Friday, January 18, 2008

Maybe I do have an evil twin...

"Spot of Confidence" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

"What's Up?" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

Happy Friday, dear reader!

Over on her blog, Crash Octopus, Meg Lyman has been sharing with us her experiences of attending shows and selling her art, showing being both an exciting and scary venture for any new artist. I should know, I'm still new myself!

I had made a comment on her latest art post and in her response she implied that I should share a story of my own about my show experiences. I don't need much coaxing, so gather 'round the campfire boys and girls because the art show circuit can be an interesting one...

I started doing shows two years ago (see? I am still relatively new) and was like the majority of other artists in that I find social interaction, especially for extended periods of time, to cause indigestion. Over the past two years it's gotten easier and I have to admit that I actually look forward to going to certain shows because I know I'll get to see friends and because, despite the saying, familiarity doesn't always breed contempt. In fact, sometimes it's nice to get that "coming home" feeling after spending lots of time venturing out of one's comfort zone.

Regardless of whether the show is old or new, the one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the number of intersting people I meet and the interesting things that come out of their mouths. One of my favourite things to hear when people come into my booth and look at my art is: "You did this?" To which I politely respond: "Yes." Although what I'd like to say is: "No, it was my evil twin, but because of her potty mouth and tendancy towards violence I have to keep her locked in the basement while I go out and sell her art. You know, to buy her medication and restraints."

I don't say that, but sometimes I'd like to. Especially to the people who suspiciously eyeball me up and down after I tell them that I am, in fact, the artist.

The other thing that I've found amusing at outdoor art shows is the critiquing that happens at the most unexpected times. You know, when someone's dog pees on an artist's work. I've seen this happen more times than I care to recount and while I've always felt that placing artwork on the ground or very close to the ground is a bad idea, apparently it's not a widely shared notion. I've been around dogs my entire life and know that anything valuable or breakable must pass the peeing range and tail wagging height criteria before being secured. As a side note, this is also a useful guideline for avoiding damage from high-speed, ice-cream wielding children.

Another amusing art show experience is the random person you get that 1- wants to talk to everyone and 2- is visibly intoxicated. I've met this random person at almost every outdoor art show I've done and while I'd like to think that they're just really social it's the tell-tale whiff of rum, scotch or beer (maybe all three??) that always gives them away. The most interesting one I've met so far was the fellow who I had the pleasure of speaking with for about an hour and who, despite being very tipsy, managed to pull off successful conversation segways between the Group of Seven, Sesame Street and the politics of the current Canadian government. I'll just let you try and imagine how that conversation went, although in hindsight I can see how he pulled off the segway between a show featuring muppets and the government.

These are only a few tidbits of the fun and frivolity I've experienced at art shows and I suspect there's more to least, I sure hope so! There are lots of interesting experiences and people that can be found at art shows and sometimes you just have to go find them. Then again, sometimes they find you.

Back next week, keep on art-ing!


Meg Lyman said...

Oh, great stories! You tell them hysterically, too. We met the drunk guy after the show, while tearing down. And no dogs... just a girl in a giant catfish suit.

Rita said...

Thanks Meg!
"Random drunk person" is a personal favourite of mine, especially when you get them ranting about something.

Um, can't say I've run into catfish-woman yet, what kind of shows are you going to!? :D

Jennifer Rose said...

"Especially to the people who suspiciously eyeball me up and down after I tell them that I am, in fact, the artist."
I get that a lot :/ :(

I would love to do a show but am scared that I will just lose the power of speech and end up looking like an idiot. One day I will work up the courage *crosses fingers*

At least the drunks are talking instead of throwing up on your art *eww* ;)

Rita said...

You should giving showing a try Jennifer, it's really fun and I love the whole "people watching" aspect to it.
The drunk seemed to be more concerned with yammering on nonsensically rather than tossing his cookies...I can't imagine having to consider a "barf projectile factor" into my set-up on top of the dog and children issue! :p