Art show season is upon us here in the Northeast and I’m learning how to be an Art Fair Road Warrior. Seriously, I want a membership card, just ’cause I want to see what the logo would be. Sadly, it’s mainly just a virtual group on Facebook, but still. I think it’s gonna take a lot more shows and a lot more miles behind me before I really qualify, but I’m working towards it. This weekend will be my third show in four weeks, so that’s a damned good start if I say so myself. And I do.
Amazingly enough I don’t really get bored to tears sitting, standing, or futzing around in and around my booth. I thought I would, but I don’t. At least as long as there’s somebody around. The first show was pretty rough because the weather was so awful (Pouring in Pittsburgh) that people just didn’t come around, or if they did they were moving quickly. The second show (Hot in Harrisburg) started out fabulously to the point I was freaking out — my first customer came in and picked out a piece before I had even gotten my sales book and credit card thingy out and ready, and there were early crowds that made me panic thinking that they were all getting impatient waiting to buy something. Sadly that turned out to be a common first-day early morning rush, and I had no other sales that day or the next. And did I mention hot? It was hot. And I was in a spot which, while on the grass (so it coulda been a lot hotter), received no shade from the gorgeous park trees to the east or the west for the duration of the show. My face and my fan were never more than four inches apart.
But Monday, Day 3 of the show, was a beeeeeeYOUtiful day, and all the visitors seemed much more relaxed and interested in hanging around and talking.
THAT’s my favorite part. Well, apart from writing in the sales book of course.
There are always folks who bring their kids in (usually bored-looking preadolescents) and tell them that my work is just like that project they did in fourth grade, right? To which I usually reply with encouragement to the kids, and try to ignore the obvious corollary to the parents’ comment that indicates their opinion of my artistry, skill, and/or experience.
But many times — MANY times, thankfully, I received or heard comments from visitors such as “this is absolutely fabulous,” “how creative,” and, the one that will keep me going through the next dry spell, “this is the most unique work I’ve ever seen.”
Thank you, stranger. You paid me more in warm fuzzies than I’ve gotten in a long time.
I know my work is not conventional. It doesn’t fit into many folks’ conception of art. It doesn’t fit into others’ view of craft. I have difficulty getting into some shows because the jury doesn’t know where to put it, or I don’t know which box to check on the application.
But I do it because I love it and I love experimenting and tweaking ways to experience language and image together. On paper, in glass, in shadows, in layers, with watercolor, with ink, on mylar, on vellum, on cut paper, whatever.
And if you enjoy it, please let me know. If you don’t, but have some constructive criticism, please let me know that too. Beyond that, just enjoy the show. I’m sure you can find another artist that fits your style better. We’re all here just waiting to find our peeps. While that’s no guarantee we can make a living doing what we love (or even just make back our expenses and booth fee), it helps to build a following. Someday they’ll need a gift of fabulous, creative, and absolutely unique artwork. And I’ll be here. Or there. I’ll be somewhere. Come find me.