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Nels johnson's Blog (52)

Part Three: Musing about the future of art shows—-Info on how to travel to shows

Since the virus and quarantine most of us have not done much traveling long distance like you would normally do to get to a show.

Ellen and I live in New Smyrna Beach, seven months, and Saugatuck,MI the rest.

So every  May we pack up stuff and do a 1400 mile trip using two vans and pulling a UHaul trailer with my van.

This year because of the virus we left a month later.

Also Ellen left her van behind and rode with me.l

So the situations we encountered…


Added by Nels johnson on June 24, 2020 at 6:30pm — 4 Comments

Part 2: Looking ahead to future shows and musing about problems to overcome

I have thought seriously about what it is going to look like when they finally let us exhibit again in the Covid era.

I am a photographer. So presently I show my work in framed images on the wall and then a table with two matted print bins and a small table with a box for my 16x20 mats. 

The two bin table hold 8x10 mats and 11x14 mats.  I print on paper.

I have Lightdome tent with Propanels.

My booth usually has two skinny panels in the front where I display six,…


Added by Nels johnson on June 16, 2020 at 11:33am — 15 Comments

Looking ahead at the summer art shows and musing about what has happened since the shutdown in March

My last show was Vero Beach when they closed us down on Friday the 13th in March.

Since then I have had 12 shows cancelled, including Winter Park, DesMoines, Mainsail and Woodlands/Houston.

I figure I have lost more than $40K in sales.

Took me seven weeks to finally be eligible for unemployment in Florida.

I am about $2K in debt to companies I owe for materials like frames, matboard and photo papers which were bought in anticipation of the sales I expected to…


Added by Nels johnson on June 14, 2020 at 12:00pm — 2 Comments

tequila report

60968236059__3B75065A-278D-40FA-B88E-A9D3839365F1.MOVthis is a test real one coming as soon as I master video.

Added by Nels johnson on April 27, 2020 at 8:15am — 2 Comments

Vero Beach Under the Oaks—Very sad story

When I left New Smyrna early Thursday morning, I waved Ellen a goodbye kiss and took a big breath.

So far as I knew this was about the only show to go on for the weekend in Florida.

Vero is a biggie, So was Winter Park the following weekend.

I had ordered and bought lots of inventory, printing papers, mat boards, frames and glass in anticipation.

My past history told me I had the potential to make $10k-$18k between the two shows.

That could hold me over…


Added by Nels johnson on March 16, 2020 at 3:30pm — 14 Comments

Gasparilla Art Festival—New site, needs parking bad!

I did this show the last weekend. In my former hometown.

Ironically, I have not been in G(gasparilla) for the last six years.  Then I sell my Ybor house and get in the next year.

Trouble is, now I had to stay in a hotel and pay $100 a nite.

I have done G 16 times since the early eighties. Always been a winner for me.

Thank God! This year too.  I needed a good show real bad.

Lots of booth fees to pay.

I can finally say, after seven shows this year, I…


Added by Nels johnson on March 3, 2020 at 5:00pm — 1 Comment

ArtFest Fort Myers— Finally, a really good show, my first This year.

Well, I just set up my booth at Gasparilla.  I am back in my old hometown of 20 years before moving to NSB.

So I am having a relaxing lunch at the Hall on Franklin Street in Tampa.

Eating a great poke bowl and chasing it with a great temponiollo wine.

So, I figured, what the hell, you got the rest of the day to fuck off.  Thus, my final behind the time blog of FM artfest which happened the first weekend of this month.

With this blog, I am officially caught…


Added by Nels johnson on February 28, 2020 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Sanibel Rotary Art Show—what happened to people on Sunday.

This has been a long-running Show over 25 years old.

Held same week in Feb. as The Grove And Artigras.

This was my first time doing this show.

I bailed on Artigras, which I have done for nearly 30 years. It has been a downhill debacle for the last five years.

So, I always have heard great things about the Sanibel show.

Only about 220 exhibitors. Held in the height of season.  Plenty of money around. Lots of Midwest tourists.

Well, the long and short…


Added by Nels johnson on February 26, 2020 at 1:17pm — 7 Comments

Art Fiesta, New Smyrna Beach— more fiesta than art

Sorry, I am way behind on my blogs— busy show schedule.

So I will blog about my most recent, last weekend in my home town.

This is more a craft show than an art show.

People walking their dogs vastly outnumbered any buyers.

I have yet, in 45 years, ever sell a piece of my art to a dog walking fair- goer.

Maybe it is just me.

The dog senses my intent and secretly alerts his master.  “This guy is trying to get you to part with hardwon cash.  Save it…


Added by Nels johnson on February 24, 2020 at 1:57pm — 4 Comments

Sebastian Riverfront Music And Art Festival—Winner,winner...Chicken Dinner

I attended this wonderful festival last weekend.  It is a mellow, little gem of a show.

Sebastian is perched right on the Intercoastal River about 24 miles south of Melbourne on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

It has slowly developed over the years with lots of condo communities lining its roads, but it manages to keep its small village charm.  Not…


Added by Nels johnson on January 21, 2020 at 6:30pm — 6 Comments

Cape Coral Rotary Art Festival— My first one this year—YAWN!

Well, this is my 46th year in the biz.

I have done more than 1500 of these art soirées.

This one I have done off and on since the 1980s.  Usually this is a decent show, can usually turn $1500-$2K but not this year.

I will say right up front that this is a perfect show for Lowend crafters and art on the stick people.

Fine artists…


Added by Nels johnson on January 14, 2020 at 2:30pm — 9 Comments

St. Petersburg Festival of the Arts, December 14-15.....What if they gave an Art Show and almost nobody came?

First, only do this show because you can get by with a hit or two from a Whale.

If you need 30-40 customers,like me, forget about this.

That said, here are the particulars.

The big thing that hurt was a change in the venue.  That always spells disaster.

For years this show has been held in a waterside Park, South Straub Park, right…


Added by Nels johnson on December 24, 2019 at 1:30pm — 4 Comments

Great Gulfcoast Art Festival—Pensacola,Fl—A mighty show for November shows some frightening cracks

I hate to write like this about a show.

But you know, I tell it like it is.

Also for all you fearful newbies who think you can never say something negative about a show..because they will blackball you.


I never have been balled yet in 45 years of doing shows and telling about them.

When a show is messing up, I tell…


Added by Nels johnson on December 19, 2019 at 1:30pm — 5 Comments

The Shaw Art Festival— Saint Louis—Small Show, big bucks, for somei

 Well, it is my birthday, approaching three quarters of a century, and I am back in NSB (New Smyrna), drinking tequila at my favorite beach bar and writing my blog.

I am working for ya.

So, the Shaw was My last summer show.

It is a small show in a historic neighborhood in downtown southwest St. Louis.

Only 140 booths, and they are all good.

Show is held the first weekend in October and has been going on for years.

It is run by a neighborhood…


Added by Nels johnson on October 25, 2019 at 1:30pm — 7 Comments

Saint Louis Art Fair, Clayton, Missouri—A Biggie

This happened on September 6-7-8 on the streets of Clayton. This is where the government center buildings are for St. Louis.  It is a three day show—and is very difficult to get into.

I got in this year and previous to that back in 2013.  Besides that, I have only gotten in three other times in 26 years.

This is a biggie, I put it right up there with KC Plaza, Des Moines, Artisphere and Main Street Fort Worth.

Notice I did not include Winter Park in that…


Added by Nels johnson on September 20, 2019 at 12:30pm — 9 Comments

Lake Forest Labor Day weekend art fair—Fair but not great for most

I have been on the road for 10 days doing this show plus St. Louis.

So I will start with a blog about LF. St. Louis later.

This is a long-standing show on the lake north of Chicago.

Very wealthy people live here, and many attend the show which is on Sunday and Labor Day Monday.

It has an early morn setup, no night before.  There are more than 200 artists.  There is a smaller show going on by them at the same time.

Held right downtown right by the commuter…


Added by Nels johnson on September 13, 2019 at 1:00pm — 5 Comments

Woodland Park Art Festival, Lexington, KY.—Hot temps with hot Lowend sales

This Show is held in a lovely trees park right in downtown Lexington.  Always the third weekend in August.

Lexington is a thriving town.  You have the University there. Then you have all the horse biz.  They raise them, they race them there.  Lot of dinero flowing the town.

Everywhere you look you see new apartments going up.

Not many shuttered stores.

The locals dress up for the show.  This is not a Walmart crowd.

That said, this is not an easy show to…


Added by Nels johnson on August 21, 2019 at 10:53am — 2 Comments

Uptown Art Fair, Minneapolis, Minnesota— Hit and Miss for Many

Uptown was held on first weekend of August in a very trendy shopping,eating, and partying area of Minneapolis.

It is a theee day show with setup the day before except for those on Hennepin Ave.

The Show is held in two distinct sections: booths are setup on the street and grass of a mall that runs about five blocks long.  Those booths setup in staggered times on Thursday.  The second section sets up on Friday on Hennepin Avenue which runs across the top of the mall.



Added by Nels johnson on August 16, 2019 at 11:08am — 4 Comments

South Haven Art Fair— A mellow affair in a park by the lake.

 As I set at a table across from Lake Michigan, munching a great breakfest bagel and reading The NY Times, I reflected on my time doing this show for the past 25 years.

You cannot beat the location.

South Haven is a Lakefront town about 35 miles above the Indiana border.

It is a big vacation destination for Chicago and northern Indiana folks.  Also nearby Kakamazoo claims this as their beach town.

It is held in tree-shrouded Stanley Johnson and can easily hold 150…


Added by Nels johnson on July 22, 2019 at 12:41pm — 3 Comments

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