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Right after 9-11 I choose to get part time job. The Part job became a full time job and at the same time I start cutting the shows. Few years later, I hit shaking ground in the full time job but even if wanted to get out I could not because it was wrong time to do it. April 15, 2014 I left the job to do just shows again.

At this time almost the end of my second year I am waiting for applications respond from Florida, Arizona and Texas for the first four month of 2016 and I am reviewing my year. 

This year I found a lot hate or misinform people about my medium. You read and listen to people comments about photography and new rules to photographers and it make me wonder. Maybe the most intriguing was that they only let photographer to shows because the public want see photography. The other wrong perception is that we just go and press print or send to the lab to get print that we really do not work. Comment like this are common and really if you are a photographer in the art show this is nothing new but still does not make feel any better.

This year while I did not head to Florida because one show per month was not a good idea because I live in Chicago. This also create a dilemma with my income. Enter Postmates, this help me all the way until May. Working 36 hours delivering products it was giving a nice 700 per week as income without any stress. It had been so good for me that I make the effort to keep myself in the fleet because of the fear of no shows in a month or several months. It also help me to reduce the stress what to do when you are playing catch up because you have good and bad months in the art fairs. 

Another big surprise for me was the amount of calls for installing art work. This year that section of my business increase almost 1000%. 

So you wonder about the art fairs. The biggest lesson to remember is that no matter what people tell you need to trust yourself. I did bad choices by picking shows in my hometown (Chicago). I only did well at one small show in the area. My body work does not move in the area and people suggest that I was doing something wrong but I could not understand why because when I out of town I do well or least 10 times better than Chicago market. I only can said that I will apply to four or five shows in the area in 2016. If do not get into those shows I wont be doing any shows in Chicago. Several times during 2015, I was wishing I was doing Postmates over sitting in my booth hoping to just break even and losing hope as time pass.  The sad thing is that when I apply I was not aware about Postmates and I was  believing what other people suggest me. 

The biggest different for me and other is this my only income. I do not have a spouse helping me to cover the bills. This how I support myself and wont take hand out. Living in fear of loosing everything because you did not apply your own advice it was just stupid in my part, people that know me understand what I mean with that.

What had been great about this year. When I hit the road, I did shows that even when was not that much profit I notice while sitting in my booth I never lost hope. A lot small pieces move and adding the 36X51 frame pieces was successful as well 12X18 prints matted to 18X24. I realize that more red the state I tent to do better (could be because no to many shows in the area, who knows). Build my second cabinet to hold my prints and poles from my trimline was great idea. A full year with my little trailer had make things a lot easier. I keep seeing old friends and making new. I enjoy traveling the country. I enjoy doing shows. I had done things that I not crazy about (like sleeping my car because I was to tired to keep going and/or could not find a motel was not full or the price will put me out of budget). I had manage to produce more new work this year than any other year. 

There is no doubt in my mind it had been a really hard year for me but full with a lot of joy and hope. I feel more secure and start seeing path to self support. I accepting the fact to listen to people advice but trust my final judgement. If to many red flags come around stay away from that path. 

Life is to short to live in fear, anger and insecurity. All those feelings will crate lonely person. So today I just  figure my second fear in life. Keeping positive attitude is the best and what ever happen in the past stay in past and keep learning from my failures and keep enjoying all those special moments.

Happy Holidays!!!!!

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Comment by Oscar Matos Linares on November 11, 2015 at 4:07pm
Hi Sandy

It was nice seeing you this year. I not taking a shot to people with spouses that are not doing shows. When I reflect about the year I realize that if I do not do well at the show I am risk of losing everything. It adds stress to the situation.
Comment by Sandra J. Atkins-Moran on November 11, 2015 at 3:15pm

Hey, Oscar.  Good to have seen you at Cottonwood.  Yes, it was a truly dreadful year, like Robert, my worst since the '80's.  Wow.  Sometimes thinkin' you can just ain't enough and you have to go on hope and some good planning.  Finding where your work sells best is a good start: why go where they don't love you?  And, by the way, even those of us with a spouse as a second family income are out here busting our behinds, too.  WQe're all in this together.  See you next time you're in Dallas.

Comment by Christina L. Towell on November 9, 2015 at 8:56am

Thanks, Oscar...yes, we've missed you here, hope you'll keep us posted on your progress and Happy Holidays to you too!

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on November 8, 2015 at 8:06pm

I enjoyed your story, Oscar, and have missed seeing your posts here anyway. Keep in touch and much luck and success to you in your endeavors. WOOHOO!

Comment by Jacki Bilsborrow on November 8, 2015 at 7:39pm

Thanks for your story Oscar.  I am glad you found Postmates to fill in the gaps and help you get by.  Stay strong and I hope 2016 is a great year for you.

Comment by Robert Wallis on November 7, 2015 at 1:05am

Good luck out there, it's rough at times. I'm struggling myself this past year and is the worst I've had since 1988. keep in mind Chicago is over saturated with photographers and anyone with a cell phone thinks they're a world class photographer. 

I went with 20x30 canvases last year and found out they're too large for many folks. it's not the price, it's the available wall space that limits the sales. The last couple of shows I did were squeaked by due to going back and making 12x18 photos in 18x24 frames at a lower price point. I also had some small success with 5x7.5 images on letter sized paper with digital matting. No matting, just backed and bagged in a same size clear bag. What was interesting was that a fair number of customers would buy a selection, anywhere from 2 to 5 pieces at a time.

Just remember that your work has to be unique enough and with enough impact that the wandering Joe Sixpack out there will recognize there is no way he or she can do work like yours on any given day. The other thing is to make sure that your work is distinguishable as only yours and nobody else's. The mantra I keep hearing is 'Differentiate or die". Your work, as well as any of ours, has to be different from everybody else's or the customer will stop back at someone else's booth and buy something that only looks like yours because it didn't stick in their mind strongly enough. Hang tough and follow your dreams! 

Comment by Oscar Matos Linares on November 6, 2015 at 11:56pm

Thank you Joel

Comment by Joel Lockridge on November 6, 2015 at 10:47pm

Good post, Oscar. It's tough out here, for sure. I was pushed into full time by my employer closing down. I have my good shows and my bad shows, but I do try to learn where those good ones are for me!

Comment by Oscar Matos Linares on November 5, 2015 at 5:00pm

Thank you

Comment by yvonne holland on November 5, 2015 at 4:26pm

Wish you all the best in Columbus! Safe travels, my friend! :) 

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