Art Shows – Where do I go from here?

I live in an area where it sometimes seems that the only people that care about art are other artists. Art is the first thing cut in schools. Art is something you can do after you get home from your “real” job. To be an artist here feels like an uphill battle since there aren’t a lot of opportunities locally to show and sell art. There are events that pop up through the year but they are geared more towards crafts. I’ve done some of those shows. Selling mostly books and cards while wedged in between the guy who sells local honey and a doTERRA Vendor.

I have worked on a variety of paintings over the past few years. My work has both improved and become more consistent. I’m encouraged by my progress and very happy with the fact that I won Best of Show at two different art fairs. My plan had been to build up enough inventory to travel outside my area and start doing larger shows. Unfortunately, that plan isn’t going to pan out. My work is good enough to get into them but even doing local shows takes too much of a toll on my body.

Show Day

Getting up at 4 a.m. to travel to a show, spending hours putting up the tent and staging the booth, a long day in the sun, or wind, or rain, it’s not for the faint of heart. Art For All is a local show held late June each year. It is on a Saturday. Another show, also called Art For All, is held the next day a little over an hour from us. Many artists do both shows and we had entertained the thought of doing both at some point. In my dreams, it would be possible … and then there is that thing called “Reality”. It takes me nearly a week to recover from doing an art show. Shows would not even be possible without George, my partner in crime.

George with tent frame top
George – setting up the tent

It is kind of a joke each year when we say maybe next year we will add that second show of Art For All on Sunday. Then Sunday morning comes around and we just laugh because we both feel like we were hit by a truck. We aren’t going to be able to leisurely drive over and walk through the show let alone be in it. Recovery time takes longer when you are older. Plus, I battle some autoimmune issues that don’t play well with activities that push my limits. Powering through is not an option … as that can quickly turn into falling apart.

Paying the Price

So why do I do shows at all when I pay such a high price? Sales are great but it isn’t just about sales. It is because I get to meet such cool people! I think of the young girl that loved my whimsy art. She likes to draw cartoons and wants to be an illustrator when she grows up. Also, the 10-year-old boy that stood in my booth studying my landscape paintings and asking me about different parts of the paintings. How do you make it look like that? I enjoy talking to young artists, they are very special people. Winning awards is also pretty cool.

Brady Nelson and Kathy Kuczek
Brady Nelson and Kathy Kuczek – Best of Drawing and Painting Award

The question for 2019 is “Where do I go from here?” If adding shows is not an option for me then I need to try something new. Promoting my work online will be a whole new ballgame with new opportunities and new skills to learn. Every day’s a school day and apparently you “Can” teach an old dog new tricks. I am looking forward to this new challenge.