Thursday, October 9, 2008

Old Town San Diego Art Festival Review

I've been trying to write a blog for days now, but can't seem to focus. There is too much information. It's like I'm going through a crazy roller coaster crash course of tent mastering, solo traveling, and the fine art of art sales all in one. I recover, get back to painting, and finish projects for the next show when I'm home.

The business side to being an artist is one most people are unaware of. It's necessary evil if you want to be a working artist. It's unnecessary if you can hire people to do it, or play an artist on TV.

My second San Diego show was my first show out-of-town ALONE. Am I crazy? Yes. I can absolutely confirm my insanity. Even the other, seasoned art festival folk think I'm crazy for taking this on alone. On top of it all, I'm showing figure paintings. No one is showing figure paintings at these shows.

So I take off for a 6 hours drive to San Diego a day before the show. I always feel so alive at this point. The sun sparkles a little more; I breathe the fresh air and crank up the music.

Driving through Lost Hills, CA

Once I hit LA, the fun is over. Have you ever tried to get off the LA highway in some awful area to find a place to pee while pulling a trailer? Don't do it.

I check in with my hotel an hour before set-up. Most 2-3 day shows allow set-up the day prior, and I won't do a show if they don't. Returning to the car for my bags, I notice the trailer is leaning to one side. Incredulously, it has a flat tire. Thank you, Uhaul. After freaking out for a moment (ok, a few moments), I realize there's only one choice. I detach the trailer from the car, and unload it into my car in two trips to set up the tent. It's freaking exhausting, to say the least.

Unloading the trailer

Grrr…I need my own trailer, but at least they fixed it.

The next morning, my mood restored, I have a good breakfast and set off for the show with a steaming cup of Earl Grey. I drive to the artist parking lot, find a good space, and look down, only to find my cell phone floating in the steaming cup of tea. This is the point where I nearly cry.

I ended up making it through the day. My neighbor, Nha Vuu is a blessing. She let me use her phone, and we chat the whole show. Her art is lovely, so I want to share it:

I learned a lot at this show; from other artists, and from the experience. I was visited by some friends I met at Artwalk the week before. We went out for drinks, and it was nice to get out of the hotel room. Even my new friend at the art gallery came by for a visit. Which reminds, me…I need to mention that I have all my paintings back. The gallery agreed to wait until I finish the show season. At that time, we will discuss an arrangement again. I am so relieved, because I didn't feel right about the situation. It's all written in my last blog if you want to check it out.

People at the show

My tent

Show review: This show had a good amount of people, but most of them were tourists, uninterested in art. The quality of the work here was below average, with people selling things like key chains and poor quality jewelry. There was very little high-end 2D art. Both days, the locals came early, and that's when I made sales. From noon on, the sales tanked, and I had to deal with a never-ending steam of giggling, pointing, and joking tourists. There were also a lot of creepy old men with beards who enjoyed hanging out in my tent for some reason. I didn't lose money at this show, which was a relief. I didn't make much, either.

I may be back next year. We'll see.

Best quote of the weekend: A boy about 6 years old walks by with his dad. He points to one of the nudes, exclaiming, "Daddy, I don't want to BE like that". I'm sure dad was relieved.

Part two will be up soon, the Danville show. Thanks so much for reading.

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