The only thing I would do differently is have one or two more pieces of art cohesive to the show. We scrambled at the end to fill the space. We were both aware far ahead of time that neither of us had a lot of work and we would have to be prudent and creative when designing the layout. In a perfect world, our title letters would have been a bit bigger, which we did not quite anticipate when we sketched them.
If I had all the time in the world and I could clone myself I would have done paper cutouts to decorate the front glass doors with and the interior windows. It would have added a whimsical, patterned element. It would have been awesome if the bookshelf had been bigger and we could have showed off more books, but due to the wavering strength of that wall, we were lucky that installation worked. The other thing I dreamed about was making massive paper cutout installations to put up in the glass corner stairwells throughout the school, which would have advertised to the school and also to anyone looking in from outside. If that had been possible, time and resources allowing, it would have made a dramatic statement.
Preparing for the show forced me to think through the adult side of exhibiting art. I had to go out, buy mat board, measure and cut the mats, prime the walls, and all of the mundane things that make the space look professional. It made me appreciate professional galleries! However, creating your own show from scratch is a source of pride. Partnering with Clare made the experience even more meaningful because she is my oldest and profoundly best friend. The show itself was a manifestation of our artistic style, taste in books, and an homage to our sense of fantasy and kinship.
Undertaking a show is very serious business, and I was lucky to exhibit with my best friend, but any show pair or group needs to sit down and have a heart to heart about the vision for the show. That way collaborations will mesh and both will be on the same page. Although some students pair for aesthetic reasons, the better the mutual understanding, the more the show will be cohesive.
Clare and I used the traditional show card, some of which we placed around school. The drawback to the show card is that they are so small they are easily overlooked. We created a short video to be played on the morning announcement, but if one is going to create a time-lapse drawing, do it in dark charcoal or marker so viewers of the video can see what is going on. The video was not particularly successful. Clare and I are also not great social media users, which means we do not follow the trends of our classmates and we missed roping in that viewer demographic. We definitely should have advertised more to the school at large.
Labels were one of the last things we got to, which was evident. Clare printed them off and cut them out, and we stuck them to the wall with masking tape. Avoid doing this at all costs! You should think about labels as much as you should hanging your works. Labels communicate important things, like titles, so they should be smart and professional looking. Ours were a rather average afterthought.
Our biggest setback was setting up the installation piece (the bookshelf) because we did not realize that the three front walls do not have that much drywall underneath and drilling into them is a precarious journey into the cinder block underneath. You should do your homework for any and all installations, especially if they require drilling or screws of any kind. We initially though the bookshelf couldn't go up at all, but our biggest setback was also our biggest victory- the bookshelf hung no problem. Also, know thyself. Know what you are capable of and what is humanly possible to achieve. I am a control freak, but there came a point I had to trust in Clare to do what was best. This turned out for the best and granted me peace of mind.