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How to work magic?

party doodle

party doodle

You wouldn’t expect a witch to go straight to college after finishing first grade, would you? Even if the witch is talented–which is by no means agreed upon in all quarters–the experience gap between her and her classmates would be vast. Unbridgeable you might say.

So my first art show was a success (by my measure anyway). And one friend wants to me to get a booth in the Art City Austin fine art festival. Since he’s on the Board, his was not a random thought. What? Is he serious? Several of my friends and my husband are all–YES!

But I’m looking at the details. The booth fee is $475. I don’t have $475. Then I’ve got have a “booth shot.” What is that? And I’ve got to supply the “lighting system.” I suspect this isn’t at Best Buy for the price of a latte.

So. Opportunity. Risk. Exposure. Money. Delusions of grandeur? The application deadline is Halloween. Perfect timing. I’m now guaranteed a good scare.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in your creative life?

12 thoughts on “How to work magic?

  1. I think that if you can find a way to come up with the money to go – that you should do it! The saying goes… (or the cliche?) that from the biggest risks come the greatest rewards. In my creative life I’m only on the edge of thinking about taking that big risk – of moving away from the corporate world and onto a world of working for myself. That’s a scary idea! I’ve only just started the corporate (food chain) as a hard working (puppet) and I am already feeling the desire to break free and live and breathe newness! So if you have the chance to try something big to get some great exposure – find a way to get there – and best of luck!!

  2. I’m still a novice at the whole show scene too; in fact, I gave up on it for a while and I’m just starting to think about getting back in.

    Here’s what I’ve learned so far: The booth shot is a picture of how you plan to set your booth up, preferably how you set it up at a previous show, but if you have to do it in your back yard and take pictures, that’s better than nothing.

    It sounds like this is a juried show, which means there are judges who will decide if you’re professional enough and if you fit in with their idea of what the show is about. There might also be a prize awarded for the best artist in the show, that depends on the organizers.

    The idea of judges sounds scary, but it’s actually good, because it means (hopefully) that it won’t be a garage sale-type show where the visitors are interested in the best deal they can get, rather than real art. So if you can scare up the money, then this could be a great opportunity for you. If you don’t feel like you can put together a professional booth yet, or you don’t have enough product to earn back that much money, don’t waste your application fee.

    Okay, that was a lot of free advice from a complete stranger, so do with it what you will. 🙂 I’m a visitor from Vanessa’s Halloween party and I have to say I like your blog template — in fact I used it myself until I moved to my self-hosted site. 🙂

    Christine Kane writes a good blog for people like us, if you haven’t seen it. http://christinekane.com/blog Happy Halloween!

  3. Wow. Great opportunity. Scary, yes. I think you should research the whole thing a little more before you make your commitment. The more you know, the less scary it seems. And I know how a fee like that could make one quail. And then, think about the time invested to this. How much would you have to sell in order to break even or make a profit? I have to admit that if I were in your position, I would be feeling overwhelmed. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

    My biggest creative risk was quitting teaching to pursue art and writing. I still am not sure if it was the best decision, because 5+ years later I’m still in the same place (although now I have kids) and I still have a couple of years to see if it works out.

    But maybe we do need to jump in with both feet, and the check book.

  4. Tea Rose, all important things to think about. To be clear, the fellow on the board is allowed to choose one artist (ONE!) for the festival to skip the jury. That feels a bit like cheating to me but is also a relief. And I think his motivation isn’t that he believes I couldn’t pass a jury (which may or may not be the case) but that he wants to pick an artist–if that makes sense. So, the jury thing won’t be the main issue.

    As for the booth shot–this means I have to have a booth already, right? I mean, I can’t go to the coffee shop where my stuff currently hangs and take snaps there obviously. So this will be the cost of a booth? I’m thinking not only the fees, but the cost of getting the booth and lighting system and supplies and making enough pieces for a show that is five months away and, and, and…

    The sensible thing would be to say no. But part of me wants to give this a try. Sigh. I am however not rich. And in this economy who is going to buy art?

  5. Yikes. I can see the dilemma(s). Jump, or hold back?

    In 1990, newly divorced, I had my half of the proceeds from the sale of a house. (The good ol’ days.) Took a two-year leave of absence from work, moved to a state where I knew nobody at all, just to try writing full-time. (Well, perhaps I should point out that I was just about to turn 40… *cough*) Needless to say I was terrified when the money eventually started to run out — but I never went back. Was it worth it? Writing-career-wise, well, the jury’s still out and may always be. Satisfaction-, creativity-, and life-wise: oh yeah.

    It doesn’t seem in your nature to do, umm, ANYTHING without trepidation (which sounds eerily familiar to me, for some reason).

    And I know you just started the acting thing.

    Factor in the $$$ and I can completely understand the looming horror. 🙂

    Tough call. Part of me wants to say on your behalf, “Uh, sir, would it be all right if she waited until next year’s festival?” And part of me says, gee, things can change so fast… suppose it’s even harder next year than it is now?

    Let’s say the total cost is $600. If I wanted to spend that in one shot, I’d have to make it a credit-card purchase — and I’d probably negotiate with The Missus a reduced-scale Christmas list for myself!

  6. I also wonder what this would mean for your writing. How distracting would it be? Does that matter, or does pursuing your art feel like a valid path, rather than a veering away from the primary path? I ask because I twice wrote nonfiction books that were somewhat fulfilling but also kept me from starting my novel. I also took two other jobs that paid well but left no time for the novel. The real creative risk for me, was finally not letting anything else tempt me away from that goal. Of course, if this is a good time to feel your creative soul in other ways, then that’s a different story. In that case, I’d let the circumstances guide me: if the money comes your way, if there is a way to get the booth shot, etc. If the door opens, then walk through.

  7. One more thought: Maybe try not to think of this as your one and only shot. You’re an artist. There will be other shows if this one doesn’t work out.

  8. The biggest creative risk I ever took was starting my blog. You know how self-eviscerating my posts can be sometimes. Every now and then I put one up and even though I know it was the right thing to do for a variety of reasons, I want to throw up. They show my vulnerabilities. I hate being vulnerable. But I do it because I can, because it touches people and puts a salve of empathy on their vulnerabilities, and it has become my way of paying back the Universe for giving me an extended lease on this life.

    Congratulations on your Art Show!!! Do you have a little Internet nook somewhere around here where we could see your art and spread the word? I love buying art from up and coming artists for Christmas presents. Not expensive art, mind you, but I like supporting artists. This means you.

  9. Something to consider: once you get the supplies together for a booth, you will be able to use this over and over again at subsequent shows and art fairs. So you could use the income from your current show and factor in probable sales from future ones to work out the financing. Granted, it’s an investment and risk to begin with if you haven’t got the money up front, but look at the long run. At some point, you need to consider creating a website for your art with an artist’s statement and some images of your work. Do you own martapelrinebacon.com? Even if you’re not ready to set up a site, you can buy the url at GoDaddy for like $15 a year.

    Regarding your last question, I suppose the greatest risk in my creative life is moving from Syracuse to Austin without having a job or a place to live once I arrived. That move transformed me and opened up my life. It led me on the path that brought me to your friendship, and YOU showed me by example that I could delve into making actual art, which I began doing in 2002. The fact that I make anything at all is true solely because of your inspiration. The next biggest risk was doing Art Every Day Month starting in 2005. I was happily surprised by myself. 🙂

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