The Columbus Art Festival http://columbusartsfestival.org/ came and went. The best part of the trip was the fact that I spent some great quality time with my son Ed. He was a great help during the show, and it makes me proud to be his dad. I received many great compliments about him, so I think Jen and I did something right in raising him. I forgot to take some photos of him and I together. Next time I’ll remember to do that!
I walked the show a few times and was overwhelmed with quality art everywhere. There were some amazing glass sculptures, awesome photography, wood crafters, mixed media illustrators and of course traditional painters. Best of all, Leah Alters was a gracious host and show director. She was helpful, personal and went out of her way to make sure my needs were met while attending.
During my days exhibiting at the festival, I was particularly impressed with some stand out artists. I’m not going to plug them too much but I’m going to list them here so that you can also enjoy their work. First and foremost in the list was my booth neighbor, Daphne Covington http://www.daphnecovington.com She does wonderful abstract oil paintings and was a hoot to hang out with all weekend. I hope we can be booth neighbors again someday. If it wasn’t for her and Ed, I would have lost a lot of art or worse when the deluge hit Saturday night. Before I get to the other artists, I want to talk about tent weights.
Good tent weights are like good insurance, you will wish you had them when it’s too late. Last year I reluctantly spent the money on a set of Happy Feet weights: http://happifeet.com/ They’re not cheap, but they look great and are by far; hands down, the best tent weights money can buy. Made by artist Cindy Gordon, for artists, they kept my tent on the ground against some very severe wind gusts somewhere around 50-60 mph.
Also if you are thinking about exhibiting, be sure you’re insured as well. There were some artists who lost everything at the Columbus show. Have a backup plan if your willing to risk your heart and souls work on the randomness of weather.
Ok back to the artists I wanted to mention.
Robert Flowers – http://www.robertflowersart.com
Geoffrey Harris – http://geoffreyaaronharris.com
James Petran – http://www.artsiowacity.org/artist/jpetran/jpetran.htm
Phillip Nolley – http://phillipnolley.com/
All of them do fantastic work, and I enjoyed talking art shop with each of them. I plan on beginning my personal collection with work from each of these artists. I did buy a few small glass pieces from Nolley that I will be incorporating into a few new paintings. Hopefully him and I can continue to work together to bring his 3D glass into my 2D watercolors. I hope to get some transparent marbles from him soon. :-]
Columbus also showed me what superior booth presentations look like. I saw some very amazing looking setups and you can tell what people have been doing this for a while. Good festival tents look uniform, neat, and are very inviting to look at. I’ve picked up a few ideas to continue to improve my setup. I think every show will be better as far as presentation goes. Sales continue to be the low points in the shows I attend. The bad economy isn’t helping anything either. I have four shows left, maybe a fifth if I get into the Bloomington Indiana festival and that will end the season for me. I feel like I’m pulling a boat anchor up hill sometimes.
It’s hard to keep doing things when the effort has no payoff. The next four shows need to put me in the black or I’m going to re-examine and re-prioritize for 2012. The festival venue may just get shelved. There is still hope though. I’ve been contacted by The Galiara in San Francisco http://www.galiara.com/ They are interested in showing my art there, so I’m pretty excited about that. I have plans to send them a good body of work in the early autumn and keep it there or a rotating stock if they will allow.
More on this later.