Art Basel -How Much Does This Cost?

For Christmas this year I tackled a bucket list entry I learned about first in a team-taught course as a first year student at Rhodes college- Art Basel. This is a for-profit, privately owned and managed, international art fair that happens in three cities every year- Basel, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Miami Beach, Florida.

The idea is that high-end galleries pay around $30,000 USD for a convention center cubicle, ship 5-10 of their best (most likely to sell) pieces and a handful of art handlers and sales people to the convention center, and potentially make half of their gallery’s annual income in one week.


So the question for me: Do I want to aspire to be a cog in the money-driven art world machine?

Answer: I don’t loathe the idea yet. (I’ll explain why).


The best way I can describe what I experienced is literally a mall for some of the most expensive art in the world. It was set up with corridors like a mall, not quiet, but fairly orderly and laid back. Lots of strollers and young people there, and “stores” where you probably shouldn’t touch the merchandise, but if it looks like you’ll buy something, the sales people won’t chew you out (a sculpture by Joyce J. Scott was selling for $240,000). And the fashion game was tip-top.

Some pictures:

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As an artist, people say going to an art fair might be like this:

“…no better way to become humble than by going to an art fair”

—Leigh Connor, Connor Contemporary Art, Washington D.C.


“Detractors might argue it’s commercialism at its worst…on the flipside, fairs enable one to see a survey from across the globe in a short amount of time.”

—Helen Allen Executive Director, PULSE Contemporary Art Fair


“…It made me feel like the screaming Edvard Munch head.”

—Fred Tomaselli, artist, Brooklyn, N.Y.


“It’s something I struggle with because it gets overwhelming at times. But every time I go, I’ll see something I love, or make a great connection, and ultimately it’s always a really good thing. That said, usually I’ll leave freaking out a little bit. Overwhelmed. Exhausted.”

—Stephanie Diamond, artist, N.Y.

Stephanie’s quote sounds the most like how I feel about most everything, so I did a lot of research like the indispensable, Art/Work: Everything You Need to Know (And Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career, suggested. (The quotes, and the following comic all come from this book too. Sometimes I just read it cuz it’s so fun). And I went into Art Basel with an open mind and as lackadaisical as I could. (I narrowed what I had to see to two tiny wings, and then browsed about ½ of the convention more in walking between those two points.

More pics:

And lucky me, I DID see something that KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF: Leon and Cocina’s La Casa Lobo film


I and a bunch of high-schoolers sat through the 45 minutes completely enthralled for every second of  the film.

So I came away energized to make work, realizing my work can be appealing and entertaining and still have clout in a serious market, and impressed to see more women artists’ work and LOTS of work in fabric, like I do.

Last, I saw this. Hello Hannah Wilke’s chewed gum.


León and Cociña

Art/Work Book

Hannah Wilke




I have a lot more ideas than I have follow-through for most of said ideas. And this goes to show how much work (ugh-exasperated eyeroll) an idea takes me to go THROUGH to the thorough end.

That party hat from Christmas needed to be a New Years’ hat, duh! so I’ll make a picture of 2018 scrawled on the back, from behind, and 2019 scrawled on the front, from in front.

Well, then the rooster needed a hat too, and I got sidetracked, and so some of the universally blatant meaning lost its way in the mess and this is what I have instead:



In my head I was really going for a white backdrop, folk-musician album look…

Which to be fair to myself, last week’s picture satisfied me in it’s closeness to this mode. Probs why I thought I’d replicate and heighten that again a week later. But dang. It is just really hard to photograph yourself alone. As Jerry Saltz says in his latest Article, “Form small gangs.” And, “Artists must commune with their own kind all the time.” Sure makes impromptu photo shoots more interesting. But also, “work, work, work…Jasper Johns famously said, “One night I dreamed that I painted a large American flag, and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it.” Also from Jerry Saltz. I dreamed it. So I got the pictures together to make it. It’s not quite Vogue. I’ll try some other stuff while the energy returns and the gang organically forms for stuff like the Vogue idea in satisfaction.

Vogue has out takes too.

Luv, Sophia

A Merry Festivus Onion

Bi eniig dosh mongoloor bichisen, vzeerei.

When Aeneas clambered out of Hell, was the Aeneid over? Hell no. He still had a battle to fight, a princess to marry, and a fricken ton more stanzas of poetry to exist for (I remember not so much after the Hell part).

Well this year has certainly been a year, and I ended up not being home with my family for Christmas like I thought I ought to be a year (and two years) ago. But are we sad?


No! We are glad! Mom and Dad visited ME in Key West and we had a blast.

Credit: Keo Ramey for the LED ear headphones

The first two images from my NOW COMPLETE AS OF YESTERDAY series Poster Colonialism are up at the Studios of Key West.

Minii anxnii hoër zuraguud “Zurag Huudasiin Kolonichlogch”aas Key West Florida galleriid baina.

And I have eight more images ready. I’m thinking a limited run of posters and a very limited run of the series in liners and frames cuz I know how to make them frames myself now. Here’s a sneak peek:

Nadad nam bas zurag baigaa. Ehleed zurag huudas hiine, tegeed jaaztei ene zuragiig hiine (geheer bi odoo jaaz hiij chadna!). Vzye, vzii, Look! (yaj bichdeg we??)

Poster Colonialist, Copyright Sophia Mason 2018

I finished the editing for this series  just as I saw that the LDS church’s top dogs have today “allowed” sister missionaries globally to wear dress pants if they choose anytime besides official meetings and church services (which apparently need to still have regulated dress codes- even though women can wear pants to these things all the time all over the world).

SO if you’re seeing this and you’re a sister missionary (Lauren and Hillary, Tensmeyer and Sanderson…cough cough cough) and you’d like to be immortalized in my art work, send me a full-body picture of you in dress pants as a missionary (I don’t want any of that p-day crap). Bonus points (like literally) to a sister who sends me a pic of her in pants at church. Screw fear. I’m so over it.

Odoo sisterood umd umsej bolno (gehdee olon sisterood enees umnu umd umsen, tii?) uchraas, herew chi odoo sister missionary baiwal, nadad umd umsej baina zurag nadad yawuuleerei! Bi dahiad urlagiin zurag projekt hiine! Herew chi svm deer umd umswel, “ëo! Chi Aimar zorigtoi baina aa! gej helne!! Nadad ikh dvn cetgegdel turne (yaj heldeg we?)

The Poster Colonialism series is really cool, and is evidencing many interesting threads for me personally, so I am excited to see where it’ll go and what it’ll do in the world.

In the meantime, I have a big, fun mess that needs playing with.


P.S. The children’s book, Chocolate Beans, got worked on while my family was in town too 😉

Up next: My trip to Art Basel Miami, one of the world’s largest and most important art fairs!

Exhibition Announcement

Hello beloved friends and supporters of my artwork!

This post greets you to announce that the Studios of Key West Members’ Exhibition, Look Upwards, To the Sky, will show my most recent work.
Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 1.33.24 PM.png
The show opens Thurs. Dec. 6, 6-8p, and it will run through Dec. 27th at the Studios of Key West Gallery spaces.
The piece the show will display comes from my mission photo archive, and a series of photos I took of each of my ten companions. It reflects on the colonial nature of the Latter-day Saint missionary program, our unique personalities despite the machine, and what friendship and good did come about from our service.

I am grateful for everyone’s willing participation and enthusiasm for this project. Moreover, I am grateful for each of my companions’ willingness to let me use their images to entertain critical post-colonial thought about our faith that is so precious to us. That is not something I take lightly.

I will post exhibition images on this blog of the piece in the coming week.
Lots of appreciation,
Sophia Mason

Breaking News!


(Blurry photo of me holding two posters and images of my upcoming work behind me)

(haltarsan zurag- Bi “poster”-tai, bas minii idehui urag urlag nadad ard tald baina)

You wouldn’t think I was gonna be billing myself as a photographer next month from the quality of THAT gem of a photo, now would you? Ha ha. These posters are a good omen that they will appear at the member show at The Studios of Key West show, Look Upwards, to the Sky, Dec. 6-27, 2018.

Bi uneheer operatnii zuragch baina uu? xexe imerhvv zurag ikh haltarsan baisan. Ene hoer “posters” 2018, 12-p 6-27, “The Studios of Key West” (Urlagchiin Klub) deer vzvvlugdene. Ene consert “Desh ee hararai, Tengeriin zvd” gedeg. Manai sain naiz, Sarangua, tvvnii zurag tend vzuulne.

I’m excited. This show will fulfill one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2018. Everyone has been supportive and excited to see how the pictures turn out, so I am grateful for the participants’ permission to use their images. Stay tuned for more writing on what the pieces ARE, and what they are about.

love, Sophia

Nadad jargal bn. Herew ene show sain bolwol, 2018 jiliin zorilgodoo hvrene. Olon hvmvvs nadad demjij baisan. Bi byx oroltsogchooded mash ikh bayrlaj baina, ted nadad zuwshurul (zurag xereglexiin tul nadad ugsun) usgsun. Imerhvv zuraguud vzehiin tul, tailbrah unshahiin tul, sain baij baigarai.

Haertai shvv, Meison