Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Panoramic series Take 7

Pano 7

Panoramic series Take 6

OK, OK,'s been awhile since I've given you an update on my art festival ramblings. I've missed a few show reports, but I promise to give a complete (albeit, not in order) synopsis of the season once I return from my semi annual trip to the festivals in Tempe & Tucson AZ. I'll be retuning home the week before Christmas.

I did however, complete the last of my indoor shows this past weekend in Spokane Washington. It was the season finally of the Custer Arts & Crafts shows held both in Spokane and Pasco WA. and I'm happy to report that at least for reasonably priced art, sales were on par or even a little better than last year. I'm not going to say that the bad economy didn't hurt some artists sales, but the general consensus was positive from those artists I spoke with.

Well, it's time to spend a week with my wife and daughter who is home from college for the Thanksgiving holiday then off to sunny Arizona for my last two shows of the year.

Pano 6

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Panoramic series Take 2

As a digital artist that has made his entire income from creating and selling fractal prints for years, I sometimes find myself concentrating on the business side of my art career more than the creative side. That easy easy to do when you travel too and sell at nearly 30 art festivals a year. Combine that with keeping both a website which contains an online store as well as this blog and numerous online web galleries current and you can see that unfortunately, creating art often takes a back seat.

That trend took a turn last weekend while I was at a show in Pasco Washington. It was a 3 day affair, set up in an indoor area. Long hours and periods of time when the customer count was slow allowed me to finalize some new pieces I've been working sporadically on for some time. I'll be posting these panoramic designs over the next few days.

Pano 2

Friday, November 14, 2008

New panorama series

On top of having an insane traveling schedule for all of the art festivals I go to, I've been working on a new panorama series of fractals. It's been a long time coming, but I was finally able to locate clip frames that will fit my new panorama series. I will be adding them to my store ASAP in 12"x36" & 8"x24" sizes.

Pano 1

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Boise, ID Art in the Park

One of the highlights of my art festival year is Art in the Park held at Julia Davis Park in Boise ID. Not only is it in my home state of Idaho, albeit 550 miles south of where I live in the northern panhandle, but it’s also one of more professionally run festivals on the circuit.

For those of you researching shows to do and are adverse to paying out a 20% commission based on your total gross sales for your booth fee, stop reading now because that is the case with this show. However if this steep booth fee isn’t a roadblock for you, I think you’ll find Boise’s Art in the Park both a financially as well as fun show to do.

One gripe many traveling artist have about particular shows is how hard set-up and teardown are. Even though close proximity parking to your booth is nearly non-existent, this festival has arranged with the Boise City Parks Department to donate their employees as well as dozens of small ATV/tractors to actually move all of you equipment and art right to your booth location. In the 30 shows I do every year this is the only arrangement of its kind I ever found. This is a huge plus in my book if you ask me.

Weather as always can make or break a show but for the second week in a row (knock on wood), we were presented with perfect temps and gentle breezes. I could get used to this ☺

Another amenity found at Boise is the wonderful artist reception dinner held after the show is closed to the public Friday evening. Free adult beverages as well as a meat eaters AND vegetarian buffet made for a great reward for the long hours of sales. Speaking of hours they were (for this year anyway) 10-8 Friday & Saturday and 10- 5 on Sunday. Ample time to conduct the volume of sales this show always seems to have. During this dinner booth awards are announced. As always, there seems to be those who complain about how these awards are judged and this show was no different. Both awards were given to Boise locals, which brought up murmurs of prejudicial treatment but in my opinion these artists were deserving.

The director offers special overnight parking permits for those who plan on staying in their RV but be sure to ask for it.

The estimated crowd of 250,000 people over this 3-day event offers the 265 artists plenty of potential customers to work with. Although a few of the artists I spoke with said their sales were down from last year, many, including myself had record sales for this show. So I think those with off sales were more a reflection on what they were showing more than a poor economy.

I love this show and as long as I’m invited to attend I always keep it on my schedule.

Booth fee – 20% of gross sales
Cost of sales ratio – B
Hours of operation – B+ (10AM to 8 PM)
Location – A
Event staff A
Overall grade A-

Art in the Park

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Swiss Days

Let me start off saying that I’ll be reporting on the last 5 shows I’ve done a little out of order. I want to get the posts that are the most fresh in my mind out now and I’ll fill in reports on Billings, MT. - Boseman, MT – and a second show in Whitefish, MT as time allows.

I’ve been doing this show (Swiss Days) for the past 6 years and as long as I keep getting juried in, I’ll continue to make the long drive south to attend.

Swiss Days is a great community event for the town of Midway, Utah. It’s not only an arts & crafts show (emphasis heavy on the craft side) but the residents also come out for the parade, barbeque and music. This show is always held on Labor Day weekend in the little town south east of Park City, UT. When I first did this show, I was a little concerned about it’s remote location. The booth fee was high for a two-day show and this, coupled by how far away from a major population center it was worried me. An hour into the show, all my concerns over attendance was dispelled. The directors report 75,000 in attendance, which seems very accurate.

Because this show is held on LDS church grounds, the event starts on Friday and finished up on Saturday. Unusual for a 2-day show but it works for Swiss Days. Fridays are always slammed and in fact if you aren’t ready at least and hour before the official start time of 8 AM you’ll miss a great opportunity to catch the early arrivers.

As I stated before, the festival is highly slanted towards country crafts. Out of the approximately 200 booths, there are only 12 or so flat artists. Bizarre I know but it works for the show. I’ve been lucky enough over the years to be included in this small group and my sales are buoyed by the lack of choices for shoppers of wall art. That is unless you include the many wooden country craft type signs makers that seem to be everywhere.

This ratio mix obviously works for Swiss Days or they wouldn’t have been around for the decades they have.

Weather is always touch and go for this event. You’re on the backside of Park City ski resort so prepare for all types of weather conditions. I’ve seen searing heat into the low 100’s as well as sleety snow so be fore warned. This year had the best weather I can remember, mid 80’s with a slight breeze, perfect.

It seems that my trend of higher sales is still continuing (knock on wood) and Swiss Days was no exception. I was up 25% over 2007, which blows my mind considering how conservative this area, and state is and the abstract art I create. Go figure.

Swiss Days

Booth fee - $675.00
Cost of sales ratio – A
Hours of operation – B (8 AM to 8 PM)
Location – B (would have been an A if it were so freaking far away
Event staff A- (a little uptight over small things)
Overall grade A-

I'm trying

OK, I admit it. Keeping a current blog journal is way more work for me than I ever expected. When I started this blog in January of this year I was on my winter break and I had an abundant amount of time on my hands.

Traveling to art festivals every weekend has limited the amount of free time I have to blog and for that, I’m sorry. Between getting ready for the show, driving to far away places, setting up my booth, maintaining the always hectic pace of meeting and greeting prospective clients, closing sales, tearing down my both, driving back home and starting all over again for the next weekend has become maddening, but I love it.

So I’m trying to figure out a way to squeeze in regular posts. Suggestions are gladly accepted.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Whitefish, MT

Most often I show at large art festivals that are attended by thousands if not hundreds of thousands of visitors. The science of selling art at these larger venues distills itself down to a shear numbers game. The more people walking by your booth the better chance you have at catching an interested eye and making a sale.

I, like other traveling artists have found it necessary to forgo cris-crossing the country to attend these larger shows because of the ever-escalating cost of travel expenses, namely gas. When gas was closer to $2.00 per gallon instead of over $4.00, I didn’t hesitate driving to a show say in Seattle, then traveling to Denver the following weekend and then back to California the next. I just followed the “A” list of shows.

With the reality of high gas prices, I’ve been forced into looking closer to home for places to sell my art. That’s not to say I don’t still travel to far off festivals, I do, but whenever possible I like to plug in something a little closer to home instead of taking the big gamble on a show thousands of miles from home base.

That was the case with this years 4th of July weekend. I booked a show in Whitefish, MT that is an idyllic little town that bills itself as the gateway to Glacier National Park. This show is a perfect, “tourist” destination show. Many people who came through were in town for both the 4th’s festivities as well as visitors to the park. For the artist, this is a great combination to look for when booking shows. Happy vacationers with spendable income.

For the most part the weather was fine but you must always be on the ready for afternoon thunderstorms when doing Montana shows. There is a better than average chance one will find you, be forewarned! We were lucky because just 10 miles away a monster of a storm hit and closed down the Kalispell airport for the duration of the storm. Imagine those forces hitting a hundred white tents, not a pretty site.

Sales were remarkable for such a small crowd. I didn’t hear one other artist complain about lack of interest or sales.

If I had one piece of advice to the show promoters it would be to make this a 2-day show instead of spreading the already small crowd over 3 days. People are in town anyway and it’s my opinion that with proper advertising the same amount of people would attend and our costs as artists would go down.

If you want to check out a small but profitable show and want to spend a few days in Glacier park to boot, look into this Whitefish, MT festival.

Cost to sales ratio A-
Location A++
Overall grade A

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fremont Fair

What a trip!!!

I’ve heard about the infamous Fremont Street Fair held in Seattle on the 3rd weekend of June for years, but I was always too caught up with attending another Seattle Venue that same weekend to even give Fremont a fair look. This year I gave it more than a look, I jumped in head first and forever more will be a supporter of this festival.

If you are looking for an up tight museum quality art festival don’t think Fremont. But if you are willing to experiment with a new venue and are not intimidated by massive crowds, many of which just finished participating the world famous NAKED BIKE PARADE, you have to check out this fair. How many festivals do you know of that actively encourage you to get naked, paint and decorate your body to coincide with that years theme and then ride your bike down the main street in your birthday suit? Very cool and very Seattle.

Sales wise I did way better than expected. From previous posts, you know my feelings on mixing artists with the buy/sell crowd selling imported items they bought instead of making themselves, so beware. This show is full of them. But somehow it works in Fremont.

Overall quality of art- C-
Sales- B
Uniqueness- A+++

Fremont Fair

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Spokane ArtFest

A little late in posting because of my insane festival schedule that should not be attempted by any artist, which is faint at heart.

For this show I had fabulous weather, relatively easy load in, great booth neighbors and way above average sales. What more could I ask for. Once again, as years past, the after hours music and adult refreshments were top notch. It’s always great to catch up with other artists in a relaxed atmosphere with no customers around to interfere. This after show time is perfect for that.

Most other artists I talked with had similar reports as mind with the exception of one painter who was asked by the show director to remove his reproductions from his booth and only show his originals. It seems that another artist with a similar style (who was most likely having a bad show) complained to the promoter who was then forced into doing something about it.

Some shows adhere to a fairly strict policy of making the artist limit their reproductions to a rather small portion of all the art in their booth. The thinking here is so not to confuse the public into thinking a repo is an original. Signage and pricing on each print takes care of this abjection but some shows use this clause as a way of maintaining a high percentage of hard to sell originals vs. affordable prints. This policy is something I completely disagree with. No one wins here. The buyer, although they admire and might want to buy an artists work may not be able to afford the original but would be more than happy owning a print. The artist misses out on the sale and the show director loses that artist from re-applying to their future shows because of lack of sales.

Because I’ve done this show for the past 4 yeas I’ve built up a rather nice collector base in the area. It’s always a pleasure to have someone walk into your booth and announce “they’re back for more.”

All and all, I give the 2008 Spokane ArtFest a B+.

Spokane ArtFest

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mandala 32

Here is the 32nd piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 32

Mandala 31

Here is the 31st piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 31

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mandala 30

Here is the 30th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 30

Mandala 29

Here is the 29th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 29

Mandala 28

Here is the 28th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 28

U District

I’ve attended many street festivals in my career as a traveling artist. Most offer the benefits of a large crowd of interested people who are willing to be exposed to your art. As the name implies, street festivals are usually held on the main street of the hosting town.

Many of these fairs are set in urban areas and offer both the amenities as well as the drawbacks of large cities. The University District Street Fair in the Seattle is one of these shows. This festival typically is held in the middle of May each year, which brings the possibility of un-settled weather and rain that most Seattleites are accustomed to. This year however, the weather was beautiful, in fact, too beautiful. 94 degree temperatures were the norm for this years fair and most people living in the Pacific Northwest aren’t used to this high a temperature this early in the year. So complaints about the rain were replaced with complaints about how hot it was.

No amount of complaining though cold has put a damper on the festivities. From the great selection of food booths to the eclectic music offerings held on two main stages both days of the show, everyone had something to do to keep themselves smiling.

Now, a bit on the reason why I attend this fair, the art. With over 300 booths containing nearly every conceivable form of art, this show seems to have something for everyone. This was my 6th year doing the show and I’m sad to say that the amount of commercial or “buy/sell” art has appeared to have taken over the show. When I first started doing this street fair, the promoters tried to keep non-artist produced art in the southern most section of University Ave. That way, customers wanting cheap imports knew where to go and those wanting to support the attending artists knew where NOT to go.

The past few years have seen a convergence of both the “buy/sell” vendors and artists that created their own works, which gives the show a bizarre flea market, feel. I’m uncertain whether this has become a financial necessity for the promoters to sell more booths or a oversight but unless this stops, the U District Street Fair will become just another Saturday market and not an art show like it purports itself to be.

I really hope they (the directors) get the message because I for one love the fair, the city of Seattle and the diversity of the crowd and want to continue to support it as an art festival. If it continues on this track though I’ll really have to reconsider it.

All of that aside, I had a great show and made an above average amount of sales and money this year. Which would be hard not to with 50,000 plus people walking by my booth.

The University District Street Fair

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mandala 27

Here is the 27th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 27

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mandala 26

Here is the 26th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 26

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mandala 25

Here is the 25th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 25

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mandala 24

Here is the 24 th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 24

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

IndyGreen Interview

I rarely give interviews solicited from people or websites I don't know. The reason is that I value what I have to offer and want my opinions to be published in a way that I'm sure the content is factual. I answered a few questions regarding my art and lifestyle to a new zine called IndyGreen and if you'd like to take a peak check it out here.

Mandala 23

Here is the 23rd piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 23

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A profound experience

Once again I was able to attend one of my favorite festivals of the year last weekend, the Moscow Renaissance Fair. This was their 35th annual fair celebrating the arrival of spring.

Nearly 150 fine arts and craft artists fill East City Park, which is, located just a few blocks from downtown. Moscow, ID is home to the University of Idaho. Being a college town fulfills one of the criteria of mine when selecting shows that I want to apply to. Although a younger, college age audience usually makes up the majority of those who attend this show; it also attracts all age levels from kids to senior citizens.

The promoters of “the Ren Fair” have worked hard to keep this festival a community and artists funded affair and so far have taken no assistance from corporate sponsorships. They are also incredibly proud of the fact that 89% of all of the garbage that is created by the tens of thousands of visitors to this fair is recycled or composted. Very cool indeed.

In the hundreds of shows I’ve done and the thousands of customers that have purchased pieces of art from me, I have never had a more profound experience and interaction with a customer like I had on Sunday at this show.

A gentleman came into my booth early in the morning right after the show opened for the day. I greeted him and “welcomed him to my world of color” and he then proceeded to browse my prints. Being a talkative sort myself, I tried to engage him into a conversation but he seemed intent on concentrating on my art and gave me the impression that he’d rather not talk, just look.

He spent about 15 minutes in my booth then turned and left when I was wrapping up a few of my prints for another customer. I really didn’t give him another thought until about an hour later when he returned to take another look. As an artist, I’ve learned from experience that a retuning “browser” is always a good sign and quite often ends with them purchasing a piece of art from me.

When this man left again without making a selection I chalked it up as a no-sale situation. The day proceeded and near the end of the show my mystery shopper once again returned and silently started to look over my fractals. He must have sensed my confusion over his inability to make up his mind and he offered me this explanation.

He said that he always attends the Ren Fair but has never been motivated into buying anything from any of the artists. When he came to the park that day he was just coming for the entertainment and food and not for any art, but he said that as he passed my booth early that morning he felt compelled to take a peak.

He then shared with me his reason for the many return trips back to my booth to look over my art. He was having a difficult time in choosing just the right print. He was looking for something to give to his mother and wanted to make sure his selection was right. I gave him the same advice that I’ve given 1000’s of people before when faced with this same dilemma which is that they, the buyer, is having a hard time choosing because there are hundreds of different designs they are looking at in my booth but when they give the piece to whomever the gift is intended for, the recipient is only seeing the one design they are given and not all of the rest, so whatever is chosen will be right for the situation.

He nodded in agreement then continued to say that this gift was not a mothers day present like I assumed but a piece of art for his mother to look at while spending her last days on earth. He said that he understood the basis behind fractals, chaos theory and quantum physics and it would be the perfect art form for his mom to look at while in hospice care with only a few short days to live. He felt compelled to choose a piece of my art so his mother could peacefully meditate to when “she passed to the other side.” He said her favorite color was blue and my piece entitled “Totally Tubular” was going to perfectly help with her “transition.”

I was completely speechless and could only communicate with him through nods of understanding because I was afraid that if I spoke my emotions would overcome me. This man selected this piece along with a few smaller ones that were a bit brighter with more color to also help brighten his moms last days.

As I packaged up his purchase I searched for something to say to this caring individual but the words couldn’t come. He paid me, shook my hand and as he turned to walk away he looked back and silently nodded his head as to let me know that he was thankful that I created this piece of art, for his mom.

I will forever be changed by this experience.

Moscow Renaissance Fair

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Art Under the Elms

Smaller shows by and large seem to be the trend for 2008, at least for many of the artists I’ve been talking to lately. With costs at most of the larger venues raising significantly over the past few years and then add to that the astronomical fuels costs getting to these further away shows, many artists are staying closer to home and doing smaller festivals.

That’s not to say that ALL artists are leaning this way but I am seeing that trend grow.

I stayed rather close to home last weekend (if you feel that 200 miles is close) and did a little show in Lewiston, ID called Art Under the Elms. I’ve done this show for 5 years in a row and usually I start thinking about giving a show a breather and take a year off if I start to feel that I am saturating the market by attending it year after year. That isn’t the case with this show because it’s set on the campus of Lewis and Clark College. Being a college show, I’m always graced with a “new crop” of buyers each year due to the turn over of students.

This is a three-day show that really needs to become a 2-day affair. It has become apparent; at least to me by way of doing an informal poll of my customers that the attendance numbers would remain the same even if the show were cut to Saturday and Sunday only. I hope that the promoters take note of my comments on their survey they hand out to each artist for our feedback.

The cooler weather and sporadic rain showers on Friday kept the buyers at home. Sales were way off for everyone I spoke with. Saturday and Sunday’s sunshine and warmer weather really brought out the crowds though. Sales were fantastic and more than made up for Friday’s lack of people.

This year the festival needed to be moved from it’s original spot to a lawn area a half a block away but still on campus. The college is building a new wing and the show’s previous location was chosen for the new building. A move like this in usually a bad sign but the close proximity to the old location made it seamless to us, the artists, as well as our customers.

Parking at festivals is almost always a problem for the artist. Once I unload my trailer and set up my booth I must try and locate suitable parking for my rig. Because I sleep in my trailer, I’m always on the look out for a space close to my booth as well as somewhere that isn’t too noisy. This year I was lucky enough to find just the spot on one of the side streets close to the show. I set up on Thursday night and enjoyed a peaceful nights sleep both that night and Friday night too. Before parking there I asked a person who looked like they knew what they were talking about and got the go a head to park my truck and trailer there for the weekend.

All was well until 6:00 AM Saturday morning when I was woken by what I can only describe as dragsters driving up and down the street. Load, obnoxious roars of these engines were enough to get my attention, as was the phone call to my cell from the show promoter. It seems that the person I asked about parking there neglected to mention that there was going to be a car show set up on the street I was parked on. Over 100 vintage roadsters were setting up their cars for a “show and shine” all while I was trying to catch a few more winks before I went to my booth.

Even without the promoter asking me to move my rig it was apparent that unless I wanted my 2005 Chevy Silverado sitting right in the middle of this car show, I was going to have to get nearly 100 tricked out cars to move enough for me to drive my truck and trailer out of the area.

The first few drivers didn’t seemed to mind backing up a few feet in order for me to squeeze by but the next guy was evidently peeved enough with me for parking there in the first place that he refused to move. After trying to calmly reason with this Fonzy want to be, I decided to inform him that scratching the bumper on my truck or trailer wasn’t that big a deal to me but if didn’t want the $10,000 plus paint job on his 1968 Chevelle harmed, he better back up a few inches.

Now I did say that with a grin on my face, which I thought, would have mellowed his attitude a bit but he still refused to budge. Not only do I have my show’s promoter calling again saying I have to get my truck out of there ASAP, I have dozens of angry car guys honking and yelling at me to split. I decided to give the Fonz one more chance and informed him that I would gladly pay my car insurances $500.00 deductible when I unfortunately plowed into his car if he didn’t move. I think the thought of all the hours this guy had into his car brought him to his senses and he backed up enough for me to get my truck by.

I moved out of there and found another parking spot and tried not to let this stress ruin my day. It didn’t and look, it even turned out to be a great story to pass on.

Art Under the Elms

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A big move

For the past year I’ve been thinking seriously about renting a new space in the town I live in to start my own gallery. Even though I currently show in one of the established galleries in Sandpoint already, I’ve always felt that if the opportunity presented itself, I would set up my own solo gallery/studio in a different location.

Artworks Gallery in downtown Sandpoint is where I’ve sold my art locally for the past 4 years. The majority of my sales still are through the various art festivals I attend plus my own website, but it’s nice having a brick and mortar location to send people to view my work at. That’s the problem with Artworks. Because I am a consigning artist in that gallery (one of nearly 60 different artists) I’m only given a very small amount of wall space to display on. I’ve always had a problem selecting which new piece I should hang and which old one I should replace.

That’s when fate showed its face. I’ve casually put a bit of effort into finding my own space but being as busy and on the road as much as I am, I never found the right space at the right time. Well, that changed last week. Through another artist friend of mine, I heard about an already renovated space in the rear portion of the most prestigious art gallery in town. It’s a great location, right in the middle of down town. The owner of this gallery has been using this 1000 square feet of space for back storage but had always intended to expand the main gallery there in the future.

His decision to rent out this space instead of using it himself looks to be my good fortune. The problem with keeping open my own gallery/studio has always been my constant travel schedule. In order to make the gallery work I would need to hire employees to work it when I wasn’t in town. That was just not feasible. Because the two spaces adjoin each other, Jim, the owner of the galley I’m looking at has offered to handle any sales that I have when I’m not there in exchange for me watching his gallery occasionally when I’m in town. Perfect!!

An additional benefit is that he farms out custom printing of different editions for a few of the artist he already represents because he never wanted to invest in the wide format printers to handle these sporadic custom sales. I already have these printers and would be glad to supplement my income a bit by doing his printing for him. I love win-win situations.

So, after a few details are ironed out I’ll be moving my print studio into my own retail gallery. After it’s set up, I’ll be posting a bunch of photos here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

4th Ave. Tucson, AZ

What a contrast between Tempe and Tucson, AZ. A casual observer might make the obvious comparisons that both are southwestern dessert towns but that is about all these two towns have in common. 125 or so miles separate these cities but in reality they are universes apart in style and culture.

The festivals I attended in both places were just as different as the towns themselves. For artists that usually do the Festival of the Arts in Tempe and are thinking about to applying to The Fourth Ave. Merchants Association show in Tucson, (which is held the very next weekend) I have one warning.

Don’t expect the same Tempe vibe in Tucson. Although both are college towns, the hip nightlife scene and upscale lifestyle of the Tempe venue is contrasted with a more laid back, funky, almost 60’s retro feel on 4th Ave. If young street people that might ask for spare change concern or offend you, don’t waste your jury fees on this show. If the last time you saw hippies was on the cover of Time magazine when it covered the Height Asbury movement in the 60’s and you feel that that was close enough for you, pass on 4th Ave.

If alternative lifestyles, people of color, interesting body piercing and sexual orientations that don’t mimic your own bother you, this show isn’t for you.

Now if you’re cool with all of that or can at least set aside personal prejudices for a few days, you’ll be in for a treat in Tucson.

The layout for this show is that of a typical street festival. Back to back booths set up down the middle of the street. This is a large show. 6 plus blocks long bisected with food booths and entertainment stages on some of the perpendicular side streets. The one knock on 4th Ave. is that they allow commercial, buy/sell vendors into the show. This is not true. The promoters and fair board alike reject buy/sell artists but unfortunately cannot stop property owners along the sidewalk from renting space to these other vendors. That is a harsh but true fact you need to take into consideration when doing 4th Ave.

I took an informal survey of people who walked into my booth about the un-official artists on the street and everyone I asked knew that they were not part of the juried event and most didn’t seem to mind one way or another. I’m sure that some of the money that might have been spent in juried members booths was spent with these un-authorized vendors but because I can’t control that fact, I just don’t let it bother me. I have enough to worry about that I can control so I let this one slide.

A more attentive, courteous event staff could NOT be found. With temperatures reaching into the 90’s all 3 days, the ice-cold water and munchies that the volunteers brought around every hour or so was a pure delight. All I had to do was ask for a booth sitter and one was provided for me. Kurt Tallis, the event director is one of the coolest promoters on the circuit. Kurt was on the street for the entire show, from set–up to break down. He was constantly checking in asking how the show was going and if there was anything he or his staff could do for me. That’s a welcome change over the show promoters that stay behind the scene.

One thing to note about move in day is that 4th Ave runs north and south. Even numbered booths are set up on the east side of the street and odd numbers on the west. Because the east side is reserved as an emergency fire lane (dictated by the fire department and not the show) artists with booths on that side are not allowed to use awnings. The morning dessert sun is very hot and if you are like me and have a crowded booth to begin with and rely on sitting under your awning on the outside of you booth, prepare for 3-4 hours of pretty intense heat.

Also, artists are only allowed to park on the west side of the street during set-up. Cars left parked on the east side will be towed. Again, this is per the fire marshals rules not the promoter. So if you want a parking space in front of or at least close to where you booth is you’ll need to get there very early on Thursday. After 9:00 AM, all available parking spots are already filled. Take that into consideration if you are traveling to Tucson on Thursday. Set-up usually begins around 2:00 PM but through the efficiency of the staff this year, the street was readied for us to begin setting up about 1:00, good job guys.

Even though I heard some artist say that their sales were down from previous years, I didn’t experience this down turn what so ever. My sales were on par or better than other shows of this size. The street scene doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I rather enjoy it. I thoroughly enjoy this show and will keep it on my festival list as long as the jurors allow me in. Kudos 4th Ave. You deserve it.

Here is a link this show. FAMA- The Fourth Ave. Merchants Association

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tempe Festival of the Arts

As I mentioned before, one of my favorites shows is Tempe’s Festival of the Arts located on Mill Ave in downtown Tempe AZ. With few exceptions it has every amenity I look for when selecting festivals I want to support. If they would only bring the cold water and snacks for us artist directly to our booths and not make us leave our art unattended while we walks blocks away to the hospitality tents, the show would score a 10 in my book.

Although I heard rumors that volunteers were making the rounds delivering water, coffee and snacks, I never saw them. They very well might have come by but I was slammed constantly for the entire 3 days and just might have missed them.

Another big plus for this show is their use of booth sitters. This little offering allows us solo artists a few minutes away from the booth to grab a quick bite to eat of use the port-a-potty. It’s amazing what 10 minutes of down time can do for your well-being. Because of the volume of sales I normally do at this show, I always get antsy to return to my booth ASAP. Booth sitters are not allowed to take money on your behave. They can only hand out literature and make sure nothing leaves your booth without being paid for. Customers don’t wait. When they want it, they want it NOW. If I’m not there to handle their transaction, often times, they’re down the road. I’m fortunate though, that if they like my style of art they aren’t able to walk down the isle and find another fractal artist to purchase from. So they usually come back and talk with me once I return from my break.

This years set up went smoothly, as did break down. No artist rage incidents I’m aware of. Because my son and daughter-in-law live in the area, I can always rely on them giving me a hand to break down and pack out on Sundays, I enjoy their help and company more than I think I let on to them. Thanks Jed and Tara and you too Kaden (my 2 year old grand son)

I had the additional pleasure of having great booth neighbors. With in 5 booths of me were 2 other artists that I’m friends with. A wooden puzzle maker from Oregon and a sculptor from Washington state. Go figure, we all drove 1600 plus mile to get to this show and out of 400 or more other artists we got placed next to each other. That’s way cool.

My immediate booth neighbors were a couple from northern California who weaved their own cloth and then created lovely women jackets out of it. They were about my age and we hit it off the moment we introduced ourselves to each other. Another great connection in the cosmos we call art festivals. I may never see they folks again but they touched me in a way that I’ll never forget them. A major side benefit of being a traveling artist.

If I had any gripes at all about this show it might be that the proclaimed attendance figure were added to heavily by the people who were in town to attend the Tempe Music Festival that was held on the end of Mill Ave. at the same time our arts festival took place. It’s been my experience that even though these are extra bodies that potently walk by your booth they almost NEVER stop and buy. Who wants to carry a newly purchased piece of art into a concert? I wouldn’t. So a new artist to the show might be swayed into thinking that their customer base was 300,000 buyers instead of 225,000 but I’ll take even the lower attendance figures any day.

Another negative comment I heard about the show (I’m sure from artists having a bad show) was that there was a bunch of commercial buy/sell merchandise being sold as art. Although I never got a chance to walk the whole show when we were open those booths I did see contained very nice, artist produced artwork. So the buy/sell comments from others, at least of what I saw, didn’t hold up.

For those of you thinking about applying to this show I highly encourage you to do so. If you are proud of your work, are willing to work fairly long hours, can put up with a late night move-in on Thursday, don’t mind thousands of people perusing your art and making a bunch of money, this show is for you.

Here is a link to the festivals website.

Tempe Festival of the Arts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My bad

I discovered a very important blogging lesson over the past few weeks. Trying to keep an accurate, up-to-date blog record of my art show doings while at the shows is near impossible. As I stated earlier, I travel and do all of the festivals I attend solo. So, finding time to blog at the event just doesn’t work for me.

During the last two shows nearly 600,000 people attended them both and it would be a fair guess (based on the great placement of my booth in these shows) that 90% of the fair patrons passed by my booth. Now, not all or for that matter not even 10% walked into my booth to view my art but still, a substantial number did show interest in my fractals which kept a constant stream of visitors coming through every minute of each of the 6 days I was at the shows.

That said, casually writing a blog post during the show is impossible. I did try to creatively write up-dates after show hours but after putting in 12-14 hour days I wasn’t able to find the juice to spend another hour or so on the blog. That’s my lesson, blogging at the shows aren’t going to happen, so the best I (and you, the reader) can hope for is a timely update once I return home which I did the day before yesterday.

Tomorrow I’ll report on one of my favorite shows in the circuit, the Tempe Festival of the arts. (Sneak preview, FANTASTIC)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mandala 22

Here is the 22nd piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 22

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Set up day

Actually I should say, “set up night” because the Festival of the Arts here in Tempe AZ starts shutting down the various streets that contain the artist’s booth around 8:00 PM tonight. With nearly 400 booths to be built and art to be hung by 10:00 AM Friday morning, the only way to get this all accomplished is to let those artists who choose to, start setting up the evening before the event starts.

A number of years ago when I first did this art festival I made the mistake of deciding to get to the show early on Friday morning to set up my booth instead of staying up past mid night on Thursday and fight the massive crowd. I reasoned that because most artists were going to erect their booths as soon the festival director and the Tempe police department allowed, it would be much easier getting parking close to my assigned spot in the wee, dark hours on Friday morning.

As I pulled up to a nearly deserted festival site around 3:00 AM the next day, the first thing I noticed was that probably 95% of the artist’s booths were already set up. I was rested because I was sleeping when these other artists were busy setting up their booths only a few hours earlier. With a cup of hot coffee in one hand and a map to my booth space in the other, I found my way to an empty parking spot directly in front of where I was to set up. Sweet, I thought.

I started unloading my canopy, tables art and other supplies from the back of my truck and started to lay out the metal poles and corner connectors that would soon make up the skeletal structure to my booth. Because the festival is held on Mill Ave in downtown Tempe, all of the booths are laid out with neighbors not only to both sides of you but also behind your both. This grid pattern allows you exactly the 10” x 10’ space you paid for. Because I chose to set up in the morning and all artists surrounding me had set up the night before, I needed to squeeze my booth into the existing space that turned out to be 9’ 6” and NOT the 10’ x 10’ that I was entitled too. If I had another type of booth instead of the ridged metal Trimline tent that I use, I might have been able to adjust the width of my booth to the space available. EZ-Ups and Caravan canopies are much more flexible and don’t have the ridged horizontal poles that mine has so I could have made do to this smaller space.

I started looking around for anyone in charge that could have helped me with my dilemma but everyone I talked to said there was nothing they could do and I should wait for either one of my booth neighbors to show up and ask them to move over a bit. As I explained to those who would listen, it wasn’t a matter of having the one artist to the side of me slide over a few inches, there were 15 or 20 tents set up each tightly touching each other and it would require them all to move which would have been out of the question.

After an hour or so of the same lecture about “this is why we recommend artists to set up the night before so you don’t run into this problem” my frustration was starting to get the best of me. It takes me 4 plus hours to properly build my mini art gallery and I was starting to run past this necessary time window because I couldn’t get anyone to make a decision as to what I should do. It’s kind of an un-written rule that once a both is set up, you don’t touch it, even though it encroaches into your space.

Not wanting to upset the artists to either side of me by scooting over their booths a bit in order to fit mine in, I waited to finish my build until I was able to talk to my neighbors. The first to arrive was an artist I had never met before so I first started by introducing myself to her and then explained my problem and asked her if she could move over a few inched in order for me to fit my booth in. She had one of those flexible EZ-Ups I talked about earlier and it would have been a cinch to scoot her booth over enough for me to fit. She had none of her artwork hung on walls that she would have needed to remove before we slid her booth over so I figured she would happy comply. Instead, I got a firey lecture from a sleep deprived woman about me being lazy and not wanting to stay up late the night before, “like the rest of us” to set up so, FORGET IT. I was stunned and found out that there was no reasoning with her.

A few minutes later the neighbor on my other side arrived and to my dismay I learned he was a potter. That meant thousands of pounds of clay pots that were arranged on his shelves would need to be moved in order for him to slide his canopy over enough for me to fit. I thought, “no way is he going to do that” and slid deeper into my despair. What this very cool artist said next renewed my beliefs that traveling artist were a big band of brothers and sisters that did what it took to help the fellow artists out. He said “grab the end of that shelf help me slide it over. We’ll get you enough room to set up in.” What a relief and what a polar opposite attitude from the artist to my right.

After explaining to this new “best friend of mine” what the other artist said about me being lazy and not wanting to stay up late like the rest of them in order to get my allotted space, he just laughed and said “Karma is a powerful force” and then he smiled and said “let’s get it moved.”

Well, I did manage to get my booth up in time for the start of the show and although tired from the hurried pace, I was happy that I was about to spend 3 days to be next to a truly considerate artist/friend who understood the meaning of neighbor.

I had a great show, almost hitting my highest sales totals I’d ever had. My potter friend also had a record setting show and my sleepy neighbor who refused to help me out, well, it turned out that she was on the tail end of her art show career (which is maybe why she didn’t care any longer) and complained almost non stop about how bad this show was and how unsophisticated the buyers were and that she hadn’t even made both fee expenses. In our business, attitude is paramount; she exposed hers on set up day. I’m sure that carried into the other 3 days of the festival. Not wanting to be too analytical about her poor show, I’ll just leave it like my potter friend said the first day, “Karma is a powerful force.” At that, I too smiled as I packed up my truck Sunday night after the show.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

On the road again

Well, I'll be leaving for a 3 week, 2 show swing through Arizona early Saturday morning so posts for the next short while might be a little sporadic. As long as I can find reliable WiFi access from the show or where I'll be staying, I'll give you updates as they happen. If access is non-reliable, these posts will occur when I can hook up to the Net.

I really hope connectivity is OK because one of the main reasons for starting this blog was to give aspiring artists a detailed look at what it's like to do shows from the artist point of view. There isn't better way to do that than reporting right from the show.

Next update- somewhere south of Sandpoint, Idaho.

Mandala 21

Here is the 21st piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 21

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mandala 19

Here is the 19th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 19

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Every artist experiences it at one time or another during his or her careers. I just got a healthy dose of it last night.

As mentioned before, we artists apply to a variety of shows and festivals in order to secure ourselves a spot where we can set-up and sell our art. The application process is both time consuming and gut wrenching at the same time. When the application is filled out, your cover letter is written, your photos are selected and included in the envelop and your check is made out and signed you are now ready to hand it off to the postal service of your choice. At this time it is advisable to kneel, say a quick but heartfelt prayer to the jury gods and with fingers crossed, drop the envelope into the slot at your local post office and forget about it.

That is until the day when you receive either your confirmation or rejection notice back from the show. There is one other possibility that can befall you in regards to your status in the festival. The dreaded “wait list.” This is the purgatory of the art festival world.

The letter you receive back from the show director can either tell you that were not selected for this years show but reminding you to make sure you jump through the same hoops and pay the same non-refundable jury fees for NEXT years show. Or, it can start with the always-welcome salutation “Welcome to this years (fill in the name of the show here)” or lastly it can inform you that your art was just good enough not to get s**t canned out of the show but not good enough to be out and out invited to participate. They call this “the wait list”

Personally, I hate the wait list idea. It only stands to benefit the show’s director and in my opinion, does nothing except add to the artists already growing aggregation with the whole jury process. This is our purgatory. We are in but not really and were out but not yet. Smart artist have already double applied, especially for prime summer weekends as not to be left without any show to do for that time slot.

Double applying is our choice and a very smart one at that. This is our business and those who treat it that way, usually succeed. Show promoters on the other hand, hate us artists to do that, double apply. It means more work for them. What do I mean, well say that show “A” wait lists me. I also applied for show “B” and got accepted into it straight out. When the promoter of show “A” gets a cancellation for their show and goes down their list and calls me up informing me that they now want me in their show, I have to tell them I accepted an invitation to show “B” and I won’t be able to attend theirs. I’ve actually had promoters get upset with me turning them down (from the wait list) and tell me not to bother applying next year. You can always tell when their emotions are getting the best of them because of the extra work they now need to do in order to fill their show, because a smart promoter will say thanks and conclude by reminding you to not and forget to send in your application and fees again next year.

Well, yesterday I got my consolatory “wait list” letter from a show that I’ve done extremely well at for the past 6 years. They must have known how badly I wanted in this year because they asked me to “please keep the dates for our show in mind and don’t book anything else for that weekend, we MIGHT call you at the last minute” Because they really want to make sure that if they get a cancellation I will be ready and willing to drive the 1000 miles one way to their show with possibly only a days notice they must feel obligated to say that I guess.

Ya right, sure I will.

Expecting that my luck might run out with this show in 2008, I already applied to 2 other shows for that weekend. Just in case.

Mandala 18

Here is the 18th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 18

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mandala 17

Here is the 17th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 17

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My first extended trip of the season

WARNING: long post ahead.

I’ve been attending art festivals in Arizona for a number of years. Although these shows take me 1800 miles from home, they have always been worth my time and the expense necessary to do them. Typically I do the fall shows in both Tempe and Tucson AZ. but for the first time I will be doing those same two shows this spring.

I just finished doing some gas mileage calculations and discovered that with gas nearing $4.00 a gallon pulling my trailer will add over $400.00 to my expenses. Because I use my 6’ x 12’ cargo trailer to both carry my booth, art and supplies to enable me to set up my mini art gallery at various art festivals PLUS use it as my mobile hotel room (I sleep, eat and bath in it) leaving it home usually isn’t an option. Even though in the previous years that I’ve “moteled it” I always found the cheapest accommodations I could, usually Tom Bodett’s Motel 6. But now that my home away from home rolls with me behind my truck I’m going to be hard pressed to leave it behind.

Packing what I normally take to shows under the canopy of my 2005 Chevy Silverado truck and NOT in my trailer is going to take some serious planning. I used to do it but since I started pulling my trailer I’ve become used to the extra room and thus have not been as careful with what I take and what I leave at home. If I revert back to my set up prior to using my rolling print bins, I can take 6 2’ x 4’ tables to support my framed prints instead of my large rolling bins that I couldn’t lift into the bed of my truck. This will save a ton of room.

If I also only frame as many images as I think I’ll need for one show instead of two, I can take hundreds of un-framed prints with me and cases of glass and then frame what I need for the second show between the festivals. That way I will save half of the room I would need if I made up my entire inventory at home. A little more work but that way I can do these 2 shows without my trailer.

This trip will have a few additional benefits that all traveling artist should be taking advantage of, namely, book shows close to family or friends you’d like to visit. Not only can you write off the expenses you accrue with these visits because your main reason for these far off trips are to conduct business at the festival but you may also be able to save additional money by staying with these folks.

That’s exactly what I’ll be doing this time. I have a son, daughter-in-law and two grand kids that live near Salt Lake City Utah. By leaving early in the morning on my departure day I can make it to Idaho Falls in a long but doable driving day. This first stop is about 550 miles from my home in Sandpoint, ID. By leaving my trailer home, I’ll need to book a room for the night, which will cost me about $45.00. The next day I’ll have a causal drive to my son’s home.

After spending the night with my family I’ll drive into Arizona as far as I can make in one long day of driving and then I’ll need to book another motel room which will run about the same as in Idaho Falls. The next day’s destination is Mesa AZ. which is where my other son and his family live (starting to get the picture?) Mesa is only 15 minutes from the Festival of the Arts in Tempe so I’ll be able to return each night to stay with my family and NOT need to stay in a motel.

Between my show in Tempe and the 4th Ave. show in Tucson I will also be staying with my son saving over $200.00 in lodging fees plus giving me opportunity to play grandpa to my 1 ½ year old grand son. I can’t wait.

The 4th Ave. show is another 3-day affair so I’ll be heading south towards Tucson on Thursday morning which will give me ample time to set up my booth that afternoon. For that night plus the next 3 I’ll need to call Motel 6 home once more which will set me back less than you might think. Tucson offers some of the best lodging prices anywhere in the country. The 4 nights there will only run about $130.00. The age and condition of the Tucson Motel 6 is less than I’d like but I am only sleeping and bathing there so I hate to spend more than I need to for this.

Monday morning I’ll start my long trip back to Idaho and even with a long day of driving I usually only make it to southern Utah. Chalk up another nights stay and expense but this time the Motel 6 I use is one of the nicest I’ve ever stayed in. Go figure. To keep the night’s lodging consistent all over the country, Motel 6 must some how subsidize the newer and fancier hotels because the difference between the one in Tucson and the one in Cedar City UT. is night and day.

The next day I easily drive back to son #1’s house in Salt Lake City, spend another day or two playing grandpa to my two other grand kids then it’s back on the road. After about 10 hours behind the wheel I pull into Missoula MT. and hook up with a friend and old neighbor of mine from when we both lived in Santa Cruz CA. We catch up on old times while consuming a few adult beverages and get a good night sleep without forking over and money to the hotels night clerk.

The next day I say goodbye and head home. It’s only a 6 hour drive which is a piece of cake so I’m driving back to my mountain ranch home before dark.

Because this trip will keep me on the road for nearly 3 weeks and if I needed to stay in motels the entire time I could easily spend close to $1000.00 on lodging alone. By staying with family and friends I reduce this expense to under $400.00, which coincidently is what I would have spent on the additional gas to pull my trailer.

Planning shows you do that allow you to take advantage of my couch surfing plan will not only save you money but allow you to write off your family trips too. Believe me, this can be one of the best benefits a life as an artist can have.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mandala 16

Here is the 16th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 16

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Catching up is hard to do

One of the things I look forward to when I start my show season and hit the circuit is catching up with old friends. Most of us have taken at least some time off over the winter and the first show back allows us to see what we’ve all been up to since we last saw each other.

I have many friends but some of the closest ones I have are other artists. Were all on the same wave link, sort of. We can relate to each other better than our other friends do not who travel selling their art. A few of my dearest friends, the ones who I could pour my soul out to if necessary, live many states away from my home and in some cases over a thousand miles away. But because we see each other each weekend at the various art festivals we attend, they’re like my next-door neighbors.

Try explaining to one of your customers that walks into your booth how tired you are with being on the road, away from your family selling art all day long and chances are you’ll get a look from them like “hey you live a glamorous life filled with travel and surrounded with beautiful art, what are you complaining for?”

But when you mention the same statement to your booth neighbor, the other artist that is just as burnt as you, a look of mutual understanding comes back at you. Grant it, we’re not out in the hot sun laboring all day digging ditches but none-the-less, we still get tired.

Anyway, back to catching up with old friends. The one thing that you don’t expect when greeting someone who you haven’t seen in awhile, is finding out that something bad happened to him or her since your last meeting. That was the case with me last weekend. I greeted a close friend with my customary hug and asked her how she “wintered over?” That’s a term that unless you live in the snow country, you might not understand. She smiled and said “fine” but I sensed that she was either ultra tired or not telling the truth. We parted ways and I headed back to finish setting up my booth. I really didn’t give it another thought until I latter found out (from another artist) that our mutual friend had lost a family member since the last show we did together and she was just too upset to even tell me about it. Totally understandable, but I would have loved to be able to reach out to her and just let her cry on my shoulder if she needed.

Thankfully, most of my catching up with friends was on a happier note but I also found out though the grape vine that another close friend was in the hospital under going tests to determine if something was wrong with his liver. I talked with his wife and she was going to call me this week to fill me in on his results. No call yet, I’m worried.

Boy, these folks are my age and although were not teenagers any more, were all too young to be having these scares and loses. Life just sucks some times, even for us “happy-go-lucky” artists. Send your good thoughts their way, please.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

1 down, 25+ to go

I returned home from my first art festival of the year late Sunday night tired, satisfied and somewhat encouraged over customers interest in art for 2008.

What I mean by that statement is that for the past few months I’ve been reading about this down turn in our economy and have been in contact with many of my artist co-hearts who have expressed their concerns over what these bad economic times are going to do to our art sales.

It is true that when times get tough art purchases seem to get put on the back burner. Combine that with 2008 being an election year and you have two legs of a doomsday trivecta. (write me and I privately tell you what the 3rd leg is if you need to know) Although my sales for this latest show were off about 10% from the same spring show in 2007, I felt pretty good about that. I heard other artists complain about being off 50% and some, even more, so all in all, I feel I did pretty well.

I asked the promoters about attendances figures and got the canned company line “we are right on track to meet last years numbers.” Bull. I realized that they need to keep financial and attendance figures confidential but even rookie in this business could tell that there just weren’t enough customers to make for a successful show for 300 plus artists. Not a very good sign for the 2008 season.

The one thing I need to report though is that this show is made up of primarily “Country Crafters.” I was one of maybe 25 artists selling wall art. I know this next statement is a generalization but the type of customers that purchase “Country craft” type items are more likely NOT customers who came to by a fine art wall piece. There is a slight cross over of these buyers but typically someone who attends this show looking for a dried flower arrangement or cute toys for their grand kids are not my customers.

The majority of buyers who attend predominantly heavy “craft” shows tend to be middle or lower income households. Although everyone should be concerned, these income levels are impacted greatly by the skyrocketing price of fuel to run their vehicles on. Regular gas in Spokane Washington is $3.39 a gallon with diesel hitting $4.00. People have to think about filling their tank up in order to make it to work on Monday so frivolous spending is usually out for these folks. Based on this type of show and crowd, I feel fortunate to have had as good as sales as I did.

All but 3 or 4 of the shows I book yearly are “fine art festivals.” These shows draw a much more affluent crowd which typically has more disposable income in which to buy art with so I’m hopeful that the bulk of my shows are up over 2007.

The next set of shows I do are in the great state of Arizona. One is in Tempe and the other in Tucson. I’ll post links to their website in the next day or two.

Warm and dry weather, here I come.

Mandala 15

Here is the 15th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 15

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

How to make a living as an artist

Kevin Kelly of has written a poignant editorial on how artists can make a better than "living wage" by establishing a "True Fan" base of 1000 customers. A must read for any artist wanting to support themselves with their art.

Mandala 14

Here is the 14th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 14

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mandala 13

Here is the 13th piece in my new Mandala series.

Mandala 13

T minus 10, 9, 8, 7…..

During the show season, Mondays are usually spent behind the steering wheel of my truck driving home from a far off art festival. Most shows run something like this.

Thursdays are spent setting up your “mini art gallery” under the roof of your canopy and stocking it with your art.

Friday, Saturday and Sundays are “show time” where you hope to entice enough people to walk into your booth and hopefully leave with a piece of your art.

Sunday is also break down day. After the show has finished there’s a mad dash to pack your art and display gear and either start your drive home or head back to where you’ll spend yet another night on the road and rest up for your drive home the next day.

So starting next Monday, a week from today that all too familiar routine starts for me again. Hey, 2008 show season, here I come.

Today though, officially starts the count down until I jump in the truck Thursday and head off into the great white open. (Literally, we’re having a whale of a snowstorm as I write this post) This first show of my season is sort of a local one for me. It’s held in Spokane Washington, which is only about 125 miles from home so I consider this my only local show of the year.

The name of the event is “Custer’s 31st Annual Spring Arts & Craft Show.” From the name you can see that this show has been around along time and is run by the daughter and son-in-law of the founder, Jim Custer. This well attended and professionally run event, although smaller than more shows I do, is one I keep coming back to because the cost to sales ratio, ease of set-up and closeness to home makes this the perfect show to start my season with in order to work out my winter time cobwebs.

So even though I spent a great deal of time over my break creating new art, getting it framed and reading myself for the next 10 months on the road, today begins T minus 10 and counting. I’ve been able to print nearly 500 pieces of my old standbys that I ran out of last year plus my new 2008 creations over the past month and today I’m selecting 100 or so to frame in order to take with me this week.

This selection process is always a headache for me. I stock over 200 different images in 5 different sizes and then try and fit them into a 10 foot by 10 foot booth and still leave room for me and my customers, I think you get the picture.

To make my selection job a little easier this year, I finally took my wife’s advice and culled a few dozen of my slower selling images, which will give me some much, need display space I otherwise wouldn’t have had.

This strategy does two import things. One, it frees up space for better selling pieces and two, it lets these image take a break from the publics eye for a few years. Once I bring them back, they’ll seem fresh and new even though some of them might be over 10 years old.

So, it’s back to my framing studio to wrap up this batch of 8”x10” prints and get ready for Tuesdays batch of 11”x14” and 16”x20”.