I am licking my wounds right now and avoiding my credit card statements after the last two shows where I didn't even make expenses. Two shows which by all research should have been at least paycheck shows, and I'm all out of Xanax. What is an artist to do?
Setauket, a little village of wonderful demographics right next door to my hometown on Long Island, sorely disappointed in many ways, especially with the nighttime booth robberies. But I'll address that in another blogpost. I did well as a rookie art show artist here in 2008, and expected (perhaps delusionally, in retrospect) a sort of prodigal-daughter-returns-home kind of show. It was a dogwalk. There are some shows that urge me to take up pet portraiture again, because THAT would have sold. The shoes were here. The weather was perfect. The wallets stayed firmly out of sight. And every breed in the AKC was here too. I had some maddening nibbles from two interior designers, who of course did not have their business cards on them, one said she had a client on the Gold Coast who"didn't want a landscape, but something beachy" and my giant conch "was perfect". Now I know how guys feel with a case of blue balls.
Well, ok, I thought, this whole trip so far has been one good show, one bad show. Onto Montclair, NJ. Let's go wrangle this monster RV over the Cross Bronx Expressway and the GW into the well-heeled Jersey suburbs.
Did I say my prayers Friday night? Did I neglect St. Luke, the patron saint of artists? Should I have conducted a small animal sacrifice? Should I have bought far more cheap wine and cigarettes to numb the increasing panic as the hours ticked down to five o' clock Sunday?
Oy vey. (I can say this, I just back from Long Island and stuffed myself on good bagels and lox)
Howard and Rose did everything right. They advertised prolifically, and are wonderful people to boot. The show is in a great area. The weather again cooperated. But the dogwalkers ruled the day. Munks described in a recent post the vacancy in peoples' eyes, the absence of hope. My booth buddy neighbor said, "These people could walk off a cliff." I was not the only artist who didn't make expenses. I'm stymied, and more than a bit anxious. And I don't like the cheap red wine I'm drinking. I'm second guessing my decisions made earlier this year (completely sober, thank you) on where in New England to show my very New England beachy work. If it's true that it takes three years for an audience at a particular show to accept that you are here for real as an artist, well then, I'm screwed, because I'm basically unemployable at anything else.
So how do YOU prop yourself up after falling face first?