To quote Bugs Bunny “and that’s all folks”, it is done, my annual 15 minutes of being a medium size fish in a very small pond has once again passed. I spend most of the year preparing for this 3 week show, take the best I have to offer and hope that at least a few people accept it. And if I do say so my self I was very happy with what I was able to present this year, I was also very happy with the amount of people that took the time to come out and view it. But it is over.
Post show blues, I believe, are a common thing amongst artists and for me it is an odd mixture of relief, disappointment and guilt. It is a great relief to have survived the necessary social interaction that I so fear, the stress that builds up to even coming in to set up the show is often overwhelming. My daughter brought me to the city on Thursday so that I could do a close down meet and greet that evening and then pull the show down on Friday. Once we had the work loaded in the trailer and the van she suggested that we stop for lunch before she drove me home. I just couldn’t do it, I was almost physically ill, I needed to get out of the city and back to the place were I belong. Fortunately on the highway home there is a little Gas and Convenience shop that serves absolutely terrific home cooked to go meals and has a couple of tables if you choose to stop and eat there. The added benefit is owned by a wonderful couple and is very much in my comfort zone, we had a great lunch, visited with the staff and the owner and some my world started to return. The stress will slowly drain over the next week or so, I will sleep 12 to 14 hours a day for a few days and spend most of the rest of the time watching TV and reading and will become me again soon.
The disappointment arises from finding out I am not as famous as I like to believe I am and that there wasn’t line ups at the door to see my work. No not really, I actually have little desire for fame and notoriety, I do wish that more people would notice and purchase my work but have no desire to be well known (that may be a bit of a white lie but I keep telling it to myself and and keeping the story). The disappointment was, this year, as in the last three, sales just didn’t make the mark. This year was a significant improvement over last year but still fell far short of what was needed to keep this going. There was enough to cover some of the bills but the cut off date for the power bill is still looming for next week with nearly $700 still owing and I still need to fill all my welding tanks and purchase rods and grinding discs and the like to keep the studio open. This leads directly to the third and last emotion of the list.
Guilt, firstly my children take major time out of their lives to make this show work for me. This year it was my youngest daughter Amy who spent the entire show running me around, setting up, tearing down, and all the odd little things that just seem to need to be done. She did all this with with a 2 year old and a 2 month old in tow, and I am the one that complains about being stressed. Both my children have always been the strength that has kept me going and with out them I would be completely lost. The other sector that keeps me going is that small group of artists and supporters that turn out every time and often drive many miles to show their support. For the most part they are also the largest purchasers of my work and without them I would likely starve. The biggest origin of guilt is my absolute incompetency with money. The power bill should have been the first paid but I was sure that the sales would build and instead of that I paid several other bills first and as much as I hate to admit it spent some of the money less than wisely (read cigars), now I have several justifications for this but the truth is most of my calamities are of my own making and then I am reaching out try to find a way to continue on. This part of what I am and in 40 years it has remained consistent and somehow I always find my way past whatever problem I create, will it change, not likely, will I continue to feel bad about it, for sure.
For all practical purposes my studio will be closed for a bit, I have lots of work that needs doing on the house and yard for now. But until I can cover the bills and refill the consumables that I need to create there will be little or no art for the time being. It quote my ever understanding landlord “it is what it is” so for now I will concentrate on trying to get the power bill paid and put together a bit of cash for the other stuff and will once again carry on.
Thanks to all who take the time top read my ramblings, this blog was originally intended to give people an insight into the life of one artist and the path I chose. I do try not to look for sympathy although often when I read my own blogs that seems to be what they do. In spite of the difficulties (especially the self inflicted ones) I live a life that I choose and would not exchange it for any thing. Be good to one another, we are people of one planet and all deserve to be treated with love and kindness.