Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ramblings and Rants

It's a week after my exhibit in Lexington and I've processed the PSB (post show blues). With a few days to mull over the exhibit and attempt a business/exhibit plan for the immediate future this summer, I'm sort of stymied.

Phone contact with NYRA a couple of days ago has me questioning Saratoga plans. Although I've always considered road trips and out-of-state exhibits important, fact is they're also expensive. Vendor fees and lodging are not cheap, especially in Saratoga.

Racetrack attitudes are so out of touch with today's fan base and marketing needs, they sound as if they're speaking to me in 1980. As I inquired about my status as a artist vendor, and mind you, they've passed the buck and strung me along all year, the snippy answer was "we're a race track you know". Hmm...and also a business with a terrible image problem that's losing it's fan base like lemmings and doing nothing to attract a new audience. Did they notice the stats this past week of increased handles of ADW's (advanced deposit wagering) in Bloodhorse? So darn convenient to watch and wager on racing anywhere in the world 24/7 from the comfort of your living room.

Say what you will about Frank Stronach but he saw the writing on the wall over ten years ago when he speculated that racing centers would need to cater to the demands of an evolving clientele. In Lexington last weekend, I fielded the comments, concerns and observations of people who love my artwork but worry about the current state of horse racing. I did my best to defend and promote my business as I ALWAYS do.

Forgive me, this is turning into a rant but there is no other horse racing artist who elevates, upholds and furthers the cause of the power and beauty of the sport. It's my passion and my muse.

As I attempt to make sense of these antiquated attitudes, I wonder if my needs would not be better served right here at home. Is the grass greener elsewhere? Perhaps the answer is right under my nose!

"An artist's duty is rather to stay open-minded and in a state where he can receive information and inspiration. You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany." - Nick Cave


Nancy Moskovitz said...

from your lips/keyboard to......I horse racing people read your blog.

Jacquelyn Modesitt Schindehette said...

Working the market closer to home can be a win/win situation. As professional artists cultivating collectors within our own region allows us to have more individual contact and develope relationships. Not JUST sell art.

takeahold said...

The race tracks need to get their heads out of their asses or where ever they may be.
Marketing to the public has changed drastically and they better be aware of the change. In traveling around the country I get many different opinions of racing and the large majority is bad. We need to change our image to the general public. Racing needs to become a part of the solution not the problem. It needs to be promoted as a family affair. I can sit at home and bet on any race in the world without any one bothering me, a DUI (shades of Julio Canani and he was not guilty), or anything else I may encounter by going top the races. Racing needs to be a part of the entertainment and not the main ingredient. When the powers that be realize this racing will succeed. They should stop living in the middle ages. As long as the "good old boys" are in charge things will not change. All they are doing is protecting their asses.
And if you will notice I said "WE".
I have been a part of the problem in the past and have realized that change is good. I'll do my part as always.

Jan Blawat said...

Horse racing (and other horse activities for that matter) needs an American Idol approach. Start with a group of potential competitors and follow their training and successes and failures. Many people have no contact with animals beyond cats and dogs, they don't understand the dynamics of horse sports, the skills required, and that the animals often love what they do. A race or other competitive event is just a slice of time. It's the work before and after that makes it meaningful and interesting. The movie about Seabiscuit portrayed good things and bad in terms people could understand. I know people who have never even owned a horse who watch horse training programs on cable TV. The potential is there.

The good old boys are a problem with every breed. I think eventing and dressage have become popular because they're accessible to women and have a better image with the public. I don't think horse activities need to be sanitized or Disneyfied, but a different approach is needed.

Sharon Crute said...

I've heard a rumor, a rumor mind you, that NYRA is not allowing any outside vendors at Saratoga this summer. It's the outdated concern that an interesting vendor may detract a bettor away from the windows. Anyone who has been to Vegas has surely seen the high-end gift shops right outside every casino doorway. Seems to be working there.

Thank you all for commenting.