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Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

In art fair circles for years there has been talk about buy/sell and reps showing up with someone else's work. I found this meeting mention in The Orlando Sentinel:

Artists participating in the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival are set to meet Friday evening to discuss forming a commission that would set standards for work displayed at art festivals. The purpose of the commission would be to certify that work in an artist's booth was in fact created by the artist, according to photographer Les Slesnick, who is organizing the gathering. The meeting will happen in the Rotary Beer Garden just south of Morse Boulevard just after the festival closes at 6 p.m.

Does anyone know anything about this? Or have any suggestions we could share with Les?

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The mob that attacked Nels for shooting a picture of someone else's original artwork and then selling it as his own???? That mob?  The mob that called out Connie's favorite poster?  The mob that complained so loudly that Connie deleted the entire post? Poof! It never happened!

And if it had been your picture that Nels photographed and then sold as his own, how would you feel about the "mob" then?   Hey, at least he left the original artitst's signature on it!

"I think it is the best idea because the one I heard the other day is not plausible. "  Yeah, we only have two choices, Les's or the one your heard the other day. Sheesh!!!!!

"You may be invited to join or not. Les decides who will be in this group during the formation time. It is his group, his idea and his calling."

And that is exactly the point. If this was just another club or organization there wouldn't be a problem. I don't mind not being asked to hang out with the cool kids. But when the cool kids gang up to force me out of business THEN I have a big problem. And like it or not, angry people use ugly names when they are talking about the source of their anger. And Les has done nothing to help bring the anger quotient down. He has given an interview with one person (Larry) and has stated that he'll take comments under advisement. If this is REALLY about helping the community, then why doesn't he talk to the community?

And I'm not sure I understand the point of your really long copy and paste. He could be the reincarnation of Michelangelo, winning every award there is under the sun, and this would STILL be a bad idea.


where in the world you get the idea that it will force you out of business.  I'm sure you do not practice  the no-no practices this is intended to stop.

I don't see how this initiative could achieve putting any one out of business.

If that is your understanding do not be part of it or other similar ones like art guilds etc. etc.

This is no different than any guild that respects itself.

I respect your position and urge to  respect our fellow artists.

And this has gone way beyond disrespect by some bloggers.

The cut and paste was done in order to show a balanced image that was not shown in the previous cut and paste.

In any case all are free to reach their own conclusions.


By the way the other idea I heard was to pour gasoline on the buy sell and the buy seller and set them on fire. 

I'm against that.

From Ynon’s post above:

"Gentelmen [sic] and ladies:

Mr Slesnik [sic] is forming a group to try to stop buy/sell bait and swich and to improve in many other ways this business we are all part of it.

You may be invited to join or not. Les decides who will be in this group during the formation time. It is his group, his idea and his calling.

You may be in favor of groups like that or not, it is your prerogative. If you don't like the idea don't apply or ask to be included.

Nobody is forcing this on anybody."

First to address this new voluntary club or group, I would like to quote Groucho Marx: I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.

But Godspeed with that elite club. The only elite thing I plan to support is two KY teams on through to the Elite Eight later this week! Just remember to keep that pesky little elite checkbox to yourselves and out of the application systems, ya hear? Just because it’s a voluntary club doesn’t mean it’s exempt from certain actions, and members as well as the club prez may become actionable defendants if the organization is sued for something.

And I leave you with this: The term elitism” is sometimes misused to denote situations in which a group of people claiming to possess high abilities grant themselves extra privileges at the expense of others. This debased form of elitism may be better described as "discrimination."

This is, of course, a fab list and he should be proud.  My list is way shorter.  It starts with "My mom really likes my work."  It ends shortly after.  The thing about Les is that he is human.  That is the only thing I have against him or anybody else adding to the frustration of getting into shows.  I can tell you that every one of us has gotten "gifts" here and there along the way where we got into shows that kept out somebody that was more talented.  It happens.  No matter how good you are now, you started SOMEWHERE else.  A lot of judging is luck of the draw and that is a fact.  The judge loves red but you submitted blue.  You can't say it doesn't happen.  Judges are human.


I help a lot of new people figure out Zapp and try to direct them to AFI.  It is overwhelming already.  I know WE have it fairly figured out but why add more hurdles?   I had done a show where the promoter called me to ask about my process. I think that is what it takes to help eliminate buy/sell.  Just a bit of caring.  She cared enough to tell me that the piece in question should be taken out of my Zapp files because it was ...ummm....not good.  I told her that it was chosen for a local museum show that it was in as we were speaking.  The same work was recently purchased for a permanent collection in Brooklyn.  Show promoters are human and we all have different taste because art is subjective.  So to that quote about being exposed to good art making you have better taste, I want to tell you about my neighbor.  You can expose him to all the art you want and he will choose to hang a Steeler's poster in his living room.  Is my taste better?  No, it is different.  I say "eeewwwww" to the Steeler's poster even if he argues that it is really glossy nice paper.  In college, my one professor always asked the janitor to be one of the people that critiqued our work.  He said that the janitor's opinion was equally important and I agree.  In a self-respecting guild where you are looking for craftsmanship then it is a different story.  I think the system in my guild is the best around and it is still flawed.  It is juried by humans, even when they have long lists of awards.  Also, our guild solicits EVERY member, juried or not, for input about the jurying system.  They do this on a regular basis.


I think we should be making it easier for artists, not harder.  Nothing wrong with plastic jewelry as long as it is not being labeled as a diamond jewelry. Artists pre-jurying/certifying other artists will not prevent that from happening any better than shows jurying/certifying the artists.  Buy/sell and other sneaky stuff will be able to get in.  And I want to say that seeing a stamp of someone's approval will be the same as a name on booth or awards in booth that we are not supposed to have showing in jury photos.  Whatever they have in place, I will deal with.  I will get pre-certified.  Whatever.  I'll play the game, or find a new one.


A note about promoters not removing buy/sell immediately- Has anyone ever been in a show where some disgruntled artist tore down their tent while the show was in progress?  Ugly, I'm telling ya.  Booths were against each other and at our back was a wall.  Even if they were not disgruntled, the vendor had no choice about being disruptive.  It made patrons walk WAY out around and I might as well have not been in the show.  As far as promoters, I do think most of them do all they can to keep buy/sell out.  When they find a slip up because they are human and messed up, then they gotta make a judgement call about how bad it is to have it there compared to how bad it is to remove it.  I wish they could make offenders just zip up till close-of-business that day. 

International Grand Award Winner, M.I.L.K. (Moments of Intimacy, Laughter, and Kinship) competition (2000; website,           

Individual Artist Fellowship, State of Florida, 1999          

Cherry Creek Art Festival (Denver, CO): Merit Award, 2006; 2nd place overall, 2004

St. Louis Art Festival: 1st place, 2006, 2005, 2003; 2nd place, 2004         

Kansas City Plaza: Jury Award, 2005; Photography juror, 2004; Juror’s Award, 2003          

Winter Park (FL) Sidewalk Art Festival: Best of Show, 1994; Morse Museum Award, 1999; 1st place, 1998, 1996; 2nd place, 2006, 2005, 2003; 3rd place, 2000; Award of Distinction, 2006; Merit Award, 2004, 1997, 1995, 1993, 1984    

Magic City Arts Festival (Birmingham, AL): Best of Show, 2005, 2004; Spider Martin Award, 2003; Merit Award, 2002

Gasparilla Arts Festival (Tampa, FL): Best of Show, 2001; Award of Distinction,1994; Friends of Library Award, 2002; Merit Award, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997,1996, 1995    

Smoky Hill River Arts Festival (Salina, KS): Best of Show, 2005, 2003; Merit Award, 2004

Artsplosure (Raleigh, NC): Best of Show, 2004; 2nd place, 2003; Honorable Mention, 2005; Award of Distinction, 2006

Ocala (FL) Fine Arts Festival: Best of Show, 2000; Award of Distinction, 2003, 2001, 1997, 1996; Merit Award, 2002, 1999, 1998

International Print Exhibition of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain: Gold Medal (Best of Show), 1996; Silver Medal (2nd place), 1995, 1997

Winter Park Autumn Art Festival: Best of Show, 1995, 1983; Award of Distinction,1994; Merit Award, 1998, 1996

Coconut Grove Arts Festival (Miami, FL): 1st place, 2006, 1999, 1998, 1996; 2nd place, 1997

Beaux Arts (Miami, FL): 1st place, 1999, 2001; Award of Excellence, 2000

Lakefront (Milwaukee, WI); Invitation to Return Award, 2005         

Original Ann Arbor Art Fair: Award of Excellence, 1998     

Maitland (FL) Art Festival: 1st place, 2004, 2002, 2001, 1998, 1997; 2nd place,2003, 2000       

Festival of the Masters (at Disney World, Orlando, FL): 1st place, 2001, 1996, 1994, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1976, 1975; 2nd place, 1999, 1998, 1997; 3rd place, 2002; Merit Award, 2000, 1995, 1992         

Gainesville (FL) Spring Arts Festival: Award of Excellence, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998; Award of Merit, 2003

ArtFest (Fort Myers, FL): 2nd place, 2-D, 2005

Great Gulfcoast Art Festival (Pensacola, FL): Award of Merit, 2005; Award of Excellence, 2003

Virginia-Highland Art Festival (Atlanta, GA): Best in Photography, 2006; 2nd place overall, 2005; Honorable Mention, 2004

Mainsail Art Festival (St. Petersburg, FL): Award of Distinction, 2004, 2001; Award of Excellence, 2000; Award of Merit, 2003

Mount Dora (FL) Art Festival: Best in Category, 2005; Award of Excellence, 2003, 2004; Award of Distinction, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994; Merit Award, 1998

ArtScape (Atlanta, GA): Award of Excellence, 2000, 1999

Deland (FL) Festival of Art: Judge’s Choice (2-D), 2002, 2001; Award of Excellence, 1998, 1995, 1994; Award of Distinction, 1999; Award of Recognition, 2005, 2000; Award of Merit, 1996

Naples (FL) National Art Festival: Award of Distinction, 2003

One-Person Shows:

Crealde School of Art, Winter Park/Orlando, FL (2008)

Dunedin (Florida) Fine Art Center (2008)

Courtland (Kansas) Art Center (2007)           

Watson Gallery at the Stieffel Theatre, Salina, Kansas (2006)           

DeLand Museum of Art, Deland, FL (2002)           

Thomas Center Gallery, Gainesville, FL (2001)         

Appleton Museum, Ocala, FL (1997)       

Tupelo, MS, Museum of Art (1995)       

Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA (1993)     

Ormond Memorial Art Museum, Ormond Beach, FL (1993)          

Brevard Museum, Melbourne, FL (1988)         

Maitland Art Center, Maitland, FL (1985)          

Light Images Gallery, Winter Park, FL (1984)

Valencia Community College, Orlando, FL (1982)

Boris Gallery, Boston, MA (1981)          

Gallery 121, Winter Park, FL (1981)           

Church Street Station Gallery (Council of Arts and Sciences), Orlando, FL (1978)

Group Shows:      

"I Love Your Profile" (12 pieces in 15-person show) (2010) University of Cadiz Galleries (Cadiz, Spain); and Espacio Menusuno (Madrid, Spain)

M.I.L.K. International Exhibition, Vanderbilt Hall, New York, NY (July, 2001; also, London, England; Sydney, Australia; and other venues since 2001)           

Orlando City Hall Biennial Exhibition (w/award, 1994)           

International Print Exhibition of The London Salon of Photography, London, England (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 w/medal)           

“Photo Review” National Photography Competition (several)           

“Deepening Concerns and New Impulses” (Amerika Haus, Cologne, Germany December, 1992] and Camberwell College of Arts, London, England [January, 1993)           

Savannah College of Art and Design (1992)           

Daytona Beach Community College traveling exhibition (“The Florida Document”) (1998-89)          

Cornell Fine Arts Center at Rollins College, Winter Park, FL (“Eight Florida Photographers”) (1988)          

Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL (several)         

Maitland Art Center, Maitland, FL (several)           

Crealdé School of Art Gallery, Winter Park, FL (several)          

Light Images Gallery, Winter Park, FL (several)           

Annual Juried Southeastern Photography Exhibition at Crealdé School of Art, Winter Park (Orlando), FL (1st place 1994, 1997)          

International Print Exhibition of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, and its accompanying traveling exhibition (each year since 1991)


Major contributor, “Family: A Celebration of Humanity” (Wm. Morrow, publisher, 2001)

“Friends” (20-piece body of work in 3-person show), Crealdé School of Art Gallery, Winter Park, FL (1993)

Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, Bath, England (21 pieces, 1993)           

“The Springfield Project: A Town Sees Itself” (project and accompanying exhibition, Savannah College of Art and Design, 1992-93)           

“Trispectives” (16-piece body of work in 3-person show) Seminole Community College, Sanford/Orlando, FL (1989)”


Philadelphia Museum of Art           

City of Orlando, Florida         

Central Florida Community College         

Numerous private and corporate collections in the U.S. and U.K.

Personal Accomplishments:

Work and Process featured in textbook "Making Connections" (ISBN 978-007028159-2) (2011), Chris Bates,, McGraw-Hill Australia          

Featured in "RPS (Royal Photographic Society) Journal" (published in England), February, 2005           

Featured in "PhotoWorld" magazine (published in China), November, 2004          

Work and Process featured in textbook "Photo Portfolio Success" (ISBN 1-58297-210-9) (2003), John Kaplan, Writers Digest Books           

Fellow, Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain since 1993          

Publication of article in “People in Camera” Magazine (published in England) July, 1993           

Established photography program in rural Effingham County, Georgia, High School (spring, 1993)           

Featured in “People in Camera” Magazine (published in England) January, 1993           

Featured in “Amateur Photographer” magazine (published in England) March, 1991, and May, 2001           

Founding member of the Photography Co-Op Group of Central Florida, Inc., and of the Co-Op’s Light Images Gallery in Winter Park (1980).  Also served as its Managing Director, Public Relations and Press Director           

Founded the Students’ Best program and annual competition at Light Images Gallery          

Created the first color darkroom in an art center in Central Florida (at Crealdé School of Art, 1976)           

Major contributor in Family, a celebration of humanity; Publisher Harper Collins/Wm. Morrow, ISBN 0-6-620969-2


Member, Society for Photographic Education, since 1992          

Adjunct professor in photography, University of Central Florida (1998)          

Member, Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, since 1991           

Member, National Association of Independent Artists, since 1997



I sold to a couple who decided they were going to buy a painting at a particular show. The wife was a five year survivor and the husband said she could have any painting she wanted at the show to celebrate. She chose one of mine and they both sat in the middle of my booth and cried. I closed half of my front canopy wall and left to get a Coke and to give them some privacy while they talked and looked at their new painting.

They give awards for that?

Didn't think so.

We need to get back to selling to our customers and stop enabling leeches, charlatans, liars, cheats and crappy shows. But this certification stuff - this is wrong on too many levels. Blackball me or anyone else for speaking up if you must from as many shows as you feel you can - but you'll never stop me as an artist whether I am certified or not.




great story about the couple, this is what our art is about!

Really, thanks for bringing the attention back to WHY we create.

I am SO not interested in being 'certified' - judged - approved - sponsored - acquiring a stamp of approval - in order to participate in shows.

Producers, toughen up, stick to and apply your own qualification criteria. Keep the fine art bar up high where it should be.

Totally agree ... This is yet another attempt at creating a certification committee that has no influence other than annoy the masses.  Yes, Buy/Sell is wrong, but there are DIRECT ways to handle this.  Having an "invitation only," "look at how many merits I've earned over the years so I must be righteous" or "fee-based organization" is just poor judgement and wishful thinking on its potential influence.  Perhaps the best part about this organization will be that you get a little sticker to add to your "certification" page.

By the way, art is very subjective ... There is no true CERTIFICATION or need for it to become a professional artist.  But, how about this?  I have an MFA (in Arts) degree ... I proclaim that ALL so called artists WITHOUT the accredited certification of an MFA should be banned!!!  How about them apples? :-)

Seriously, that would be ridiculous ... I have seen better & more talented artists without ANY education (some can't even read) in ferias and street vendors in my travels to South America and Mexico than MANY current festival artists (including myself -- I gained knowledge from their mastery) ... Let's just focus on BUY/SELL and other issues in which we can make a difference in.  From my experience, show directors DO CARE and will listen to cordial and reasonable thoughts/comments.

"Artist Certification" is simply a bad joke.

go MUNKS!! Hear Hear!!!


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