Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Halfway Mark

I just realized that I have finished 5 shows and I have 5 more to go. I reduced my season this year; due to my gallery show (back in April) and teaching gigs, I didn't think I could handle my usual number of shows. With the "recession" (oh my goodness how I hate to utter that word out loud), I didn't quite know what to expect but I have been blessed with abundance all year long.

Until now, that is.

Geneva was not kind to me or to others. I know a few people who did ok. But not me.
If you read my blog regularly, you usually read my Pollyanna point of view and sure, I am all that. But today I am going to share some of the guts of this business with you and tell it like it is.

The booth fee for the Geneva show was $280. Gas costs were approximately $120 . I shared a Priceline hotel with a friend. My part was $140. I ate. Duh. Not a lot, my food was maybe $100 because I packed some of my own stuff.

I had one sale. $285. I think this was my worst show ever, like in all the years I've been doing shows. Peoria (click here for my write up) wasn't even this bad. Nor was that crazy Boca Raton Museum show, back in 2006. That's the one where the dogs were wearing better clothes than me.

Yep, I lost money. Sometimes I think that artists are just insanely optimistic. Doing the shows feels a little bit like gambling. Except its a lot more work. Drive 6 hours, set up tent. Sit with work for 2 days. Keep smile on face. Do not show desperation. Tear down tent. Drive home.

You should see the bruises on my legs, from bashing myself with tent poles (ok, ok, so I'm a klutz). My back and neck are killing me from the drive and the tension of it all. And I am just so thoroughly bummed out. My next show is Lake Geneva, WI. I am very pleased that I'll be staying with a friend and I've asked John to come with me. I know I can do the tent part myself, but I need him for emotional reasons as I'm feeling a little raw right now.

On a happier note, here is a pic of me and Crystal Neubauer. She is my new stalker. I say that with great affection cause you know years ago Beth was my stalker? And look at how we ended up being great friends! Anyhoo, I love it when folks come to see me. It is especially nice to see a friendly face when I am having a cruddy show. So thanks Crystal & Larry.


  1. thanks for sharing the cruddy part of the glamorous life. i know that raw feeling behind the fake smile. it is a HUGE comfort to know that the best of the best sometimes feel it too.

  2. I applaud your honesty here, MB. Yeah, being an artist takes more work than folks realize, I think. Being a successful artist?... Well, that's 24/7 baby. (I know you fall into the latter category.) Hang in there.

  3. I'm happy to be considered your stalker - if I can't look at your art hanging in my living room right now, I'll have to be content with looking at it in your booth.
    I'm sorry it was such a bummer of a show for you. I hope things turn around soon.

  4. hee hee...
    stalker alert !
    can I still call myself that ?
    I kind of like's the rebel in me...the nasty know what I mean !

    and holy shit...what a shitty show !
    I love geneva and that whole area, so like what's up with the low sales I wonder ?

    I think the madison show did amazingly well this would be interesting to ask anyone you know... how they did....
    I mean people were like grabbing things out from other people...lines to pay for stuff and things gone in 45 minutes when I went to look at them one more time with the idea of buying them....
    it was the craziest I've ever seen !

    I'd love for you to come back to that one again...really, I would...we'd even do dinner again with two lovelies !

    let me cross my fingers for you for lake geneva...I might make it over there...and if I do...I'll be in camo wear...hidding in the bushes outside your tent !

  5. Hey sweetie,
    You are so beautiful in and out -- thank you for sharing the "darker" side of the business. This economy is so very rough.

    Your artwork is stunning and unique!


  6. Sorry for the cruddy show. That's how it has been around here too. No one is selling anything. I'll be glad when it's over.

    On the bright side, all the people who passed by your stuff saw your name and will remember your lovely paintings. That puts you closer to the next sale than those who aren't out there working it.


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