Spring has sprung and I have been busy in the studio. April has been a really good month for me in terms of exposure. My work has been hanging on both the clean, white walls of a gallery as well as the homemade, slightly crooked, fence-like walls of my mobile art exhibit that I use when I do a festival. Let me tell you, those festivals are hard work, but first, let’s talk about those white walls.
VAE in Raleigh had a juried show titled Common Goods. The idea was that the artists would utilize everyday items as their medium or content to create their work. My friend (who is a Durham native) Ann Tilley had mentioned she was working on a piece for this exhibition and encouraged me to submit something. Ann’s work is phenomenal. She submitted two fiber pieces that were both accepted and an image of her work was even used to promote the event. I figured that the book covers I have been working with recently would be the perfect fit for this show. I painted a buck knife on one cover and a teddy bear on another. Although they are two separate paintings, they were designed as a diptych to hang side by side as one artwork. On the teddy bear I wrote ‘Protect’ and on the buck knife I wrote ‘Defend.’ I titled the piece ‘Weapons of Mass Protection.’ The idea was that as a child you felt protected and safe as long as you had your safety blanket – a teddy bear. As an adult, the teddy bear gets substituted for a sharp pocket knife. I was really happy when it got accepted. The opening reception was on April 3 and it was a lot of fun for the family to attend. The show wraps up this week, so check it out if you’re around the Triangle.
I also had my art tent up at the Azalea Festival a couple weeks ago. This was my first experience with this festival in Wilmington, NC. We unloaded and set everything up on Friday and were prepared for business the next day. The weather was perfect, the city was beautiful, my location was great and the people who attended the festival were very kind. But, it was not the right festival for my artwork. Things didn’t go the way I had hoped and to be honest, I only sold a few paintings. I didn’t even make enough cash to cover my booth fees. I won’t lie about it – it is really hard to put your work out and miss the mark the way I did that weekend. It’s a hard pill to swallow. Luckily for me, my family was there and very supportive as well as some of our lifelong friends who traveled from Virginia to spend the weekend with us.
So this month has been full of high highs and low lows. Getting accepted into a juried show gives you a feeling of validation, but putting out a years worth of paintings and having to pack them all up to go home afterwards sucks a lot of wind out of your chest. I have taken a week off and done a lot of thinking, but nobody ever has all the answers. I’m learning and hopefully I will figure out a better plan of attack for next time.