A TRIBUTE TO THE ART FAIR FOLKS
I am struck by the amount of sacrifice it takes ... and the number of people involved ... so that Art Fair exhibitors can bring you their art. Having exhibited in a number of shows this summer , I can fully attest that there is a lot of hard work, by a lot of folks, that goes into it.
It's different, when you visit an Art Show as a visitor. The tents are up, people are smiling and friendly, and it's a pleasant experience to hike around a show on a summer day, and scoot into the shady tents for some fascinating conversation with the vendors about their art. And chances are good, that the vendors will love interacting with you. Because they have dedicated themselves to bringing you their art, so they can add value to your life. It's a very intimate conversation they are having with you, because they are offering you not only their art, but a very large piece of themselves.
Angie with a happy patron, Carla the nurse.
Something not obvious on the surface, are the hundreds of local volunteers...that happily give up their weekend to make sure the vendors can bring you their art. It's a community event...and the community gets involved. Even a local celebrity lent her time at the Chagrin Falls Show recently.
Jan Jones, a well-known Newscaster from Channel 5, Cleveland ... lent her time to "booth sit" for vendors ... so they could take a break.
But the heart of the shows, for us vendors, is the folks who stop by our booth and spend some time with us. The joy we feel, when our art, and company, are appreciated ... goes beyond description. This in my view is the reason vendors go through all the sacrifice it takes to bring you their art. It's the appreciative visitor. We'll never forget the people who we've met in the booth. Old friends popping in to surprise us, and there are new friends made also, some who will probably end up being life-long friends.
These are sacred times really. People make the shows.
Some new friends were made at the Legacy Village Show, and they were kind enough to stop at our booth the next weekend in Chagrin Falls. And it was so nice seeing them again. Was like old home week.
It was so nice to see Harlan & Jennifer, and Harlan's daughter, stop in to chat at 2 different shows!
Sometimes, the appreciation for your art, takes an unexpected turn. Like when a visitor-watercolor artist wants to have the right to use your photography for modeling purposes, to make watercolor paintings. Wow, now that's a compliment of the highest sort. Especially when the artist does superb watercolors!
This is Bill Nadeau. His watercolor work is superb. Check it out at: www.williamnadeau.com
For me personally, as a photographer, nothing feels quite as good, as when someone is really touched by my work. Over and over again, unrehearsed moments like this woman stopping, and involuntarily pointing at a print, make indelible marks in my memory.
And of course, we can't forget to write about the fellow vendor-friends we made. Vendors go thru a lot to bring you their art, as I mentioned before. And there is a quick camraderie that develops among the men & women of the booths.
Debbi & Mike Homola had wonderful glass jewelry in the booth next door...hailing from Novelty, Ohio. (www.dlhomola.indiemade.com)
I remember one dear lady named Kate Jones, from Kadon Enterprises, Inc (email@example.com), who literally would climb over a 3 foot table to get into her booth...and she did it every show. And the setups & takedowns go completely unnoticed by visitors, because it all happens outside of show hours. It's not too different, in some regards, than the difficult work involved with moving a traveling circus, I'd imagine.
The last night of our last show, for instance, we had talked all day long and were literally exhausted. And then, in 90 degree heat, harsh afternoon sun, and lots of dust flying, we faced the daunting task of breaking down the booth, and packing it into the Sienna that evening. Heavy steel support poles, heavy prints...wow, it was what caused us to rethink things, & to make it our last show regrettably. That's how radical the work is...and how much sacrifice is necessary.
Why do I say all this? Because it dawned on me, that many hundreds of artists, older & younger, do all this taxing work week after week. My, we lasted 2 weekends, and decided it was a little beyond us physically to keep up the pace. Granted we are older, and retired, but the task of tearing down after a hard day, would cause a young person to search out the Motrin bottle afterwards!
So I would like to pay high tribute to the men and women of the Art Shows! For their heart, their fortitude, their determination to look past the challenging work. It takes a lot to be a traveling Art Fair Artist. And Angie and I are extremely glad we had the experience. And we're super-glad we made so many wonderful friends in the process. We sadly leave so many wonderful artists to their work at the Shows, but we have no regrets for the value added to our lives by knowing them!