed Media and Acrylics, No Frame