It must always be hot during this show. It's a cosmic rule of the universe.
Their paperwork said that the check-in booth would close at 6:00pm, and since I was running late, I called ahead to be sure. (Didn't want to go through a similar mess as Mayfest earlier in the year.)
- "Let me check.. Yes sir, we will be packing up at 6pm."
- Well, in order for me to arrive on time, it would be best if I left my artwork at home tonight. How long will I be allowed to park in the (much closer) customer lot in order to unload in the morning?
- "Let me check.. Oh, unfortunately artists cannot park next to the show."
- I know we have our own parking a quarter-mile away, but I just need to unload a few things, and my items are too big to fit in the golf cart shuttles you have for us.
- "I'm sorry sir, you'll have to park in Lot D tomorrow."
- I know that, but.. oh heck with it, gotta go. I'm in a hurry.
I was able to bring one box of canvases (instead of two), and two cases of prints (instead of five), but by damn, I was there by 5:45pm! I checked in, got a sandwich, and proceeded to set up. 6pm.. 6:30.. 7pm. The check-in booth was still there.7:30pm -- I get a voicemail from John Kennington, a fellow photographer who will be at the show:
- "I'm just now heading out, and I'll be there about 8:pm. I was wondering if you could get my booth number the next time you walk by the check-in tent. Thanks!"
Lem is still there chatting with a couple folks. (Lem runs the show, he's a good guy. And unfortunately I didn't get to talk to him over the phone when I was running late.) Not only do they allow me to tell John his booth number over the phone, but they send a volunteer to his empty booth spot and drop off his check-in packet!I call him back and tell him the good news -- and we chuckle about what they told me when I threatened to show up late. Always talk to Lem, he'll make it happen!The next morning I charged in with the rest of my artwork, parked in the customer lot right next to the show, and unloaded as if it was the thing to do. Sure enough, it was printed in the rules -- we were allowed 30 minutes to unload from the customer lot.
Saturday, the slow day. the hot day.
I knew it was going to be slow on Saturday:
Sunday, slow and steady
Monday, the show comes to life!
Monday has been the strongest day of this show for as long as I've attended it.
I get interviewed at this show at least twice. Having a show like this on a college campus is a prime opportunity for teachers to create art-related projects for students. It's pretty cool: kids get to pick my brain, and I-- get to pick my brain too!They all ask roughly the same stuff:
- "What got you started in photography?"
- "How long have you been doing this?"
- "Describe your style?"
But this one threw me: "What does your art mean to you?"(Don't accidentally blurt out "I do it for the money.." It deflates the art, and besides, according to the IRS, I don't make any money after expenses anyway.)I hemmed and hawed and carried on. It really got me thinking.
- I am selective about which photos appear in my booth. It not only needs to be a technically strong photo, but it has to "move" me. Things that move me tend to stand out against the backdrop of everyday experience. Due to societal norms and constructs, most members of modern society experience roughly the same stuff every day -- we wake up and eat breakfast, we go to work, we go shopping, we watch TV, we goof off, we go to bed. What parts of my personal experience stand out from that?
- Being a static visual medium, there are only certain attributes that the vehicle of photography can communicate. I therefore have to translate my life experience into that relatively limited set of attributes.
- After a few years of shooting, I have created an "ideal photo" in my head. I can't really see it, but I can tell that it has certain attributes. Each of my experiences in life gets compared to the set of attributes of that ideal, and if it compares favorably, I take that photo. From one photo to the next, the composition can change, the subject matter can change, but I am searching for as many parts of that ideal as I can. The viewer therefore never sees a full set of differences between my life and theirs, only the ones that match my ideal set.
- So, what are the attributes of that ideal? It's difficult to put into words, but it gets easier once I get the collection of work together. You could call it my style. It defines a relationship between a certain amount of smoothness and texture, structure and disorder, warm and cool tones, light and dark values.
- In summary, I enjoy the vehicle of creation: employing synaesthesia -- experiencing one medium, and outputting another. In my case, I experience the richness of life, and I translate it into the relatively simple visual medium of photography.
- "What are your influences?" -- I am only influenced by other photographers in regards to using photographic tools. In regards to subject matter, I am more influenced by other artistic media which contain attributes of my "ideal". If I were only influenced by the same medium in which I create, I believe my work would be very weak.
- This process of creation is automatic. I have little control over it -- it just happens. My art exists because I exist.
I had to apologize for being rambly, but I think there's a coherent thought in there somewhere. :)
Guess who's back...
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I don't think they actually give away the car. It's just there for attention.I suspect this because I "won". Yes, thanks to me filling out my information at their Mayfest booth last year (before I found out that they were going to yell at me for four days), they called me a couple months ago and congratulated me. But I didn't win the grand prize. I was "a semifinalist", and therefore I only won a vacation package. The actual drawing for the car (or $50,000) will take place later in the year -- they said that last year too. But in order to claim my prize, I have to go to their office and sit through a 30-minute presentation.I ignored their request. If I legitimately won something, they should come to me. I grew up out in the countryside, and I learned at a very young age that if something reeks of bullshit, it probably is.
It's not my best show, but it's far from being the worst. Sales are about 50% off my best shows, but I can still cover my expenses.People are really warming up to the canvases, but one sale is making me wonder:I did not have my four-foot wide copy of Monument Valley at the start of the show -- it wasn't finished. So, I brought the only other framed copy I had: a 24-inch wide print on paper behind glass framed in wood. (This was leftover from before I did canvases; all I had were traditional glass frames.) I displayed it on the front of my booth for the first day, but it didn't have the same gravity as the four-footer. It stood out, and the non-glare glass had a slight haze since my booth was facing the sun.I went home Saturday night, helped my fried Dave get the four-footer done, and brought it back Sunday morning. Since I didn't take the wood frame one home, I bagged it up and stored it behind the booth.So, Sunday morning a couple comes to my booth. They are impressed by the Monument Valley photo, but are unsure about the price. They find a print in the bin, but they aren't sure about that one.
- "Do you have a larger matted copy of this one? We would like to get it framed."
- Funny you ask!
I show them the framed copy, make up a price, and bam! I don't have to take it home and risk breaking the glass! Okay, there's still a market for traditional frames. I don't like carrying them: they're too fragile, and too heavy. But I only have three left. Maybe they'll make an appearance at the next show.
Quotes and Oddities
- "That's a bit high for prints!" Not according to the folks who bought them. HA!
- "So it only took you ONE SECOND to take that photo of Monument Valley, and you have the GALL to charge $550 for it? That should be a lot cheaper!" I have an entire blog post that covers this one.