2015 OCCC AFO Recipe – “separate into four pieces, and bake at 100F for 3 days”

How to make your own Arts Festival Oklahoma:

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Ingredients

  • 112 artists
  • 4 baking tents
  • 1 food court (with giant glowing ice cream cone!)
  • 1 stage
  • 1 large artist parking lot
  • 1 large visitor parking lot
  • 20 golf carts
  • hundreds of volunteers
  • (optional, but recommended) Squonk Opera

Directions

Arrange four tents side by side. Place food court, stage, and visitor parking near the tents. Place artist parking lot 1/3 of the way around the campus (approx. 2,000 feet away). Use golf carts to shuttle artists to and fro. Have volunteers bring ice water to artists every 20 minutes.

Heat at 100F for three days.

Serves: 30,000 visitors. Enjoy!

…Anyway :)

The show changed size. Only 112 artists? I vaguely remember this show having upwards of 160 a few times. I also didn’t see any artists on the outside of the big tents — those locations only had vendors.

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The middle is cheaper than a corner spot. I’m being frugal.

The only constant is change

Setup was a bit easier thanks to my latest creation — a long-overdue shelf for my van:

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Until now, I would have to remove everything in order to get to the panels at the bottom. It’s one of those “why the hell didn’t I think of this before” moments, especially since I’ve been doing this for eight years.

Speaking of the panels, I have been using dark panels since time immemorial (aka “April 2008”), and it’s time for a change. My portfolio has been drifting toward more shots with heavy shadows. A friend pointed out that it was difficult to see how my work would look hanging in a living room: “Who has black walls at home?” (well, some people…) And since my work doesn’t have a white mat surrounding the image, lighter-colored panels would help the work stand out.

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This was also the first time I offered 11×14 prints at this show. At $35 each, this is my entry-level item. (To a potter, this is my “line of coffee mugs.”)

Day 1 – The heat was hot, and the ground was hot, and the air was full of hot

I hope that chicken is water cooled

I hope that chicken is water cooled

The weather at this show is like that overly enthusiastic guy who comes by your booth and talks incessantly about absolutely nothing at all, and never gets the hint that you’re not listening. He also brags about how hot he is.

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The day went from 11:00am to 9:00pm. The crowd was pretty much non-existent between 2:00pm and 7:00pm. They knew better than to come out in this crap.

On the plus side, the music by Squonk Opera was great fun! Their stage was like Burning Man without all the sand. (They seem to be in a similar genre as one of my favorite artists Shpongle, which until now, I considered an entire genre with only one artist in it.)

my neighbor

My immediate neighbor Alexa has an interesting story: She’s from Hawaii, creates acrylic paintings of sea turtles (donates 10% of her profits to sea turtle conservation), and for the past 18 months, she and her dog have been touring the mainland in an RV which doubles as her painting studio. She has done an ambitious 60 art shows over that time, and has only a few more shows before heading back home at the end of the year.

She came to Oklahoma in the spring, was immediately welcomed by a tornado, found out that she is allergic to our air (ragweed, corn, something) — and already one day into the OCCC show, she is being chased by a damned drone!

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You can find out more about her work at Alexa’s Makin’ Waves.

Day 2 – Ceiling Fan and Shanty Tent Blanket Fort

As the first day was finishing up, the heat reminded me of another latent idea that was long overdue for pulling the trigger on.

I spent some time on my phone searching for a Lowe’s that was open until 10:00pm. I needed to buy a thing…

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CEILING FAN.

When visitors are comfortable, their wallet becomes more comfortable with the idea of coming out of their pocket.

The next morning, Alexa borrowed a sheet from her neighbor, and we made a blanket fort to shield ourselves from the morning sun. We didn’t need it by mid-afternoon, since we were on the east side of the large tent.

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The morning crowd came and went, and then the police showed up.

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4pm. It would have looked like this anyway

One of the poles on the side came loose, and management didn’t want to take chances. The police evacuated the entire tent while the technical crew re-seated the pole and inspected the entire tent. We were out of service for an hour. Thankfully this occurred at 4:00pm — the noon crowd was long gone, and the evening crowd hadn’t yet worked up the courage to brave the heat.

Day 3 – the sequel to day 2

We had the system figured out: keep the fans going full-blast, re-build the blanket fort, and when a volunteer comes by to pour ice water in your cup and accidentally drops some ice on the ground, just instinctively reach down, grab the ice, and rub it on your face. It feels gooood!

In Conclusion

Sales: Now how the hell did this happen?! Until now, I had never made such great sales at this show. This weekend’s total rivaled those from my larger shows: Edmond, Paseo, Mayfest Blue Dome.

(With skyline photos of OKC instead of Tulsa, I could have likely made a lot more.. I had many many requests. That will be addressed soon.)

In summary, here are the things that could have affected things:

  • Lighter colored panels
  • Ceiling fan
  • Lower price point (last year, my cheapest item was $75, now it’s $35)
  • I only had 2-3 Red Bulls per day, instead of five — meaning I wasn’t as much of a spastic mess.

Grass pattern

We did well!

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I give it a “9”!

A Note on Perspective

Artists generally avoid discussing their exact sales figures. If you ask us how we did at a show, we usually say something vague like, “It went well!” or “eh.. it was kinda flat.” Dollar amounts are pretty meaningless because the same amount means different things to different people. My friend John makes loads of money at some of these shows, but since he has a double booth, and has enough inventory to fill his new Dodge Ram Promaster cargo van, that’s to be expected.

I asked Alexa how she did, and when she told me an exact figure, I felt in all fairness that I should mention mine — I made about $150 less than she did (after accounting for a recent refund). Where I was overly excited with my total number, she was disappointed with hers. Like most artists, we define a “good show” as one where we move several large pieces — but where my large pieces cap off at $350, her original acrylics exceed several thousand. We also have different contexts: This is her sole source of income, and I supplement my art shows with a day job.

Speaking of finances, my art business is doing fine. It sustains itself. It just can’t sustain an employee (me) yet.

Quotes from the show

  • “What’s your favorite color?” “RAINBOWS!”
  • (overheard in another booth) “Thank god. I just had to get up close to make sure it wasn’t photography.”

Off to Wichita!

Posted in Art Festival Reviews

VACATION – May 27 to June 15

I will be out of the country from May 27, 2015 to June 15, 2015.

On the plus side, my portfolio will soon contain photos from the Veneto region of Italy. Cities include: Venice, Verona, Vicenza, Padova.

On the other side, this will cause a delay in shipments for custom orders. All orders placed between today and June 15 will be delayed to June 15.

Thanks for understanding, and I look forward to offering new photographs!

Posted in General Discussion

2015 Paseo Arts Festival – pre-review

What’s the difference between the Paseo Arts Festival, and Kathy’s Market on Paseo?

paseo vs kathysAbout 16 inches.

Booth numbers in green are the Paseo Arts Festival (#75), and the ones in orange (#121) are at Kathy’s show.

Posted in General Discussion

2015 Tulsa Blue Dome Art Festival review – “Blue Doming Stronger Than Ever Before”

I’m glad to be back!

blue dome 2015 - skyline

2015

In 2008, Blue Dome was my third show ever:

third show, but second ez-up

2008: third show, but already my second ez-up tent

The lay of the land, if you’re not familiar with it:

  • Tulsa International Mayfest is the big downtown show (the second-most-popular show in Oklahoma, right behind OKC Festival of the Arts). It is a juried fine art show on Zapp which brings in artists from all over the country.
  • The Blue Dome Arts Festival is four blocks away in the Blue Dome District. It is geared toward Oklahoma artists and craftspeople; and if it has a jury at all, it’s very loose. The neighborhood gets its name and character from the blue-domed former Gulf Oil gas station on the corner of 2nd and Elgin — This stretch of 2nd Street through downtown Tulsa is also known by its much more historic name: Route 66.

I knew I wasn’t ready for Mayfest when I started so long ago, but it still sparkled in the distance, offering the promise of untold fame and fortune. Blue Dome seemed to be a stepping stone for those on the way to the big show. I applied to Mayfest in 2009, received the inevitable rejection letter, and settled on Blue Dome. In 2010, same thing — did the little show again. It wasn’t until 2011 when Mayfest said “yes!” I was over the moon, and didn’t look back! I marched in, holding my head up high like a kid strutting into middle school for the first time.

I haven’t done Blue Dome in five years.

During my tenure at Mayfest, I was sitting pretty up on the perch, reveling at the rumors of how “the beginners over at Blue Dome are losing ez-up tents right and left because of the intense 12 mph gusts.” (Yeah, it is a requirement that your tent take flight at least once in order for you to progress. That’s how *I* learned.) </smug>

Last year, I didn’t do either show. My friends’ annual trip to Italy was moved up to mid-May, and I was met with the decision: Should I do Mayfest or go to Italy? …uhh, that didn’t take long to figure out. Mayfest happens every year, it can wait.

So, this year…

I discussed with my friends the option of going to Italy in June so I could go back to Mayfest, make bank, and further refine my Scrooge McDuck impersonation. There was a little reluctance (Italy is warmer in June, and the airline tickets are probably more expensive), but we reconciled.

Yay! Both Mayfest AND Italy this year! And the minute the Mayfest application showed up on Zapp, BAM! I pay the $35, and impatiently wait for the confirmation email.

Fast-forward to late February — Email from Mayfest! OPEN OPEN OPEN…

mayfest-alternate

Uh, what. That wasn’t supposed to happen. That’s the “you’re not good enough” email, and it’s supposed to go to someone else.

Nope, I didn’t get in. I just inconvenienced several of my closest friends for nothing. It’s too late to move the Italy trip back to the middle of May; we already bought the tickets and reserved the apartment. What was I to do for this now-empty weekend? That little show next door?? I’m not a beginner anymore, I wanna go play with the big kids!

(Alright.. Calm down.) I started recalling that first year of art festivals, especially that energetic feeling of, “I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, but I really appreciate that people like my work!” There is a peculiar relaxed atmosphere to Blue Dome; a lack of urgency. And when that is combined with a healthy respect for the creative process, you’ve got magic. Mayfest on the other hand can be so busy that it feels like a day job (especially dealing with the crush-level crowd on Saturday). If Mayfest feels like going to work, then Blue Dome is like going to a friend’s back yard —

— assuming your friend invites over local musicians, has an array of art cars, walks on stilts, wears tie-died underwear, has nose piercings, and gets along with all their other neighbors.

heck, he might even drive a rat car, dropping potatoes behind him! (Blue Dome 2009)

heck, he might even drive a rat (Blue Dome 2009)

You can’t argue with the power of that.

I apply, get in touch, they get in touch, and we get in touch

THE GOOD: The Blue Dome Arts Festival application process is turbo easy. They’re not on Zapp, but unlike several years ago, you don’t have to mail anything. Just hop on http://bluedomearts.org/ and go from there. The other convenient part is that their application is still open after Mayfest sends out their rejection letters! (..I think they do that on purpose)

Another good: They are under new management — even better than before! They ramped up their marketing. They have a consistent look across their website, their emails, and mailings.

THE (potentially) BAD: This doesn’t seem to be a juried show. It’s first-come first-serve. If you made some stuff, have a tent, a folding table, and can tolerate sitting in the street for three days, you’re in. Heck, I vaguely remember a toggle button on the application that asked something to the effect of, “Do you make what you are selling (Yes/No)?” It’s puzzling that it’s even a question. Hopefully the “No” button closes the browser window.

The (potentially) UGLY: In their latest email one week before the show, they are proud to announce that the show has upwards of 250 artists. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY. For the lack of a better phrase: What the F?! What used to be the tiny craft show down the hill is now twice the size of Mayfest.

..more powerful than you can possibly imagine

The last time I did such an enormous show was Tucson in 2009 — that damned thing had 400 booths, was 3/4 of a mile long, and my only sales were two small prints to a few (possibly) distant cousins that my mother was chatting with over a genealogy site.

Damn, I inconvenienced my friends so I could not only do a satellite show, but go disappear in the massive crowd of booths.

Set up – Friday morning

Mayfest is the weird show — not because it’s waving the weird flag, but rather because it isn’t

Check-in was at the Blue Dome itself, and that alone has class to it. Just walking into the Blue Dome building made me feel like I was doing something important for the community.

So here we are, back at Blue Dome five years later. I walked around the block and stood across the street from Joe Momma’s Pizza — where my booth was in 2008. All that excitement from my first year came rushing back. (raindrop.) It was a meditative state akin to the last few seconds of the final Mad Men episode, and I felt like I was on the cusp of creating something magnificent. (drop drop) I soaked up the environment, and came to the realization that this was no longer the little hippy show that I did so long ago (drop drop drop), this place grew up as much as I did. I felt at peace. From the Blue Dome point of view, Mayfest is the weird show — not because it’s waving the weird flag, but rather because it isn’t.

dropdropdropdrop “..ah, crap, Jason! get out of your head! It’s raining and you haven’t yet begun to start setting up your booth!” Thankfully the street had proper drainage. And management allowed us to park right next to our spots to unload.

The next thing to hit was the smell of patchouli and sandalwood trying desperately to cover the pot smell. (..folks are blue doming this early in the morning? it’s all good though. I’m the one who’s on their turf.)

 

Blue Doming hard, coming on strong!

 

The character of the show: It’s all about local artists, and most have homemade crafts. Since this is likely a part-time side project for most of the attendees, the most elaborate tent arrangement might involve simple decorations on their ez-up. Granted, it might be a tie-dyed embroidered awning made of fair trade, no-conflict materials; but this place is an ocean of ez-up tents. With my Light Dome canopy and Pro Panels, it’s an understatement to say that I stood out.

The rain let up just as the show was starting, and we are all so thankful that the weather forecast was wrong! However, the wind remained.

The neighbor to my left was Natalie Large, a local mixed-media artist — and this was her very first outdoor art show. She was displaying her work on easels, and had an ezup-style pop-up tent with only one sandbag for weights. Every time a wind gust came through, her booth moved and changed shape. Within hours, she packed up the easels and used zip ties to attach her work to the tent legs. Those pieces wouldn’t fall over as much, but by only being attached to a pole, they would spin halfway around.

Natalie's artwork going for a spin

Natalie’s artwork going for a spin, doubling as my door

By the end of the show, her booth had shifted two feet forward, and she was totally exhausted at having to spend all day holding everything together. It kept reminding me of my first year of art shows, so I wanted to pay it forward and help out where I could — I offered to roll up the side of my tent and allow her to hang her pieces on the other side of my panels. (I had plenty of velcro hooks.) She was so appreciative that she gave me a bottle of wine. (She owns a local wine distributor; good person to know!)

By the second day, I sold out of a few images: all my copies of “Tulsa Electric” (the PSO station) — which I was left showing people a thumbnail of on my phone — and I only had the canvas copy of “Union Vista” (OSU campus).

Here’s where I post my interview with the Tulsa World.

chin out and down makes you look thinner.. I wasn't watching.

chin out and down makes you look thinner.. I wasn’t watching.

Sales so far: Absurdly exceeding expectations. I not only made twice as much as I ever had at Blue Dome (5+ years ago), but I exceeded my highest Mayfest sales. This is within spitting distance of my highest sales ever (Edmond Art Festival 2012).

Saturday Evening — Local Artists Collectively Take Structural Engineering Test

This is when we’re reminded of which state we live in.

Earlier, a 3/4-mile wide tornado was barnstorming just outside Altus (in southwest Oklahoma), and that exact storm cell decided on a full-sprint toward Tulsa at 45mph. ETA: 9:00pm.

PUCKER FACTOR 9. BRACE YOURSELF. BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES, CAUSE IT’S COMING.

We got the weather report around 7:00pm, and within minutes, large swaths of the show (including my immediate neighbors) started to tear down their booths. Tension was in the air. Some people would hunker down, and reduce their tent to half height, others would clear out completely. Rumors circulated like tornado debris, “the wind would be 40mph? I heard it’s gonna be upwards of 60! I’m out!”

Thanks to the Edmond Art Festival back in 2011, I know my booth can take 40mph winds. Anything more than that and I can’t guarantee that it won’t take flight and blast itself through a nearby shop window. It takes three hours to completely dismantle this tent and pack it safely in the van, and with the storm two hours away, a complete tear-down was not an option. It had to weather the storm. (This is one advantage of using an Ez-Up canopy: it’s “Ez-Down” …whether you want it to or not.) My neighbors to the right had small cinder blocks and sandbags, and they donated them to me. On the left, Natalie took everything. She had enough of this wind! (and I don’t blame her.)

The show had turned into a Structural Engineering test. My thought process for passing the midterm: Leverage the power of triangles. If you want to reinforce pretty much anything, a good rule of thumb is to use as many 45-degree angles as you can.

During any show, I usually have 15-foot straps crissrossing the left and right side walls. I didn’t have them up on the left so Natalie could use that wall, but I had them on the right and back. I had four more straps — that’s enough for left and front, covering all sides of the tent.

ratchet straps everywhere!

ratchet straps everywhere!

Most of the show remained

Most of the show remained

I’m sorry to leave you. Hold together, buddy!

it looks upset.

it looks upset.

Welp…

I spent half the night rehearsing the phone call to my insurance company

Insurance is just a good idea, even when there’s not a tornado coming. I use ACT Insurance — it’s designed specifically for art festival artists. $39 per show, or $265 for a whole year. I haven’t had to file a claim, but I know that if I went a year without insurance, it would just be my luck that that’s when everything would go to crap.

Saturday’s tornado went through the southeast suburb of Broken Arrow.

1:07am, we got this email from the director (emphasis mine):

Hi Artists – 

While the weather yesterday and today was amazing, the storm tonight was fairly brutal. While we tried to talk to every vendor about the incoming wind and rain, some had already packed up. So… I just wanted to send out an update to let you know that the storm did some damage to quite a few tents. Chris and I, along with Price Jones and his wife Melissa, as well as Cornelius and our TPD officers tried to save as many tents as possible. The majority of the damages were due to heavy fast rain as the tents collected so much water so fast that many collapsed. We got into a lot of your tents to push water out from pooling rooftops and were able to save a high amount from either having no damage, or seriously reducing it. It’s been a very long and wet night here in the Blue Dome, but I would encourage you to arrive early tomorrow to assess your situation. 

The weather looks great for tomorrow. Please bring your optimism as we will all be dealing with a lot tomorrow. And please remember that this is due to an Oklahoma spring and weather that cannot be controlled by any of us. We will see you in the morning and are here to help each of you as best we can! 

Thank You,

Jo Armstrong 

That just set them apart from every other show I have ever done. Management and volunteers ran around in the heavy rain trying to save tents? WOW. That is love. Thank you, Jo!

There was no word about any specific tent, so my creative mind imagined what kind of twisted mess would result from my over-tightening everything on my tent. Would the canopy torque and twist? Was it wound up so tight that it simply exploded?

Here’s what I found the next morning:

 

HOLY CRAP.

Let’s review, shall we?

count the triangles, include the ceiling.

count the triangles, include the ceiling.

  • ratchet straps, vertical from ceiling to weights (70lbs each, not including the donated weights)
  • ratchet straps, angled from corner to corner, every corner.
  • three-foot double-sided velcro wrapping the the corners of the panels to the tops of the tent legs
  • Propanel tent hooks, from the top of each panel to the tent frame
  • Propanel support bars, short bars at 45 degrees in each corner, and long bars across the booth
  • ..extra weight, kindly donated from neighbors (and it was all returned the next morning)

….aaaand breathe. Day three

No wind, and only a little humid.

Most of the show recovered well from the storm.

sadly, the volunteers couldn’t get to all of them

The sales didn’t hold a candle to the first two days. Still, completely awesome experience all around.

I’m convinced that this isn’t the “Mayfest crowd”, it’s just “the crowd” and they’re here to see both shows.

Will I bother applying to Mayfest next year, or just jump into Blue Dome? Hrmm… Each show has its own flavor! :)

Quotes and things:

  • “Wave your freak flag here, and we’ll wave our funk flag on the other side! freak and funk, y’all!”

 

Posted in Art Festival Reviews

2015 Lawton Arts For All Festival review – “Prepare for the particularly powerful pitter-patter of precipitation on a plastic porta potty.”

lawton-2015 - toilets

It started with a squeak

I nearly bailed on this show… again.

Timeline of the run-up to Lawton:

Sunday: After my parents helped me dismantle my booth at the Edmond Art Festival, I took them out to eat. (It’s what we do!) The mostly-empty Mazzio’s parking lot gave me ample space drive around while my parents listened for the intermittent squeak coming from the back-right wheel. It didn’t take long for us to settle on the conclusion that the brakes sprouted their own back up band to play along with the symphonic resonance of the rest of my van. (I’ll take it in tomorrow.)

Monday: Hello, I have a 2004 Toyota Sienna with an accelerating squeak coming from the back right. “Today is booked, but we’ll be ready to see it tomorrow.”

Tuesday (Lunch): Here it is in all its squeaky glory! “We’ll let you know what we find out.”

Tuesday (2:30pm, phone call interrupting a meeting at work): “Jason, we got your squeak fixed, but you need to come here and see something else we found.”

Tuesday (5:30pm): Hrm. This might just be what seven years of art festivals will do to a minivan:

…notice how the wheel shifts forward and back? The whole front end assembly is trying to separate from the rest of the chassis. Without much effort, it could result in the front end of the van collapsing in on itself. At speed, that could be deadly.

  • Technician: “We don’t recommend you driving it. And as a trade-in, we would take the blue book value and deduct the cost of repair.”
  • Me: What cost are we looking at?
  • “Around $1,600.”
  • ETA?
  • “If we order the part today, it won’t be here until Thursday morning. We should have it finished Thursday afternoon.”
  • (briefly imagining a van-load of art stuff flipping and rolling sideways down I-44 on the way to Lawton…) Let’s do it.

Wednesday: http://www.news9.com/category/299908/may-6-tornado-coverage

Thursday (9:30am): “Jason, we apologize for the delay, but due to the tornadoes between here and Dallas, the part for your repair will not arrive until mid-Friday.” (I was considering leaving for Lawton on Thursday afternoon, but without a van until Friday afternoon, I would end up missing the first day of the show — again.) Do you guys have a loaner van? “Sorry, we only loan cars and small SUVs. No vans or trucks.”

Pack up

Thursday (noon): They loan me a car. It’s a snazzy little Rav4, but it’s nowhere near big enough for my booth.

Thursday (5:30pm): The weather forecast for the weekend: severe thunderstorms 80% Friday, 80% Saturday, 60% Sunday.

lawton-2015-rain

..and 0% right when the show is over

Thursday (5:35pm): Pace around the living room hemming and hawing about the pros and cons of doing the show. Even in perfect weather, my sales figures have been substandard every year I’ve done this (since 2009.) As of 5:45pm, it’s about to start pouring ran for a solid hour. Either I pack up now, or stay home all weekend.

  • I call John Kennington to see if he’s doing the show. He was already outside, packed up ready to go!
  • I call Kris Gill, the Festival Chairperson. She said 9 people have already canceled because of the weather. We unfortunately don’t have an indoor location, but we are still enthusiastic about it! The show must go on! (That’s wonderful, her attitude really helped my decision.)

Between John’s and Kris’ enthusiasm, I decide to go for it.

  • Load up art and booth in my parents’ van, offering them the loaner.
  • Leave this at home: lights and batteries. If the place will be a mud pit, there’s no need to risk bringing anything electric.
  • Bring the tarp!

Host Family

(rewind back to February when I filled out the application.)

The application for this show has always had this question: “Would you be interested in staying with a host family?”

For every year that I’ve done this show, my brain has resorted to excuses like, “What’s this all about? Just show up to a total stranger’s house, sleep in one of their rooms, hope they’re interested in art, hope they’re night people and can tolerate me coming back from the show at 9:30pm, and hope they’re not standoffish and are actually interested in this total stranger coming to their house?”

I finally got curious. (..and it looked like a great opportunity to save the $200 that I would otherwise spend on a hotel. At this show, that could mean the difference between making or losing money.)

Two weeks before the show, I get a call from one of the volunteers. She gives me the name and contact info for Nancy and Terry Anderson — long time friends of Kris, and “all around great people!” And yes, I could write an entire blog post devoted to them. They are fantastic, even if I’m not there to do a show!

Set up – day 1 – think “rain”

Before I could even unload a single box, I chatted with fellow photographer Randy Napier — the tenth artist to cancel. (But even though he canceled, he spent the entire weekend walking the show chatting with everybody!) He canceled because he didn’t want to risk losing his booth before he could get to the much bigger show next week: Tulsa Mayfest.

to keep it from turning into Woodstock 94

tarp, to keep it from turning into the mud pit from Woodstock 94

From the ground up: tarp, tent stakes, ratchet straps, tent, clamps, roof.. and artwork somewhere inbetween.

the work of a paranoid person.

the work of a paranoid person.

3:55pm — Done!

The show – day 1.5

On Friday, this show goes from 4pm to 8pm. Kinda wonky hours, but it makes sense — wain until everyone gets out of work.

That was the plan at least. A big scary cloud brought intense rain, and the show was closed by 6:30pm (caution: loud video) —

I took all my artwork down and stored it in the van. If the tent got blown to Chickasha, then I’d call ACT Insurance and say, “hey y’all, time to help me get a new tent, k thanks bye@!” Insurance is cool like that.

Anyway, off to Nancy and Terry’s place for dinner and wine. We hit it off immediately: Nancy used to be the director of the Leslie Powell art gallery, and Terry works for the local NPR station. He also has experience with Ellucian Banner, which I am being trained on at my day job. (…Gah, I go all this way, and I still can’t escape Banner!)

Sleep: about 1:00am, after we chat about art, get blitzed on wine, and microwave a bar of ivory soap just for the hell of it.

would I lie to you??

Wake up around 7:30 — I have a light breakfast, make coffee with a Jar of Nothing (splenda), and head off to the show.

lawton-2015 - nothing

Day 2 – Wash, rinse, repeat

The ground is a well-soaked sponge covered in a smattering of new waterways and bales of hay. Yes, they brought in hay (straw, or grass, or something.. I dunno, I’m just a photographer) to help with the muddy mess.

The weather was nuts: It was sunny for two hours, and rain to beat all hell for 30 minutes. Then sunny for two hours, and torrential rain for 30 more minutes.

But the dynamics of the crowd was even more interesting: every time it rained, the crowd utterly disappeared. But when it stopped raining, the crowd re-appeared within seconds! Where the hell did they go?? They could have ducked into the booths, but with all the missing artists, I don’t think we had that many places for them to hide. ’tis a mystery.

..then it rained again. and again.

every day I'm sump-pumpin'

every day I’m sump-pumpin’

and again.

Back to Nancy and Terry’s place, just in time to see the storm lift and grant us a gift from the heavens!

what does it mean??

what does it mean??

..stayed up until 1:00am again chatting about.. something, I forget :)

Day 3 – LEEEEET THE SUNSHINE IN!

did you actually take that pitcher?

The previous two days were like a pressure cooker with the lid mashed down. It finally blew off, and the crowd was like beans sticking to a popcorn ceiling. The crowd came out in droves, and the last time I made bank like that at this show was back in 2009!

(..which ain’t saying much. I made more at Stillwater this year.) But still! Finally! I exceeded my expenses at this show for the first time in six years!

 

Observations

the show gave us free cups

the show gave us free cups

This is the Lawton way!

Quotes from the show

  • “Did you take these yourself?” (Only if you don’t count the team of professionals that I paid to hold up the end of my massive lens.)
  • “You painted all these?” (..nah, some of them painted themselves.)
  • “How much are these?” Prices are posted next to most of them. I apologize for the ones that don’t have price labels.
    “…So these are just photographs printed onto canvas?” Yes.
    “And you’re charging $300 for this one?” Yes.
    <poof and gone>

And, wow. It was broke:

Posted in Art Festival Reviews