The irreverent, tongue-in-cheek, spectacularly unofficial guide to Artomatic 419!

. April 9, 2013.

[Get the print edition online here and exclusive interviews here]


ARTOMATIC ETIQUETTE: 5 all-important rules

1. Go with the flow (of people) Artomatic is about individuality, but don’t go against the grain too much. How much is too much? Chest-bumping strangers. That’s too much.

2. Keep your critiques to yourself Everyone’s a critic, but most people have the good sense to whisper. The only thing more awkward than making fun of someone else’s hard work to their face is doing so in the middle of a crowd.

3. iPhones welcome. Flash? Less so. The Metropolitan building is pretty dark, so please don’t blind your neighbors just to get a good picture. Besides, art is not your lunch — you don’t need to Instagram everything you see to your friends.

4. Bring money, make it rain Just because entry is free doesn’t mean you won’t find something worth buying. Artists need to eat and much of their work is for sale. Feel free to haggle, however.

5. Repeat visits encouraged There is no way to cover two buildings and 500 artists in a single visit. Check out the schedule so you don't miss out. Come back, explore, find nooks and crannies, spend some time talk to your favorite artists. This only happens once every two years—enjoy yourself.


A special snowflake

Artomatic 419! is unique, but it’s not one-of-a-kind. The first Artomatic began in Washington, D.C. in 1999, and our nation’s capital still hosts that event. The Toledo iteration of the extravaganza started in 2006.


Labor of love

You might read this and think to yourself ‘Dang, Artomatic 419 sounds like a lot of work!’ And it is — unpaid work. Every visual artist — all 500 of them — must volunteer for 10 hours to earn their space at Artomatic 419, and every band has to work the hour before their set, and the hour after.


Seeing & Being Seen

Artomatic 419! isn’t just an event to attend as a gawker. You too can participate in the creation of this three week installation of experience by wearing your artsiest duds. Attendance at Artomatic offers a blank canvas for your most creative fashion ensembles. Curate your wardrobe. Be colorful! Every corner, nook and cranny of space will push the gamut of the color spectrum, so stand out with bold and vibrant colors. Don’t be afraid to wear bright pinks, lime greens or yellows. Since multiple attendance is a must, pick a different color scheme each time. Become a walking gallery. Wear the cool accessories you’ve been collecting from other art shows. Add to the onslaught of visuals by showing off funky jewelry or the wacky hat that never leaves your closet. Have a t-shirt designed by a local artist? Show them some love and sport it, that’s what Artomatic is all about anyway. Mix, match and relax. Don’t hesitate to wear plaid with stripes and polka-dots—just do it with swagger. Whatever your style, be your creative, confident self and strut your stuff. —Julian Garcia


“There’s such a wide variety and it reaches such a breadth that it invites more people out of the woodwork that might never participate.”
—Erik Bang!!! (a.k.a. Erik Thomas), performance and recycled metal sculpture artist


“One thing that is really magical about Toledo is that there are artists everywhere in all different kinds of jobs — stay-at-home moms, people in factories — everywhere.”
—poet Jonie McIntire, who will appear April 13 at 8pm on the Main Stage with Almeda Street Poets


“The whole spirit of Artomatic 419! is that the Arts Commission takes care of the logistics and provides basic infrastructure, but the artists themselves come out of the woodwork to make it happen. It’s a grassroots effort on behalf of the creative community.”
—Ryan Bunch, performing & literary arts coordinator at the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo


Like what you see?

Meet the photographer …
Robert Wagner of Man Overboard Images shot the cover and circus-inspired portraits of Artomatic 419! participants for our feature story. Does the photog have any secret talents he could bring to the art extravaganza besides his lens work? “I’m good at beat boxing,” Wagner says. “I’m better than I should be at something not so cool. That, or possibly the fact that I’m really good at trivia games and Jeopardy!”  

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