Two Shows, Four Sides.

After the debaucherous excess that is Art Basel season in Miami, the Broward art scene strikes back with a dose of plain and straightforward. Enough with the once-a-year art snobs and thinking outside the box. If you’re looking for an opportunity to exhibit your work, these two open calls are a great opportunity to get your feet wet. Any media, any theme, as long as it’s got four equal sides. It’s time to square up!

Bear and Bird’s open call shows are always a sight to be seen. From the raw, developing talent of teenage manga hopefuls to internationally recognized illustrators, as long as you’re local and can drop your work off in time, you’re welcome to show your work. Intake for Be There, Be Square is Saturday, February 11 – Sunday, February 26, 2012, free of charge. Artwork must be perfectly square and no larger than 14″x14″. Click the image above for full details.

ArtServe is doing a similar show a little earlier than Bear and Bird’s, and you are restricted not only by shape, but size as well. All works must be exactly 12″x12″. Intake is Saturday, Feb. 4, 10am – 2pm. ArtServe members can submit up to three pieces at an entry fee of $30. If you are a member of a participating art organization, your fee is $20, and regular folks will pay $40 for up to three pieces. More information is available by clicking the image above.

I’ve definitely gone and bought my square canvases and sketched out a few ideas, but I’m having a crisis, people! Since winter break ended I’ve hardly touched a paintbrush or marker. It’s true that I’m pressed for time, but the reality of my procrastination is more due to some critical thinking about what kind of art I want to do, and show. I tend to use easy exhibiting opportunities like the ones listed above less to stretch myself creatively and more to force myself to practice canvas painting and do other non-tattoo related work. For Creep Cinema a few months back, I totally cheated and submitted a piece of tattoo flash that I really loved and have gotten a lot of feedback from, and I think that it makes good business sense to do that more often – but I feel like a sellout. I’m not sure to what. I guess I just don’t believe that strongly in the legitimacy of tattoo flash as a showable piece of work. All I used to want to be able to do was draw and paint tattoo flash competently. And now I can, and I feel that it’s not good enough to show, it’s just “work”. But then when I see tattoo-related stuff  in other shows, especially by non-tattooers, I get pissed off that I don’t take my stuff more seriously. What the hell is wrong with me?

What do you guys think? Do I pitch the canvases and show off what I do best, or keep the public opinion of my art low by continuing to enter my experiments? Are there areas in your life where you feel torn between doing what you can do and doing what you want to be able to do?


About Kristyn Michele Bat

Teacher, tattooer, artist.


  1. Why can’t it be both? You certainly need to realize that your tattoo flash is art. That’s first. But there is legitimacy to “experimenting” and continuing to challenge yourself. Half and half. 🙂

    • It’s true. But with limited exhibiting opportunities and actual time to “free paint”, I feel like I need to maximize my art making. Flash is definitely art, I just don’t know that it’s how I want to represent myself outside of the tattoo shop. I don’t want to use my status as a tattooer as a crutch. I think the more I stretch myself in my creative life, both tattooing and non-tattooing, the more benefit all around.

  2. Pingback: Perfect Saturday | Kristyn Michele Bat

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