By Jennifer Belt

Yes, really. You can touch the art.

by Jen Belt, 05.04.16

"My goal is to create a body of work that draws the viewer in, up close, tempting them to touch."

This is my artist statement. And it's one that would have most artists and art lovers gasping for breath. Right? When have we EVER been allowed to touch art????

Over the years, I've exhibited at many art fairs and festivals. And this is always the scene-- allow me to paint the picture for you (see what I did there?):

Art lovers come into my booth and get right up close to a work that intrigues them. With squinting eyes and brows furrowed in curiosity, their hand slowly raises upwards towards the art... and then they stop.

And I say with a smile, "It's ok. You can touch it."

I'm a textural person. I touch everything. Inspired by nature, I can get lost in the peaks and valleys of bark on a tree or the details of rust, as it bubbles and splits. I touch people's clothing. I love the feel of leather. And don't get me started on my textural fetish with bubble wrap!

I cannot imagine asking my customers to not touch my art.

I know, I know.... it's a big "no no" in the fine art world-- and for many good reasons. Aside from the fact that some art is extremely fragile and can be damaged immediately as you touch it, over time, the oils from our fingers can corrode its surface, shortening its life expectancy.

So why can you touch my art, you ask? First of all, because I know you want to. But mostly because it's durable enough to take it. My artwork is different. I create my work on custom made wooden panels-- not stretched canvas. Wood is a much stronger base material that won't flex and create a problem with the textures I use. I work in layers of heavy resin plasters, metallic leafing materials, stains, and chemical reactants. Once a work is completed, the entire piece, sides included, is given a nice sturdy coat of a high-quality gloss urethane, making it fairly easy to clean away minor smudges and finger prints.

Now, with all of that being said, there shall be no picking, scratching and tapping on it. It's still art and it CAN be damaged.

So go ahead, run your hands across it-- gently. Feel the texture. Experience the peaks and valleys.

Side note: please don't go around touching other artists' works exclaiming that I said it was perfectly fine-- I will vehemently deny every word, hahaha!

Happy art viewing! And remember, PLEASE DON'T TOUCH-- unless you're in my booth.




Would you like to touch my work?

Check out the 2017 art festival season schedule!

Perhaps I'll be showing in a town near you!

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