Survived the Show

my artwork at 2016 St. Paul Art CrawlSo, I survived the art crawl.  And I’m not crashing as expected, so that’s great.

Still, it’s another nail in the coffin, finance-wise.  Covered my show expenses, but that’s it.  Not a good show.  If I don’t get in the fall local outdoor show, this might be the last one.

I watched dozens of people stop across the room and point at my work, then come closer.  Or pull their companion over to look and comment on it.  Lots of smiles.  I gave out a pile of business cards and answered commission questions.  I think two of them may actually call to commission work.  Someone said they want to buy something “as soon as they’re employed again” — and boy, can I sympathize.  Another person said he “might come back for that painting … and maybe that one.”  (Of course, he didn’t.  Then again, the odd security guy I didn’t think would come back for two teeny watercolor seascapes did come back on the last day…)

My point is, I got great feedback from customers, passers-by, and other artists.  They like my work, think it’s very good, and unique enough.  Some responded to the nudes, a few to the dance-themed pieces, and many, many people to the animals.  My prices seem to be in-line with other painters.  (Or even a tad low, but I’m really trying to move some of these pieces!)  Unlike the fall crawl, this time I saw many people walking around with purchased art.  They just weren’t buying my art.

It’s such a tough nut to crack.  I’m trying very hard not to take it personally, or feel like a failure (“they say they like it, but why don’t they want it?!”).  If we had the luxury, I could do more market research, try a few more things… but we don’t.  Bad shows and a few sparse months have given me a beating.  And really, we need cash-in, and soon: hospital bills going to collections, a sprinkler line leak, a blown tire, less tax back than we thought we’d get, and oh, yeah, we’ve basically eaten through our safety net.  You’d think we were approaching thirty, not the mid-century mark. That plus our combined health issues means we just can’t mess around like this anymore.

So.  I’m trying to convince myself I was lucky to have an opportunity to try this experiment after I lost my long-term design job.  It’s true; not everybody gets that chance.   I’m trying to tell myself even if I can’t/won’t go back to the physical strain of a full-time high-stress (and discriminatory) corporate design job, I have other employable skills.  At least I hope so.  I hope I can convince someone else in an interview.

And in the meantime, I still have a few small commissions trickling in, so at least somebody wants my work, right?

Okay, picking myself up.  Again.

I ain’t strong yet, but I hope to fake it.

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