I’m back from Salon Lecce 2015 where once again I met up with extraordinary decorative artists from around the world.
I found myself over 4 days of intense Salon culture taken with the subtle cues of personalities; gracious, aloof, bombastic, humble. Individuals whose self expression seems to unleash for this annual peer gathering.
In its 20th year, The Salon community has evolved out of its burgeoning years into an elite gathering of leaders and recognized luminaries. So it’s a pretty big deal.
As an applied artist outside the decorative painter genre (the vast majority of participants are decorative painters), I found myself welcome but not initiated, part and parcel of being a relative new comer at year two in attendance, as well I suppose, to how I held up to peer review and social hierarchy.
What I can say with certainty is attending a peer event like The Salon reinforced for me that what is important is not necessarily recognition, it is what happened at my demonstration table.
Over those four days I would settle into work, shift into the creative process, in this case water gilding, and connect with participants and visitors. We conversed about the materials, the process, what they might know, and what I might know.
Though at times we struggled with translation challenges, those conversations demonstrated to me the importance of connecting, sharing, and learning. I am grateful to have been appreciated and warmly received by the visitors to my demonstration table and to have had the opportunity to be immeasurably enriched by that.