Mar 05

Cancellation of the 2014 Okanagan Erotic Art Show

The deadline for the artworks has passed, it was March 1 2014. Officially, the Call for Artists was out for three months but many artists knew about it since November, when the details for the exhibition at Sparkling Hill were firmed up.

The cancellation email went out on March 2. I saw no reason to delay giving artists notice of the inevitable. I’ve been severely criticized by some for being callous and dismissive, while the professional artists have been very supportive. To these last people, I thank you for your understanding. Before writing this blog post, I have had to take some time to try and be as objective as I can, and I can tell you there was a kaleidoscope of emotions over the last month, and after the Mar 2 email went out. Many of you who have submitted before and who know me personally will no doubt already have projected what I am going through. I appreciated those resubmissions from you, because it shows me that you believed in the show, you believed in the concept, and that you believed in me. Those of you who have exhibited with me before know I bend over backwards to give you the best showing possible, and will settle for nothing less. I am a believer in community, and a believer that a helping hand from one to another is not just an airy fairy ideal, but something that should be in action every day.

I am not going to get in to the number of hours that it takes to come up with a theme, the considerations, the meetings, finding a suitable jury and all that correspondence, the graphics, the paperwork for the submission form, updating and monitoring the webpage. Those of you who have done exhibitions from the other side will know exactly what I am talking about. That’s good enough for me. Those of you who don’t, rest assured that putting on an art exhibition is an artwork in and of itself, and requires, just in the planning stages, countless hours of work. Remember this show is not my full time job. I have a family, and other obligations I have to meet as a full time artist myself.

After those many, many hours of work comes the receipt of artwork submissions. Rebekah Wilkinson, who was this year’s Submission Assistant, is also an artist, and she has a tremendous amount of experience with the artwork receipts. She’s the one that made sure your form is filled out, if you missed a box because of inattention,  you didn’t label your artworks as requested, or didn’t send a headshot, or your artwork picture was blurry or whatever. I have not yet asked her how many hours she spent on this, but perhaps you can guess. Some of you had email correspondence with her more than once or twice. The more experienced artists, again, you know what is required, and you were blessings, let me tell you that. The less experienced, well, now you know what it is to enter a very high standard show. If you think the time you spent on your artwork was wasted, maybe you should take up another form of creativity. Nothing is ever wasted, that is a guarrantee.

So what happened?

Submission Fee
I’ve had two people mention that the submission fee was too high. The submission fee was 35$ for up to three works. I find the idea that it was too high a little surprising, as many artists paid 35$ and submitted only one work. 35$ is the normal submission fee for any art show in Canada or the US. Some art shows require a membership fee on top of the submission fee (ie FCA). Some art shows are more expensive, ie 50$ and some are less. Let’s take a look at that submission fee. What exactly were you getting for 35$?

Before I go on, remember this was a juried show. Just because you submitted an artwork or artworks does not mean you were automatically in the show. You were submitting with the understanding you may NOT get in the show. It’s a competition. This is not a what I call “Pay to Play”. Paying the fee did not guarrantee you a spot.

So what did you get? You get the possibility of being in a very high standard, high integrity art show. You get to show at a world class beautiful resort, Sparkling Hill, whose cultural mandate is also of very exacting standards. Once juried in to the show, you are in a catalog, unless you chose otherwise, which is sent to the National Library and Archives, present and available to any art historians who decide to look up erotic art in Canada. I can guarantee you there are not many books on that subject at this point. Right now, if there were ten books in the catalog on that subject, my show would take up four of the spots. That catalog cost you nothing, just your acceptance to be included. If you wanted a copy for your own personal records, I charged the artist the production cost – usually under $25 – which meant I made nothing on it. Speaking of making nothing on the catalog, I did that catalog out of love. I can’t even count the number of hours that went in to each year. I can say that each proof I had to order to make sure that the book was as beautiful as it is, cost out of my own pocket. That cost was not passed on to you.

Perhaps the catalog was not a big deal for some people. Okay then, what’s next?

The Jury
I heard from one artist that maybe the jury was too intimidating. That very well could be. The two jurors, other than myself, that were on the panel this year were pretty amazing people and offered their services in a voluntary capacity. Miki and Stan were both very strong literary people. They were chosen because of their background, their knowledge, and because of their attitude and because of their belief in community. They were vitally interested in the show, and the quality of the show. It made sense to have literary jurors for a literary based theme. The point of the jury is that they are the ones who maintain certain inherent standards and expectations of artwork. That’s where the integrity of the show comes in. If every artwork that was submitted got in, what is the point of a jury?

Number of artists
Last year, I received almost 200 artwork submissions and over 100 artists. Of those 200 artwork submissions, only 80 some artworks were accepted. This year, there wasn’t anything even close to those numbers, not even half. After thinking about why this is, I remembered that there was a previous year where the record was broken and then following year a fraction submitted, so this is what I think. Because there were so many last year in 2013, a great many artists/artworks did not get selected. With very few loyal exceptions, those who did not get selected, did not apply again. But having said that, many of the artists who did get in last year, did not apply again even though their reviews of the show were extremely favourable.  I can only give conjecture as to why that is, so I am just giving you observations.

The deadline was March 1. I’m really anal about deadlines. I am not Canada Revenue. I am not The Post Office. Post marked dates are not good enough. This is a professional show, and submissions must be complete by the deadline. The Call was out for three months, why on earth would it need to be extended? When a person comes to me and tells me, hey, I can’t meet your deadline because of x x or x, got to be honest with you – I am pretty insulted. The reason why I am insulted is because there are so many other people who have worked their butt off trying to meet the deadline, doing what it takes to get it done. I am insulted for these people who care about their work, who respect the structure and integrity of the requirements and who understand why it is so. So for all of you who did complete submissions, I appreciate you. Two finger salute.

Now, having said all that, EVEN if I were to have accepted the artworks/artists who went beyond the deadline, ie their submission was not complete on March 1, there was still not enough artworks to jury. For those of you who were first time submitters, I am sorry this was not a good experience for you.

It comes down to this. With the number of artworks submitted, there was no possible way for the jury to sit and produce a high quality show. If there was, I would have taken it. Did I see the signs? Absolutely. Did you read the submission form where it says please share the show?  You initialled it didn’t you? How does an art show like this get artworks to come in besides me paying all that money that I will never get back now, for the advertising? Word of mouth. Talking up the show. Sharing with your fellow artist. Encouraging them to enter. If you believe in the show enough to enter, then wouldn’t it make sense to try and make it successful? Thank you to those artists and supporters who did pass on the Call to their artist friends. What if everyone did that? I also thank all the art groups who sent the call on to their members.

I am one person
I have repeatedly said this is not MY show. This is YOUR show. This is a professional artist run show that relied on the artists and their supporters to make it successful. Again, I am just one person. I am an artist first and foremost. I’m not Miss Moneybags, and I don’t have unlimited funds to put on this event. I know what it’s like out there, and I know that if you want to be successful, you can’t work alone.

For those who purchased Opening Night tickets well in advance, I thank you. You are true believers in this concept and I am sorry that it is not going ahead. For Hans-Peter Mayr, and Marlene Diesl of Sparkling Hill, thank you for your continued belief in this idea. Thank you to Miki Andrejevic and Stan Chung for agreeing to be the jury. Thank you to Rebekah Wilkinson for all the time you spent as Submissions Assistant. The result of this 2014 Call to Artists is an extreme example, but it illustrates perfectly how the community of artists needs to work together. Some of you, and I know who you are, shared the show. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Others, well, what can I say?

Jan 23

Press Release – Call to Artists

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Call to Artists 2014
Okanagan Erotic Art Show
The Call to Artists for the 2014 Okanagan Erotic Art Show has been launched.  The deadline for entries is March 1 2014 and artists are asked to consider the theme for the show.  All forms of art are encouraged from writing to performance to the traditional visual art.

This is a classy and elegant art show that has drawn artists from across Canada, the States and Europe, and has gained the reputation of being fun and inclusive, challenging the concept of what is eroticism on various levels.  This will be the second year at the beautifully elegant and opulent Sparkling Hill Resort.

Julia Trops, currently based in Kelowna, is the show founder and organizer. “This is the 7th year for the show. Every year I join two creative fields: 2013 was performing/visual and 2012 was music/visual. This year, for 2014, is literary/visual.  The theme “Yes Shall I Wear a Red Yes” derives from the closing Molly Bloom soliloquy in the novel Ulysses by James Joyce. The soliloquy will leave you breathless, I assure you”, said Trops.

Along with Trops, the jurors this year include University of Alberta’s Arts Manager and Producer Miki Andrejevic and Stan Chung, the Vice President Academic at Red River College in Winnipeg.

Mr Adrejevic is an avid arts lover, and established LitFest – Edmonton International Literary Arts Festival as only Canadian festival devoted to creative non-fiction and is directing the University of Alberta’s Festival of Ideas since its inception in 2008.  “I see erotic art as the celebration of the human beauty, spirit and sense of aesthetics and am looking forward to participating in  such a wonderful show that  celebrates eroticism.”

Mr Chung is well known in the Okanagan with his feature column Global Citizen published in The Okanagan Sunday. He is currently a doctoral candidate at UBC Okanagan where his work focusses on the performance of improvisation. “I am inspired by the question “What is erotic art?” because it challenges our boundaries and expectations.”

2014’s Yes Shall I Wear a Red Yes will take place at Sparkling Hill Resort July 4 to July 31.  The Opening Night is Friday July 4, and tickets are available from the website now. Two $250 cash prizes will be awarded Opening Night for the Resort Choice, and the People’s Choice.

Applications and more information can be found at

Submission forms are available here:


2014 Erotic Show Juried submission form 2 pages .doc version


Okanagan Erotic Art Show
c/o Julia Trops
Box 32093
2151 Louie Drive
Westbank, BC
V4T 3G2
Forms may also be emailed to
Opening Night 2013, Dirk Hiel painting
2013 Catalog available on Amazon

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Dec 31

Why should you apply for the 2014 Art Show?

While many artists have already applied, it occurred to me that some artists might not know about this show.

Why would you apply for it?

Well, hard and fast, is that it is a very high profile art show, very well attended, at an amazingly beautiful venue, run by an artist, juried by professionals, is grassroots, supports the community, has prizes, is both online and physical, can stretch your artistic boundaries or if juried in, allow you to have a work that has never before been seen, be seen.

The short story is that it is in its seventh year.  Read the About page to find more about how it started and why it started.  For now though, here are the bits and pieces of each portion of the show. If it sounds like something you would like to be a part of, then send in a submission.

Theme:  Each year, instead of having a stagnant theme over and over again, I try to marry up two distinct creative fields.  For example, 2011, the theme was Edge of Night, which some of you may remember was a television soap opera in the 70s. The venue, Ex Nihilo also had a wine called Night, so that tied in really well.  In 2012, the theme was Rumour Has It, the title taken from a very popular hit song by Adele, and 2013 saw the theme come from Phantom of the Opera “Past the Point of No Return”, Unspoken Secrets.  This year, the theme is Yes shall I wear a red yes, and is from James Joyce’s Ulysses. Because Steampunk is a highly marketable subject matter, I am trying to encourage artists to consider using Steampunk elements.  Click on the link and it will take you to Steampunk images. It is not required though, and neither is it required to use the colour red.  The theme is a question, not a command. Every year, I choose an artwork from the successful artists to be the cover image for the show. If the artist says yes to this, then all branding and publicity has their image.  See the past posters of the show.

Application Fee:  The application fee is $35.  Last year and in previous years, the cost was $10 per piece, but I realized after doing a time analysis that I was doing the same amount of work for one piece as for three.  I didn’t think that was fair to the person who was paying for three pieces, and have decided to make the application fee the same for everyone.

Jurying:  The physical show is juried, the online show is not.  The physical show means you will send your work, the online show you do not. For more on the amazing jury who have agreed to participate for 2014 please see the jury page.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have Stan and Miki on board this year.

Online Show:  As mentioned, the online show is not juried.  The fee you are paying is for me to put your work associated to the show, on the web. No work is physically sent to me.

Catalog:  I put together a catalog of all the works for the physical show.  Past catalogs are available for purchase on Amazon. I do not charge you any money to be part of the catalog and it is not required that you be part of the catalog, that is your choice. It’s a benefit to being juried in to the show. You get two pages for you and your work, or if you are juried in for more than one piece, a page per piece, plus a page for you and your bio.  You receive your first copy at cost, and then any other copies at regular retail price.  The reason I do the catalog, is because the show takes so long to do, it was important to me to have some sort of record that the show even existed.  These catalogs are sent to the National Library in Canada, and available for purchase to libraries in Canada.

Opening Night: The opening night last year was the largest ever, at 330 people attending.  Ticket prices will be the same once again this year.  There is a performer throughout the evening providing lovely music (still to be contracted), and vignettes of other creative pieces, such as dancing and theatre and song, throughout the evening. Here are the photos from 2013 Opening Night. You can see the venue, and the people and the art.

Venue:  The venue itself is Sparkling Hill.  It is opulent and luxurious, and for the discerning adult.  Crystals sparkle everywhere, and the opening night is aglitter with all the people who attend and become part of the show itself. While there is no nudity, suggestive and fun attire is most welcome.  With rooms going for 600$ a night, the people who attend the show are educated, intelligent, discerning and interested.  Keep that in mind.

Commission:  As an artist, you would submit your work to be on display and available for sale (ideally). There are sales at the resort, with many attendees and visitors being out of town.  Commission is 40% for the show, and the reason for this is because the artworks are very visible, and sales do happen.  Price your work accordingly.  The breakdown of the commission is 30% to the resort, and 10% to me.  I am an artist myself, this show is not my full time job, I do it out of love and interest.  Having said that, my time can not be free anymore.  The show takes about six/seven months to put together, and after all expenses, I need to have some sort of positive income to validate everything I am doing.

Charity:  Every year, I donate one third of my proceeds from Opening Night to charity, the other third goes to Sparkling Hill.  I believe in giving back to the community, no matter what I do, and that giving back has to be a win win scenario. The past recipients have been Breast Cancer Research, Central Okanagan Hospice and this year, because I am an animal lover, I am donating to Critteraid Okanagan, a beautiful organization that has so much heart. They are no-kill and help out so many animals, from rabbits to cats and dogs to horses. SPCA is wonderful but they already have a huge base of support from people. Critteraid is much more down to earth, and locally invested. If all tickets sell for Opening Night, this is a potential $3000 to Critteraid.  I would love to see a business come up and match that amount.

Prizes:  There are two prizes awarded at Opening Night.  The first is the Resort Choice, chosen by the General Manager and co-owner of Sparkling Hill Hans-Peter Mayr.  He chooses one artwork out of all presented to receive the 250$ cash prize.  It is presented that evening, but if there were ever a chance that the artist was not present, he/she would receive it in the mail.  I would notify you probably right away through Facebook. The other prize is chosen by the attendees of Opening Night, and is called the People’s Choice.  The ballot for this is attached to the ticket to get in the show. (Pictured)  Once again, it is presented that evening, and if you as an artist was not there, I’d notify you and send it to you via mail.

So there you go.  If this is something you would like to be part of, then send in a submission.  You don’t have to apply for the juried show, you can just go for the online portion. And if you aren’t juried in, you are automatically part of the online show. This is a show full of heart and connection and adventures. Hope to see your entry!

Example Ticket for the 2013 Okanagan Erotic Art Show

Ticket for the 2013 Okanagan Erotic Art Show


Nov 24

Call to Artists – 2014 Theme Yes Shall I Wear a Red Yes

The Call to Artists
for the 2014 Art Show
is finished

Theme: Yes (tagline: Shall I wear a red yes (from the book Ulysses by James Joyce)

Dates:   July 4 to either July 31 or August 4th

The timeline for the juried art show will be as follows:

Call to Artists: December 1 2013 – March 1 2014
Jurying Complete: March 15 2014
Artists Notified: April 1 2014
Work dropoff: July 1 & 2 2014
Show setup: July 3 2014
Opening Night: July 4 2014
Show end: July 31 or Aug 4 (to be confirmed April 1)
Artwork Pickup: Aug 1 or 2, or Aug 4 or 5 (to be confirmed April 1)
Artwork returned: Month of August (to be confirmed before July 1)

There are two streams this year.

1.  Online:  Completely internet based, no jurying, no physical sending of work. Deadline May 31 2014. Online show will be the same duration as the juried show, July 4 to Aug 4.

2.  Juried:  Physical show, juried, art works etc are at Sparkling Hill. Deadline March 1 2014.  Artists who submit to the juried show are automatically entered in to the online show.

For both streams, applications are on the Call to Artists page.

What are we looking for this year?  That’s always a question asked.

Every year I try to join two creative fields in the show. Last year was performing and visual and the year before was music and visual.

Remember, the creations are open to your interpretation of the theme.  It does not mean we expect works to be narratives or illustrations of the theme, but to be inspired by the theme, on any of its levels, on any of its interpretations. Does it have to have red in it? No, the theme is a question / statement. It is up to you how to interpret the theme.

You are the artist and you are the creator and you are the inventor.  If you are interested in a challenge, Steampunk is current, it’s interesting and it’s different.  It is also very marketable.  For James Joyce, he was born around 1880 and died in 1941.  His Irish formative years would have been in the Victorian era – do a bit of research on what was happening in the world, artistically, culturally, scientifically. Maybe he is the Steam and you are the Punk.  Have fun with this!

Does it have to be Steampunk? No not at all. There are no strict rules about what will be accepted and what will not. It’s an erotic show, not a show about the illustration of Joyce’s novel.

For more information please see the FAQ page.

$500 in Prizes

There are two prizes awarded on Opening Night.  The first is the Resort Choice, chosen by Hans Peter Mayr, the GM of Sparkling Hill.  The second is the People’s Choice, chosen by the attendees of Opening Night.  Both artists (you do not have to be present) will win $250 cash, each and are presented that evening.  It’s quite exciting!

For more information, see the Call to Artists Page.


Art Deadline

Art Deadline


Oct 22

Call to Artist fees 2014

Having done this so many years, and having to write so many “sorry your work didn’t make it in this year” I’ve come up with a way that everyone who wants to be involved with the art show, can be involved with the art show.

I’m going to have two channels of work display.  One channel will be entirely internet based.  No work needs to be shipped, no framing needs to be done, no size restrictions will be in place.  Work can still be purchased, the artist will still be paid.  The other channel will be the work in the physical space. This is the work that will be shown at Sparkling Hill.


The first channel will be $10 a piece application fee.  There is no jurying.  You send the information, the fee, and you are in – your work will be shown in the online gallery. The images that you send me, I will make sure that they are internet and artist friendly ie unprintable, and copyrighted with a watermark. You will get links from the web page. Basically what you are paying for is my time to advertise your work.  Sales will be subject to 30% commission.  If any work sells through me, I get the commission.  I process the sale.  You send the work.  You send me the tracking information.  I get notified that the work is delivered.  I send you your funds immediately.  It’s all very clean.


The second channel will be $35 flat fee for three pieces, and will be presented to the jurors (still to be announced).

For the physical channel, all works you submit will be automatically entered for the internet portion.  There are requirements for the physical work, ie size. There is a 40% commission, 30% payable to Sparkling Hill Resort, 10% payable to me (this percentage still to be confirmed). You are paid by cheque for sales from the Resort.  In the past they have been fast, and usually within the thirty days if not that week. You are responsible for shipment of work to and from the show unless you are outside Canada.

Outside of Canada

If you are out of Canada, I have set up myself as an importer/exporter.  I have the documents you will need to fill out.  I will take your work across the border (to and from the show) myself.  There may be fees, which you will need to cover (I hope not), but when I have more info on that, i will post here.  Last year a shipper screwed up on an artist from the States, and ended up charging her a nightmare in fees.  It was ridiculous, so I have put things in place so that should never happen again. If you need a reference for how all that went down, contact me and I will put you in touch with her, I am sure she will be happy to tell you how it all went, and what to be careful of.

As more information becomes available, I will post it up.  This is a very high profile show, and I expect art and artists to have the same high standards.  I don’t want anyone asking “what’s the big deal about ….”.  Be proud of your work, and be proud to show it to its best advantage.


Aug 28

Okanagan Erotic Art Show (OEAS) Theme for 2014

I have started to look at themes for next year’s show.  Potentials are

Steamy (tagline:  “A flood of sweet fire” from a poem by DH Lawrence)  or

Yes (tagline:  Shall I wear a red yes (from the book Ulysses by James Joyce).

Every year I try to join two creative fields in the show. Last year was performing and visual and the year before was music and visual.  As time goes on, and the details get firmed up, stay tuned for the final selection.  Others I will list here too.

Remember, the creations are open to your interpretation of the theme.  It does not mean I expect works to be narratives or illustrations of the theme, but to be inspired by the theme, on any of its levels.

Somehow I’d like to have a Steampunk influence but it is not necessary.  You are the artist and you are the creator.  If you are interested in a challenge, Steampunk is current, it’s interesting and it’s different.  It is also very marketable.  For both of these potentials themes, these authors were born around 1880 and died around 1930/1940.  Their formative years would have been in the Victorian era, and this could be where the idea of Steampunk could be involved. They are the Steam and you are the punk.  Have fun with this!