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Sunday, August 24

dinner with friends

I have made good friends on the art show circuit. Soul mate friends. Casual friends. The early morning set up chaos is interrupted often with hugs and jovial reunions as if we hadn't seen each other 2 shows ago. And the question invariable turns to what was your last show and how was it? The "how was it" question translates to  "did you make any money"? Times are tough in art show land and we spend a lot of down time exploring options

Do I "dumb down" my line and make a lot of widgets? Widgets are low priced times like magnets with your art work on them. Do I cut down on shows and wholesale or consign to shops? Boy, that's a topic for its own blog.

So, last night, after the first night of the Elmwood Avenue FOTA, we went out to dinner with 2 couples and caught up and did the "how did you do?" dance. One couple has a line of sophisticated, artful designs of wildflowers. They sell everything from large, framed prints to tiny magnets. They do every well, but even they are starting to reconsider the art show option. The other artist sells beautiful copper plate prints of whimsical people and fairies and animals. She is a fine artist and is discouraged. I have been transitioning from a book artist (people just don't journal anymore) and I am focusing on mixed media collage. With mixed results.

I love art shows. I love everything (almost) about them: the early morning, focused mayhem, the customers, the sense of doing something from your heart. I even love festival food. Usually. I feed off the compliments of the people who come into my booth and comment on my work, even if they don't buy it. Art is a solitary profession. You spend hours every day, alone, in a studio with no one to ask "this look OK?". You put it all out there, a chunk of your soul, for people to judge. Not for sissies. And when you get positive feedback from people, it starts to fill you back up.

But now I wonder if this way of life is going to sputter and die as the baby boomers who populate the majority of the little white tents give up. Not many young people are choosing this life.

This morning I will head back out there, put on a happy face and try not to think of the bills I have t pay or the vacation I may not be able to take after all. Because last night I felt the joy of what following your heart means. I hugged and laughed with beautiful people that I would not know if I didn't take part in this crazy business. Our dinner took two hours but it felt like minutes. Then we stood on the sidewalk and continued to laugh and talk, even though we were all exhausted from the long day.

How did I do yesterday? If you're talking money...not great. If you're talking riches, I killed it :)