don't get zapped:
an oped by the Artguy

Get Zap before it's too late

From the Artguy:

2/17/06 ARTBABYART cannot recommend using the current online application, we feel it is an unfair, secretive, and biased procedure. Additionally, personal and professional information, including uploaded images, are kept indefinetly, and may, by de facto, become the property of zapplication.org or its management team, westaf.org. We encourage artists to ask and act before supporting this process or organizations using this procedure.

The Concern:

"The promoters concerns were that he would have to raise fees to artists to cover the upfront cost, and that using the same jury people for all shows would eventually mean that all the shows start to look alike - exactly what he wanted to avoid. I vaguely remember hearing that some national group of artists - NAIA or something like that started Zapplication with the intent of making the art shows consistent."  Source Google

The Role of Advisors:

"ZAPP(tm) is managed by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF). WESTAF is a nonprofit arts service organization. The project is advised by the directors of 9 major art festivals that are partners in the system. In addition the ZAPP(tm) project staff regularly consults with the leadership of the National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA). All of these entities have an interest in the encouragement of professionalism in the field in the area of jurying. However, while the ZAPP(tm) project managers can encourage professionalism, they cannot mandate it, and all jurying decision are ultimately left to the individual shows."  The ZAPP(tm) Team WESTAF Beth A. Cooper Source Google

Baltimore, MD - Do I need to say more? 

In January of 2006, I got an email from Artscape Organizer Kim Domanski saying a new Online Application was being used, my first reaction, "It's about time!"  I was hot into the idea, thought the days of Slides were finally over. 

I promptly went on the ZAPPLICATION.ORG site and started surfing, getting as much information as I could and posted a few questions on their Support Forum.  My concerns at the time were the integrity of the images uploaded and the safety of all information on the Zapp (tm) servers, personal, professional, and financial information was asked to be entered, addtionally, high resolution images were to be used and uploaded.  I had no problems with any of these requirements, my problem started with the fact that once you registered for an account, input info and uploaded images for applied any shows you'd like to enter, was the fact you could not simply DELETE your account afterwards or no longer interested in using the Zapp (tm) process.  I tried to explain that deleting an account at ZAPP (tm) should be allowed, who knows what organization or individual can go through your personal, professional and financial information.  I do not know of any other online organization that does NOT allow you to delete your account, this was quickly becoming a splinter in my mind.

Next, I started doing some research on Zapp(tm) and came up with a few interesting articles (see above), at about this same time, it dawned on that the Zapp(tm) process was NOT designed for equal and fair play for all artists and artisans.  The Zapp (tm) Process is not simply about submitting digital representations on your art work.

"I had a huge following at this show, and was also very well liked by the promoters and organizers. I did not get in, my only rejection for this show ever. My images were the best that I had ever submitted. Or, so I thought. I discovered that my monitor was set way too dark. What looked great on my screen, appeared way over-exposed and washed-out on a properly adjusted monitor." read the full thing here Source Google

At this point, I had to ask myself if this were enough for me NOT to use Zappliction.org?  Short answer, I was still going to apply but then...

Updated August 14, 2007 - to be continued...

January 16, 2008 - Ok, so I was still going to apply to Artscape 2006, that is, until I got an unexpected call.  Can you believe that, I got a call on a snowy morning in February of 2006, from a person, who described themself, as an unofficlal person at Zapp.  I thought wow, ask a few hard questions and post a few honest answers on the Zapp Forum and get a call, get a call, WTF.  It was quite apparent, that "rocking the boat" or "inquisitive minds" were a no no no at the Zapp Forum, I suppose that old adage, if you ask enough questions, the truth will come out was accurate.

Back to this call - I did not post my phone number in any section on the Zapp forum or Zapp website, the only way to get to my number is to find my personal website, with this in mind, I knew somebody Googled me, neat!  This conversation took place after a heavy snowfall around mid February 2006.  I knew who was calling, why was what I did not know.  I remember this like it was yesterday, I just finished shoveling my driveway, came inside to warm up, cooked my favorite (albeit unhealthy) breakfast of 6 sausage links, 3 eggs over easy and buttered toast and was more than ready to chow down.  And then my cell phone rings...

"Don't know about Zapplication, but my friend mentioned it the other day.  I am all for jurying with digital images.  Slides are expensive, cumbersome, and I only use them for show entries.  I'm a little leery of having one point for all art show applications - I guess I'm paranoid that eventually all shows will converge into one huge, controlling, WalMart-esque entity..."  Source Personal Email

I could tell from the area code it was a Western Pennsylvania number, I had good hunch who was calling and I was right.  After some pleasantries, these are the 3 main parts of the conversation; "do you have any questions that I can answer regarding the Zapp Process over the phone", "who was responsible for inventing the mechanics behind the Zapp Application" and "if you need help with any of your images I am the person, almost guaranteed."  I don't think I need to fill in any blanks here you can't fill in yourself.  In the end, I just said thanks but no thanks, and I'd like to get back to eating my breakfast...

The Zapp Process is not intended for you and I.  There are other major shows out there using other online apps and they work.  Online apps are not hard (or costly) to construct and carry out, why any major or even minor shows use Zapp is beyond me.  I am probably not on anyone's A-list but I don't dersire that, I don't need any favors, I will not pursue membership in any organization that I maybe able to use to my advantage.  The current Process is not designed to help you succeed, it's designed for easy failure, it's designed to catalog you, but mostly, it's designed for Them. (and I haven't even talked about the mechanics of it all)

In my honest opinion, any, any show using this Process is in the same boat.  I don't do alot of shows, but I do love Artscape, it's one of the shows I look forward to but on the other hand, boycotting Artscape and this Process makes me feel even better...

BTW - whatever happened to honesty and integrity, I think it's still somewhere out there, we (all of us) just have to make it popular again!

Take it for what's it's worth

the Artguy aka Rick Santiago
Comment welcome at rick@artundergroundstudio.com


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