Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
First off, it is me, Nels Johnson, writing this. It says Ellen Marshall, my wife, but I am writing on her computer and it logs into AFI as Ellen. (My computer is "migrating" at the Apple Store, into a newer model--one that is guaranteeing me 100-per cent acceptance rate at all shows I apply to, heck, I bought three of them, gonna give a couple to my special friends, after I get done "certifying" them.
Well, in our household this past weekend Ellen took off for Winter Park and I got to go to Lakewood Ranch--whoopee!
Ellen got the better deal.
I showed up at the ranch early Saturday morn to set up my booth. This show is held in tight quarters, you almost have to squeeze between booths to get to another area. In past years I have had a lovely corner where I could park the van and dolly right to. Naturally I asked for the same spot.
But no, I was assigned the spot from hell. I noticed at least four other artists had their usual spaces, but not me. First off, you could not get your van even remotely close to the space--think an easy two-block schelp. Then you would have to squeeze your Magline Cart thru very narrow openings to get to the spot.
I demurred. I asked if there was anywhere else they could stick me. The director said "Nada" and then I said "Aloha", see ya and I was down the road, no show, no income, no booth refund, but that's show biz sometimes.
I did get to play golf both days instead and won a grand total of $64.20 in my league which I promptly applied to drinking green beer and green Jack Daniels manhattens.
Meanwhile Ellen had one of her best Winter Parks ever. She killed them on opening day and at showend she had a lot of empty spaces on her walls.
I think the majority of artists had a great show there. And why not? It is still one of the top Florida shows to do.
One distressing thing about the show. Many lucky artists set up in front on the street--primo spots. Others are in the park and some places there suck royal canalwater.
In the rear of the park they have artist booths lined up to the edge of the sidewalk on both sides. This creates ahuge logjam of people coming thru without being able to really see much. Artists suffer. Why doesn't the show let the booths set back from the sidewalk. I mean they have only been doing this show for 40 years or more. But that is Winter Park for ya. Those people know best.
While on the golfcourse on Saturday I got a call from Teri Cusey telling me about the Les certification deal.
I went online later and read the thread. Pretty amazing, over 3000 views on it. Thank God people actually weighed in on the subject. Very enlightening.
Let us just say a well-intentioned idea has been thoroughly vetted and found to be not sustainable. You gotta hand it to Les he is always thinking of new ways to improve the lot of us fellow artists. Personally, I think most of his ideas stink, but that is my own personal opinion. He takes a too elitist position for my taste. Personally, I wish he would take up serious gardening and quit being so involved in so many shows.
In our biz nobody gets to be king but it sure looks like he feels he is. Well, you know what happens to most kings. Enough said. There were great discussions and opinions got aired.
Some good came out of all that.
About Barry Cohen. It is a heart-breaker. I worry about something happening to me every time I get in my van and go to a show. You gotta be diligent, check your equipment, check those tires, check those brakes--and most importantly--wear your darn seatbelt! that is so crucial.
I never knew the man, saw him at a lot of shows, he will be sorely missed.
Ironically, I see where Connie reposted my blog I did after Boston Mills last summer--dealing with feelings of mortality.
The really good thing about our biz is we all usually have good things to look forward to. It keeps our engines running in high gear.
In less than two months, Ellen and I will be heading to Saugatuck,MI where we live during the summer season, leaving Ybor City, its chickens and its heat far behind.
I got a solid summer schedule to build on. Just got Boston Mills, Virginia beach and Artstreet this past week to go along with Krasl, Columbus and A,B&E. Now I am filling in the holes.
Still got six more shows to do here with downtown Naples next.
Get to hit off real grass up north makes the golf game a lot more enjoyable.
I have lot to be thankful for and I think we all have lot to be thankful for. Enjoy the moment, take deep breaths and hold onto to it for as long as you can.