Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Some Festival Trivia

The Festival Life for Me

Upcoming! http://www.bellevuearts.org/fair/

As the story goes, I had a real job once! Armed with a Masters in Exercise Physiology and a lot of energy, I managed health education programs for a large insurance company and later for a rehabilitation facility. Then I started making art seriously and found myself enamored with the process of creating something from nothing. I struggled to take the leap into full time art because I liked helping people fix their aching backs, quit smoking, lose weight and manage lifestyle diseases. But I eventually couldn't stop myself from diving head first into the art world.

Once in art, I found that the "art scene" wasn't really my cup of tea so I kept finding ways to make myself fit in. Calls for entries helped build a nice resume of exhibits both in US and abroad; groups kept me motivated and involved with other printmakers. Then one fateful day, I entered into an art festival, a small local affair. I showed my artwork on clunky easels made with plywood; I shaded myself with an umbrella; I didn't sell hardly anything...but I was hopelessly hooked.
My "brag-wall" with mementos and awards from festivals

That was 1998, fast forward to now and I am planning a 1000-mile drive to Bellevue, Washington to participate in one of the most coveted art festivals in the West US. I have an indoor and outdoor setup, a modified truck to carry my wares and a trailer just in case I take off on a blissful two-festival run sometime again. The "good" festivals are few and far between and are competitive to enter so I am happy to travel wherever the collectors like to shop.
Kings Mountain Festival, California, they let you camp in your booth!

  • Thus far I have participated in some 200 festivals
  • Longest drive to a festival was 1300 miles one-way
  • Income lowest was $142, highest $12K
  • Longest festival 7 straight days, 10 hours each day
  • Worst experience in Scottsdale, Arizona, festival cut short one day, overcome by rain and wind, got caught in a desert flash flood on the return trip
  • Best experience in Colorado, a two-festival trip (Breckenridge and Castle Rock); between the festivals I stayed in a State Park campground where I was the sole happy camper aside from deer, elk, bunnies, birds and other forest dwellers

Sleepy booths in Fountain Hills Arizona

The Road Awaits

One of my favorite things about the chaotic festival life is traveling and seeing the great scenery go by. Desert, forest, mountains, farms, cities, rivers and railroad tracks...I become mesmerized by the getting there and the variety of things and people along the way. The first anxiety of a festival is getting to the destination in one piece with all my artwork and setup intact. Road travel is like a meditation, I love driving; I marvel at the fact that there is pavement between almost any two points in this vast country.
For my European friends, Vegas to Bellevue is about the distance from Barcelona, Spain to Hamburg, Germany, give or take a click.
Bellevue, Washington, here I come!
I took my Mami to a show and we took this pic in Nevada

Upcoming! http://www.bellevuearts.org/fair/

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