Last July I was at the Flagstaff Art in the Park and sold “Work Week” to a young lady named Rachel. I was happy to receive a pic of it hanging in her room recently. Very timely because I’ll be there this weekend too.
Avid readers may remember that last year at the Palo Alto show, I was setting up my booth only to discover I had inadvertently packed a gecko, which I then kept in a cup until I was able to release it in my yard, 10 hours drive to the south and in a completely different climate.
I almost did it again last weekend, this time managing to catch two of the three geckos that were hiding in the nooks and cranies of booth-wall bags and painting boxes to show how lucky they were to not be taken somewhere that they wouldn’t be able to live.
Oddly this was a journey that was destined to involve the transportation of another reptile. My other half Ken, who breeds bearded dragons and uromastyx, was in the process of having a uromastic shipped from San Diego until we realized I would be making the same journey in a lot less time. We coordinated with the seller of the lizard and he was willing to meet me at the show site, Liberty Station, at the end of the show. We did a quick transaction at the corner of the street and I packed up this little girl to bring her back to the desert on a four hour trip rather than a day at the hands of FedEx.
I have quite a number of ice-breaker questions when people come into my booth. One of my favorites is when they’re wearing a tshirt or hat from a place or a company.
“So, are you visiting from New Mexico or do you just have the hat?”
“Were you born in Palm Springs or are you just trying to look like a local?”
“Do you work for the Ducks or do you just have the shirt?”
“Are you the owner of “XXXYYY brewing company” or do you just drink their beer?”
Usually this just results in a quick laugh, but sometimes I’ve hit an unusual spot.
“So, are you from Puerto Rico or do you just have the shirt?” “We moved there five months ago when we retired and four months ago lost everything except our lives in the hurricane.”
Ha – got so busy for a while, I forgot to post this month’s newsletter!
At the show at Flagstaff today, a couple came in and didn’t take long in selecting ‘The Forgotten Garden’ to add to their art collection. I asked them to send me a photo of it in their home, and indeed they did before I got back to the Airbnb!
At art fairs I get a variety of comments, often unsolicited or simply overheard. There’s quite a smattering of ‘pretty’ or ‘nice’ – those who respect my work but don’t personally care for it; and there are comments from those who do like it. I rarely get someone who actually says something negative. In the context of an art fair, there’s typically just no reason for any of the attendees to specifically state that they dislike anyone’s work. We all know that tastes differ and are not bothered if someone isn’t attracted to our work.
I had a surprise yesterday. Two older ladies (maybe in their 60s or so) came in my booth and looked at my work in some detail. They barely acknowledged me when I went to speak to them and kept looking around. They were speaking in a foreign language and I could barely overhear them anyway. As one exited, she came over to me and wagged her finger at me and said clearly ‘Hate’. As the second lady exited the first one said to her ‘Jawohl’ – I know enough German to know that means ‘Of course’, but wasn’t quick enough off the mark to gather together a sentence to ask her why she hated it before they vanished into the crowd.
Being more surprised than upset, I thought I would tell my neighbor. Before I could go over, another younger woman with two kids (one about 8 one about 5), walked passed and both children pointed into my booth and told their Mom they liked my work.
I guess I’m pleasing the next generation more than this one!
Occasionally I get to bring a painting to its forever home in person. Sunday evening (very late because the Strawberry Festival runs until 6:30pm) I got to stop by this client’s home to show her a painting she’d seen on my phone when we were talking about round paintings. Theme and Variations was – is still – one of my favorite creations which explains why it spent most of its life in my bathroom – until last weekend. Now it lives in a home office in Westlake Village.
Well this is more of a tale from the business desk of the studio. These three letters came in the mail today. In fairness I picked them all up today, they probably arrived over a series of days, I just present them in the order I opened them.
I’m sure these are all automatically generated. At least, for the sake of Arizonans, I hope so. Having previously spent 31 years in the computer industry, and about half of that working for government entities of some sort, I still think some test planner’s head should roll for allowing this kind of scenario to waste money. Not sure whether to laugh or cry.
The best part: This is probably in response to the fact that on April 19th I sent them a check for $2 for underpayment of something I couldn’t figure out what I’d underpaid. I thought my math was just bad on the sales on the check I wrote them in March for the show I did in February, and that they were probably better at math than I was….
Sometimes life give you just what you need. On Saturday I was at an art fair at Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley. My neighbor, Christine Chase, had brought a project to work on during the day. She had a number of pieces of upcycled household objects that she assembled into a sculpture. At the end of the day, we packed up a little early because it had gotten windy and we were starting to get blown away. I helped Christine with the last few stages of taking down her tent safely. As she was packing she realized that now that the project was complete, she didn’t have room for the sculpture and the box that the pieces had been in. She asked if I needed a box. I said I didn’t, but had room to take it and recycle it appropriately.
As I disassembled the booth, it got windier. Because it had been a 1-day show with no chance of rain, I’d put the loose canopy top on. It’s easier to transport, I put it on the frame at home, but it isn’t waterproof. As I had intended to leave it on until I returned home, I didn’t bring the bag it goes in. As I was taking the booth down, it became obvious things would be safer if I removed the ‘sail’ from the top. I was bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t brought the bag, but then suddenly realized why serendipity had given me a box….
I thought April was going to be a quiet month, but it kind of exploded, as you can see in the Monthly Newsletter.