I had my dominant first string shooter: “Monument Valley Sunset”, and the new players on the team: a half-dozen canvas prints from Sorrento, Italy last year. But I didn’t have “Union”, “Tired”, or the bulk of my fog collection: “Fog 6”, “Twins”, “Into”, “Into Upright.”
My booth contained the leftovers from last year’s Utica Square Art Festival, minus the sales at Stillwater two weeks ago. I have been unable to print new work since October 2013.
My friend Dave who helped me with my printing for nearly the past decade has finally taken a (well-deserved!) full time job — doing the same thing he was doing when self-employed, except now he gets a consistent paycheck. The downside is that his free time has dwindled to a fraction of what it used to be, and he had to put his “Barnlab” on hold. We still get along great, but I have been flying solo all year.
Despite the missing pieces, and the (temporary) inability to create more prints, this show was a pleasant surprise!
Setup – get in, get out
The overall strategy is the same for every artist — set up your booth in the street — but the tactics are wildly different. Some of us have pole tents, some use Ez-Up tents (which strangely haven’t yet collapsed). Some create a wide open booth with carpeted panels, others use the space for folding tables with displays on top. Some people set up by themselves, and others have an entourage of friends and family.
I am curious about one particular tactic — Why leave your vehicle in the street so long when unloading?
Here’s what I do:
- Arrive at the show, and walk to the check-in booth.
- Once I find my booth spot, go get the van and park as close to the booth as possible.
- Quickly unload everything — Just pile it all on the sidewalk behind where the booth would go.
- Move the van. GO!
- Come back and carefully set up the booth.
A lot of other artists seem to save step 4 for the very end. Their process goes like this:
- Arrive at the show and walk to the check-in booth.
- Go get the van / truck / trailer / semi and park it in the middle of the street.
- Shoot the breeze with the neighbors, have a picnic, build some of the booth, chat some more.
- Around sunset, after most of the show has come and gone: move the vehicle.
I mean, you gotta look out for booths trying to come through!
..I’ve seen a lot of things at these shows, but seeing a fully-assembled booth get carried down the length of the show is pretty surreal.
They assigned me the same booth spot as last year — except the weather was back to “normal” — that means hot. (Last year, we had to clear the frost off the outside of our booths before cracking them open.) The crowd was great! Sales were down from last year (which was to be expected with a slim inventory), but still comfortable. Still, the last-minute folks came through and purchased a few images that I had yet to sell up to that point.
For the past few years, I have relied on several photos to bring in sales — the strongest are “Union” and “Tired”, neither of which were available on canvas. It didn’t matter as much as I expected it would. As I get more inventory over the summer (and over the next year), it makes me wonder how much of my existing work I should rotate out.
Sunscreen, Velcro, Salad, Red Bull
Friday: 75F and perfect.
Saturday: 95F and very sunny.
Sunday: 98F with 30mph gusts.
I drove back to Stillwater every night, which ate into my sleeping schedule. I had to take drastic measures to stay conscious.
- “Daang! These are like pictures!”
- “I love the stupid Kansas ones!”
- A mother and daughter stop by, and the mother said how impressed she was with my Monument Valley photo. The daughter, not much older than 4 sees my price label: “That’s too much money!” The mother answers with a half-grin without even looking at her, “You hush, that’s why I left daddy at home..” (That’s the spirit!)
A visitor told me the name of the building in Guthrie where I took my “Power and Light” photo — It’s “The Redbud”! That has been a vague mystery to me until now.