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.