Art Shows and New Plans

I just have a few more things in regards to the show weekend....it's been an interesting week.  Monday the Acworth Festival directors sent out a survey for those of us who participated to fill out.  I didn't think a thing about it, filled it out very honestly and went about my day.  There were questions about sales totals, thoughts on the venue, thoughts on the visitors, thoughts about hotel, etc.  Basic stuff.  I didn't have anything bad to say.  I signed my name to the survey.  Well I'll be danged if by a day later we got an email from them saying they hear us, thanks for the feedback and the main concern on everyone's heart was the lack of sales.  Wow.  I mean, I didn't have stellar sales but I made some money.  But throughout the weekend I heard the rumble.  The, "this is the worst show sales ever for me" rumble.  People mad.  People not happy. 

Now, for many this is their way of living.  Their income.  Their life.  Many I've gotten to know over the years.   And their work.  And how their work has stayed the same, and their displays.   You see, with every show that rolls around I feel like I've gotta be like the Ringling Brothers and put on a new show.  A great show.  New products, new paintings, new banners, new displays.   It is......exhausting.  I think this crazy need to be over the top new is from being a retail owner.  I know as a buyer I always wanted to be wowed with new with every season.  But as an artist I need to remind myself that really what is inside me is just me.  There is not a team of designers, product developers or an endless flow of cash to create a new line behind me. 

The biggest thing I found this weekend was that many artists are desperately searching for a new way to survive.  Survive.  That's kind of a scary word for me.  I don't want to just survive.  I want to thrive.  I want to be proud what I create and know that it is authentically from my heart and hands.  I am not going to compromise my style for the times or trends.  Or reduce prices because the venue suggests it.  Heck, would you take 20% off your paycheck this week?  Because when you ask an artist this, that is exactly what it is.  This perhaps seems random and out of nowhere, but we were also asked in the email to commit to coming back next year.  And although I didn't have terrible sales and had a lovely stay I am thinking that perhaps my time in the circus is over.  Really.

One friend said she's got to find a new way to make a living, that shows were wearing her out.  I laughingly said, "I think my new life found me".  Teaching is and always has been my lifeline to a whole-hearted life.  There were a few years where I tried to wear a few too many hats and fought the teaching hat.  But honestly this weekend put a giant silver lining on my way to finding true joy.  I'm glad I decided to embrace it.  And really, really look forward to sharing my "paint something" series with you.  (there is a page tab now at the top with information).  And maybe even an online class is in the near future.  Who knows.  Without the stress of getting ready for shows there is NO telling what I'll have time for now.  Oh, and yes....I am taking a year off from shows.  I mentioned this already to a few.  But now I am telling you.  Whew.  That was easy peasy.  You'll still find me in the galleries listed in the side bar.  And at Marist in October (for selfish reasons, that's my Christmas mad money show!  and it's already paid for).  But other than that, my plan is simple.  Teach and paint.  Paint some more.  And maybe more.  It is by far my favorite medium and it's time I showed it my full attention.  

Sending great big thank you's to all of you who have come out to support my shows in the past.  I am not going away.  Just plan to be coming at you from a different angle.  It's all a part of the big picture.  So join me.....paint with me.....and maybe even attend a workshop or two!  Looking forward to this new adventure!!


Anonymous said...

I love that you are doing this!
I am wondering though if you will still be at Dunwoody?
I will be signing up for 1 of your classes!

Felicia said...

Wow Jenni, I know how much fun shows are and I know how soul destroying they are when the sales barely cover the costs. I am taking my hat off to you here, big decisions!!
I am so looking forward to seeing what you do with all that time (sometimes I get exhasted just thinking about your week!)
I'd be very interested in an online class,
Enjoy your day!!

Isabel said...

Thats awesome:O) Ive done a few shows in the past but I get bogged down with trying to please and I did one last month and do not plan on doing but maybe one more this year I LOVE to just paint and paint what comes to me:O) look forward to your new adventures:O)

Rocky Cross Studio said...

Sounds wonderful! Please get the film rolling and make a video ....... I would love to purchase and online class to download!!!

Darcy said...

Totally get it - will you be in Dunwoody? If not are you going to list some of these gorgeous pieces in your etsy shop?


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