Art Shows & Spouses

Do they mix well? How do you convince a spouse that this is what we do?  I am getting ready for 2015. My problem was I picked some local shows a few years ago and they were yadda yadda ok but not great. I have learned a ton on AFI and ready to go again but running into a very good looking road block..I think they call it the husband with his arms folded. (I do the shows solo.)

"This type of business is feast or famine, I like the feast part, but, you save it for future shows."

"You treat this like a business, marketing, organizing, working on paint theories, you are constantly sketching something, ect."

"You are so worn out and art shows are so much more work than I ever thought."

"I know you did well at the last 2 shows but just did make cost at the last one."

"Why do you need at least 60 painted canvases for next year? The show isn't until April?"

"Why do you do this if you didn't make any money right away?"

"I do support you but don't understand your drive to create."

Ok I need a little advice here. Should we NOT tell them anything or filter everything?

Thanks Y'all

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  • I do a Photoshop rendition of my display every year.  I calculate everything in inches and then do a scale of .1 of an inch for each inch.  I use the canvas option to add mats and frames to my images.  I can then move things around to see what looks good together and how much will fit on each wall.  I then do a contact sheet and take it with me to the show so I don't have to think about what goes where.  The added image is of my outside corner for my next show.


  • My husband helps with setups and teardowns, we go out to eat after shows, unless it's been a disaster, then we just want to go home and forget about it. My main problem with said spouse is that he's always asking "where does this go." I change the dynamics of the display based on where and who we're showing to, so it's now my obligation to draw out a diagram showing him where everything is placed. Couldn't do this without him, but sometimes I wish I could.

    • I assign Jean the same tasks at every show: hang the plain belts, checkbooks, napkin rings. She handles sales on the latter almost exclusively. I also have photo of belts and diagram showing what goes where. I still get questions and "OH! XXZZ###". I just shut up and say "look at the picture". LOL

      • That idea of doing a photo of where to hang everything is a good idea. I drag out trying to figure out where to hang everything and my wife and I get snappy during set up because I'm trying to remember how to hang everything. Three good shots of the walls would be easy to do, and I've also thought about sticking Velcro on the back of canvas prints to make it easier to hang them.
  • my first Husband resented the time and money it took away from him and what he wanted to do. Never mind that my show schedule was based on his schedule. We both worked regular jobs. Sometimes he would reluctantly help me with set up and tear down but for the most part I did it all alone. The last few years of our marriage my art was one of the things that kept me going. After my divorce I quit doing shows for a number of reasons but mostly I became disabled because of an accident and I could no longer do the grunt work of setting up.About 4 years ago some my family members offered to help me set up for a show,my first in 15 years. In between the application deadline and the show date I started seeing someone. When I told him about the show he offered to help. He'd NEVER even been to art show before this. So we did a mock set up and I explained to him what to expect. The weekend of the show was hot and dusty and so he sweated like a pig for me, I felt so bad that I couldnt do more but he kept saying he was fine. We get all done from the show, torn down and loaded up,hes turns to me and says to me "So whens the next one?" and I knew he was a keeper! We were married a few months later and he has been there for me all the way. He helps me with whatever I ask him to dispite his work schedule or how he is feeling. Hes my biggest supporter and fan. When I met him he was a quiet kind of guy, not out going like I am. He'd talk to people but only if they started the conversation but when doing shows he totally changes, he becomes a regular chatty cathy with everyone who comes into our booth. He hasnt a creative bone in his body so he does all the techenical and business stuff that leaves me more time to create. We have figured out how to balance what we both want from this and have some wonderful plans in place for when he retires in a few years. So for us Spouses and Art shows do mix!
    • ^^^^^=LIKE!!

  • My situation: He's a musician with OCD, I am a Jewelry Artisan with OCD. I don't interfere with his thing, he doesn't interfere with mine. If my show is local, outdoors and dog friendly, he pops by with Daizy (dog), our Queen and Ruler, for lunch with me. If not he keeps the home fires burning while I hit the road. I love his band so I attend all the gigs. I am MINIMALLY involved with the band...research, and an advisor (when asked) in the marketing area, but that is the extent of my involvement. We each have our thing, which is good. He gets that the show circuit isn't an easy thing, the schlepping, the back breaking set-ups, the frustrations of dealing with promotors, he gets it ALL. So I have someone who UNDERSTANDS. We can talk to each other about the ins & outs, but we also each make the decisions regarding our separate enterprises ON our own. I don't question when he buys a new guitar or speakers or whatever, and he doesn't question my expenditures, costs etc.  It works, because we both KNOW and TRUST that the other will never make a unilateral decision that would negatively impact our family, home, lifestyle or income. I guess I have the best of both & independence, understanding and trust. In my ten years of doing all kinds of shows here in Maine, I have done every one on my own. I have shared a booth with another Artisan, on a few occasions, and let's just say, those were unique experiences. Maybe it's my OCD, but I have a SYSTEM. I pack the same way, every time. Load the car the same way, every time. I have learned what works best, and is the easiest for ME to do it. I find it frustrating, actually, to have "help", as the individual generally has no clue, and I have to haul everything out and re-load it correctly, anyway. Work smarter, not harder, is my motto. My husband will haul things to the car, and back into the studio, when I get back home, but that is the extent of his involvement. I LIKE IT this way. Just as he prefers I NOT "help" pack his band gig gear....he has his thing, I have mine, and this way, we avoid all those little arguments over NOTHING. No bitter words, no verbally slapping each other around. We keep each other INFORMED when we do make purchases. If it's a BIG expense, we discuss it beforehand, the pros, the cons....we are both very careful with our decisions, so that works, too.  As we are both control freaks, it works best this way! BUT... that being said...we have been doing this for TEN YEARS. We know our limits and boundaries in regards to the others enterprises, and have worked it out this way. Everyone finds what works for for them. My advise is decide what is best, workable solution for you both. Ask him how involved he wants to be. If it is minimal, with full knowledge (my world), or maximum (an unspoken partner), but don't just EXPECT that he be involved. Each couple is as unique as is each person. What works for some, would never work for others. Blessings to you, and you will find your way!!

  • I consider spouses to be the "unsung heroes" of art shows.  I cannot believe how many spouses help with set-ups, doing shows, tear-downs, etc.  They provide support, they are great.  Some have been doing it for 50 years!  I could not do shows with out my husband.  He helps me set up, but wants NOTHING to do with the show.  That is okay.  On the other hand, I have friends whose husbands do not want anything to do with shows.  Hopefully they are supportive of the work.  

    I think what you tell him depends on your relationship.  It sounds like he is supportive, but just doesn't understand the high we get when someone loves our work -- whether they buy or not.  Then when they buy, it takes us over the top - especially if it is an expensive one.  I guess it is sort of like an addiction.  Those who can make a living off it are very lucky people.  


  • This is my first holiday season where my CEO husband (carries everything out) is out of commission.  He had a knee replacement Oct 28th.  I kind of want to kill him.. lol.  But I also know I can do it myself.  In the beginning he really was supportive that I wanted to sell my work, but didn't go to many shows.  The for awhile he went, but I knew he wasn't wanting to be there, so I did more on my own.  In the last year we have started to go to the shows and leave our teenage son at home.  

    The CEO helps with packing the car and setting up the booth.  If it isn't crazy busy I'll send him to the room to chill out.  I have to say he is full of it so he gets a kick out of talking to the customers and the other vendors.  He usually finds someone to recommend a great local place for dinner.. and he keeps an eye out for theft.

    Set up isn't usually too bad for us but tear down can be tense.  He has a way he wants it done... it is just easier for me to let him go for it and ask what do you want me to do next.

    I did book a king size bed for Columbus Winterfair just in case he wants to tag along since he won't be able to lift and carry yet.  I find I can do it alone, but I miss him being there too.  I am hoping as our son grows up we will be able to go to shows and have the vacation/work thing going on.  I know he always loves going around to see all the art and coming back to tell me what I just have to go see!

    • I set everything up on the carport this weekend to take pictures for jury for next year. Ok ding dong here had to go back to the book to figure how to put up the dang tent. (I intend on telling my neighbors to enjoy the REAL show watching me put up a tent.)  I did good but pushing the tend ends up were awful and jabbed my rib with the pole. Ah not so pretty.

      He is still on the fence about doing art shows, it is tough due to not doing any to show him a paycheck. I only have 4 booked for next year and pray they all do well. Still not sure how much to bring! Thank you everyone!

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