CASE STUDY – 2021
THE BRING YOUR OWN ART ART-SHOW
B.Y.O.A.A.S. is an open-door art show where new and established artists get together for a few hours to exhibit their work, have the chats, and hopefully make a sale in the process.
Born of SSHH NYC, I setup the B.Y.O.A.A.S. Dublin chapter in 2019, and after 5 successful shows in Lucky’s with up to 80 artists taking part in each show, a move to the bigger venue of Hen’s Teeth Store was planned, before the pandemic put the brakes on that.
B.Y.O.A.A.S. thus took on a virtual format during lockdown, culminating in the ‘B.Y.O.A.A.S. TV’ virtual multi-room exhibition streamed on Friday Sept 10th 2021.
Event Organization / Content Production / Web Design & Build (WordPress)
In 2018 I saw Braulio Amado’s NYC studio SSHH promote a ‘bring your own art’ on Instagram – I hadn’t seen an event like this in Dublin before and so I thought I would give setting it up a go as it looked like an immensely fun side project.
John was indeed all over the idea, and so once we got a blessing off Braulio we put a plan in place to run the first B.Y.O.A.A.S. Dublin chapter in Lucky’s in Feb 2019.
FIRST SHOWS IN LUCKYS
Plugging the show on Instagram and Facebook, I worked to keep the format as close to the original as possible, however it being a commercial venue we decided that 30% of sales would go to charity with the rest going to the artist.
For the first event we had 47 new and established artists turn up which was brilliant, as with the essence of the show being it’s spontaneity (not knowing who and how many people will turn up), I decided against pre-registration for the first event.
However the lengthy queue meant pre-registration for future shows was a given!
I went on to produce 5 shows in Lucky’s (the second being included as part of the Offset Festival’s Offsite program) attracting 50 – 80 artists per show.
Part of this included inviting 7 – 8 featured artists to take part in each show, with one featured designer being incorporated into the poster artwork, always making sure to have a mix of new and established names.
The show format remained pretty much the same, save for some incremental improvements such as:
- Opening up non-mandatory pre-registration a couple of days before the show – It kept things spontaneous but sped up the queues.
- Assigning each artist a number (their registration spreadsheet entry number) which was then written on the sticker beneath their artwork meaning buyers could give numbers not just names when enquiring about a piece (an obvious one in hindsight!).
- Taking a picture of each artist with their artwork before the show so as to easily locate them in a packed bar should a sale happen
I was careful that the language and visuals used on social media never portrayed the event as something it wasn’t, and people seemed happy with the semi-guerrila format.
With the BYOAAS community growing it was apparent we needed a bigger venue, and so in Feb 2020 the move to the new Hens Teeth premises was announced with the first show to be April 17th. There would also be an after party to be hosted in Lucky’s so as to keep it a joint venture.
The pandemic unfortunately then hit and the move to the new home was temporarily shelved.
MOVING IT ONLINE
The value of BYOAAS as an opportunity for new artists to show their work had become very apparent during the shows, and so with the country in lockdown, I put together an Instagram version of the show to be held on April 17th.
In order to emulate the spontaneous element of the real-life show as well as recreate everyone hanging their work together the format was simple – artists were to share their work between 19:30 and 20:30, tagging us and using the hashtag #byoaasdub. I’d then share all the artwork in our stories and save the shows in our highlights.
The first online show got a brilliant turnout of nearly 150 artists taking part. It was an intense experience having to reshare all of the artwork plus I ran into lots of problems like being blocked by Instagram from further posting and commenting.. But all the positive feedback messages I received through Instagram was worth it!
After the initial online show I took the opportunity to check in with the BYOAAS audience and ask them a bit about their experience with the show both online and in-person. I received over 90 responses and people were very forthcoming with constructive feedback and encouragement which was a great bolster in terms of doing more online shows. The most common critique was that the show had outgrown Lucky’s and so that further validated the decision to move to a bigger venue in future.
On the back of this positive feedback I did May and June show before taking a break and coming back with a show in November.
Other online shows and print sales had really taken off during lockdown and so to preserve the freshness of B.Y.O.A.A.S. I felt it best to then take a hiatus until the opportunity to revisit the format arose.
B.Y.O.A.A.S. – 2.0
In July 2021 we started looking at doing an online/offline show utilizing both Hen’s Teeth and Lucky’s spaces.
One of the key elements that makes B.Y.O.A.A.S. special is it’s ephemeral and relatively spontaneous nature where anyone and any number of people could take part. The remaining government restrictions on gatherings meant we might have to limit participants and stagger entry times, and so rather than risk a lack-lustre in-person show, I set about coming up with a mostly virtual format that would hopefully still capture some essence of the live shows.
So through conversation with a couple of participating artists, the concept of B.Y.O.A.A.S. TV was born – I would get everyone to submit their artwork a few days beforehand, then fake the real-life show using 3D rendered walls representative of Luckys and Hens Teeth, creating a virtual multi-room exhibition that would be streamed simultaneously in Lucky’s, Hens Teeth and online at 7pm on Friday the 10th September.
There was a turnaround of 4 weeks but I could handle a lot of the production as I had experience with animating sequences and film editing. I enlisted Jonathon Theobald to render the 3D wall spaces for Lucky’s and Hen’s Teeth and Jonathan also did our featured poster artwork (sound on).
Once I figured out my process and produced a test video, I put together a prototype of how the exhibition space could work online so that along with the test video all parties would have a clear idea of the concept and could give me some feedback on the exhibition format.
Everyone was happy with the direction (and importantly fine with things being figured out as we went along!) and so we pushed ahead with implementation.
I had also approached Irish media company Micromedia to see if they would be interested in streaming B.Y.O.A.A.S. TV in some capacity, and they offered us use of a mobile screen unit they have plus some screen-time on public screens, which was amazing! But it also significantly increased the amount of videos I needed to turn around once artworks were in.
B.Y.O.A.A.S. TV FORMAT
The work of 80+ artists would be shown across 3 virtual rooms – Lucky’s Bar Room, Hen’s Teeth Room and the Motion Room.
These three rooms would be YouTube hosted videos available to view on byoaasdub.com from 7pm on Friday 10th Sept
The three room videos would be consolidated and shown on the screens in Lucky’s and in the window of and outside Hens Teeth on a mobile unit from Micromedia
All of the venue screens would have retro-styled TV frames fitted around them with the framed viewport cropped to 4:3. The mobile unit would have a portrait 16:9 format
Tent-cards would be placed in each venue with QR codes on them linking directly to artist listings on the website.
Each TV frame had an integrated QR code that went to byoaasdub.com
Everything went fairly smoothly production wise, it was just a matter of getting through my significant to-do list. Also ahead of producing the videos I had drafted in a friend to sort and rename all artworks including putting the artist listing number at the front – a basic thing but it really streamlined the production process and preserved my 2am sanity.
The day of the show was taken up with final video editing, pickups from the printer, getting the website ready and doing some final social media promo.
In the week leading up we reached out to participating artists offering them tables for the screenings and these were snapped up which meant we’d have a ready-engaged crowd in place.
All of the screen treatments were installed and at 18:58 the videos in Luckys started streaming with a 2-minute countdown to the show content.
Finally at 18:59 I hard refreshed the website to make a ‘SEE THE SHOW’ button available on the homepage.
The show streamed at 7pm on the Friday evening and according to John it was the first time Lucky’s was buzzing since lockdown happened.
There was also a lot of Instagram activity with people sharing pictures and videos of them watching the show (often with added crowd-cheers!).
As I was floating between venues where people were asked to remain seated due to covid rules, I didn’t have the usual immediate feedback with artists. And so I followed up with all of the participating artists by email seeing how they got on and what they thought of the show, and I received some lovely responses.
(Granted when you are promoting people genuinely for free, people are probably less forthcoming with negative feedback!)
As a side project it was a lot to turnaround in 4 weeks and the videos themselves could really have done with more work, however the final execution went well (except for buggy embedded artist listings) and everyone seemed happy – Result!