My work! At Corrick’s! In March!!!

march-show-card-1

So very last minute! I’m filling in for an artist who can’t participate.

Fortunately, as you who have visited my open studios know, I have plenty of stuff available to show. Like, a LOT. LIKE I COULD FILL THE WHOLE STORE (if they’d let me.) (But I don’t think that would be fair to Linda Sorenson.)  (BTW, oddly, I also know a New Hampshire artist named Linda Sorenson. This confuses me sometimes.)

But I digress.

The opening reception is Friday, March 3, from 5-7.

Come on by, say ‘hey’, I’ll be there with bells on. (Okay, no bells, but maybe a ponytail?)

 

 

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FINDING YOUR TRIBE

Today’s post, Finding Your Tribe, originally appeared on Fine Art Views, a daily art marketing blog for Fine Art Studios Online

 Unfortunately, artists are people, too.

 I remember the first time I did a major fine craft show.  It was amazing!

 Oh, sure there were the expected (and unexpected) obstacles to overcome. These shows are incredibly expensive to do—booth fees, meals, transportation, marketing. The realization that your track lighting issues are going to get even worse. The nerve-wracking experience of packing, set-up, break-down, and everything in between.

But then there is the wonderful side, and that’s all about the people. Gallery owners who really love your work. Show coordinators who eventually become good friends.

And finding your tribe.

At one event, a major national wholesale show, I met people I previously only knew through our conversations on a professional discussion forum. (Remember those? I miss them. Sort of. Keep reading!) I distinctly remember thinking, “I’ve found my tribe!”

 For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people who were creative makers, like me. People who took their work seriously. People who were true professionals (for the most part) about getting their art into the world.  People who focused on doing excellent work, who worked at their craft daily, who sent their kids to college and paid their mortgage doing the work of their heart. People who laughed, shared information readily, supported other artists.

It was a magical year.

After a year or so, though, a few chinks appeared.

There were people who took shortcuts in their process, making it all about the money.

There were people who copied, diligently.

There were people who resented “newbies”, angry about people who “hadn’t paid their dues,” people who were envious of newcomers who won accolades and awards so “easily”.

There were people who were envious. People who were intensely annoying. People with obvious mental health issues. People with egos so big, they took all the air out of any room they enterted.

I tend to accrue a lot of information when I try something new, and I love to share it. (In fairness, tru dat.) So a few people let me know I was an upstart know-it-all with a big head.

And a very few people went out of their way to be obnoxious, to the point of bullying.

Where was my tribe?? I felt broken-hearted.

It took me years to come to terms with this unpleasant knowledge. (I still struggle, I admit that freely.) And now I know this to be true:

Artists are people, too.

In fact, some of the factors that make for a successful (however we define “successful”) artist can make for a difficult human being.

We have to make your art a priority. We have to believe in ourselves, especially when times are hard. We have to trust our process, sometimes to the exclusion of everyone else’s process. We (sometimes) have to fight work hard for our place in the world.

Sometimes this means: We believe we are always Number One. We believe no one else’s opinions matter. We believe our way is the only way. We believe when someone else gets a bigger piece of the pie, we won’t get our own piece.

One summer, after a particularly grueling interaction with someone who was making my professional (and personal) life miserable, another artist finally said, “We can’t all be the Buddha.” “Hah!” I thought resentfully. “I’m just asking her to leave me alone!”

Unfortunately, we really can’t be the Buddha. And in my case, the Buddha would probably be, “Quit trying to fix/change/out-argue those people! You can’t win!”

Because life is filled with difficult people, and creative people are no exception. If anything, we get judged harsher because we are creative people, because we’re supposed to be happier, more fulfilled, livin’ the dream.

And so, instead, I try to see them as, not a problem to be fixed, but an obstacle to get around.

It’s hard. I want to be friends with everyone. (Don’t say it, I know. I know. I KNOW!!!) I have an open heart, and I keep forgetting to put up big effin’ fences when I need to. I consider myself a student of life, and pursuing my art has enriched me on all levels—especially the learning part!

So when it feels like you’ve been voted off the island, consider the source.

Do the people I know and trust support me? Or do they gently suggest I still have some growin’ to do?

Do these people really block my path? Or are they just an inconvenient moment in my life I have to get through?

Can I learn to truly see the good in people who kinda suck are not perfect? (Note: Please do not excuse or make up a story about people with extreme malignant narcissism/sociopathy. Just get away.)

And most important, when the weight of personalities lie heavy on me, I can always go to the sacred creative space of my studio, and get back to making the work of my heart.

Do you have a good story about how you dealt with a difficult person in your art career? Enquiring minds want to know!!

 

 

 

FULTON CROSSING OPEN STUDIO this Friday, 2/17 from 5-8pm

I’M STILL HERE!

You know you’ve reached a seminal point in your writing career when readers worry about you…. (in a good way!)

This morning I’m settled in to write my column for Fine Art Views (LINK). But of course, I had to check my email first (insert here the sound of precious time draining into the eternal bathtub of life in the internet age…)

And found a lovely note from a reader who wonders why I haven’t written anything for awhile. She’s worried about me!

I started to write a long reply and realized, hey!!! This would make a good blog post!

So Fairy Godmother, this is for you!

Our Big Move to California is the reason. Because we’re STILL in the process of settling in.

First there was The Call, that moment where we realized we both wanted to reboot our lives. Then there was the interminable stage of packing up our life, our possessions, and all our critters. Then there was the dreamy stage, where everything seemed to fall into place–everything happening just as we needed it to happen.

And now, the next stage. This past year has been the “…and then she woke up and it was all a dream” stage.

This is where the realities of life show up. Where we realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Where we realize that no matter where you go, there YOU are. That a life reboot is empowering, exciting, refreshing, inspirational. But also frustrating, exhausting, and more of the same.

Part of it is the political climate. (No matter what your politics, there are simply a lot of scary things going on around the world, let alone our country.)

Part of it is, literally, the climate climate–the near-Biblical rains and floods this California winter has brought. OK, yes, it’s not ice and snow and blizzards and sub-zero temps. But it’s rained almost every damn day since OCTOBER–44 inches of rain, and about 7 sunny days. Flooding (indoor flooding!), mudslides, highways and roads closed for weeks. Millions of treeas, especially redwood trees, with root systems compromised by the lack of rain, now standing for months on end in water-logged soil, now falling across roads, even houses, and killing people. The extremes of a vicious 3-year drought coupled with record rainfall has wrought ongoing havoc on the California landscape. (No, grapevines are not really aquatic plants.) Even I am now officially “Under The Weather”.

And part of it is our social climate. Both my spouse and I are going through some puzzling social issues, at work and in our private lives, that feel overwhelming. Even when people are being difficult, there’s something I can learn from the situation. And I’ve had some astonishing clarity about this lately. ButI’m not at a point where I can write or share them easily. I usually wait until things are settled, so no one in my personal life can say with certainty, “Hey, she’s writing about ME!!!”)

But the biggest factor for me personally is the overwhelming confusion that comes from having….THREE STUDIOS.

Please don’t judge. In my entire life as an artist, I have always only had one studio, either inside or outside my home.

Now I have 1) a studio in our basement that is in no way accessible to the public.

I have 2) a studio in the

studio door

My studio at South A Street.

SOFA arts district. In addition to my actual rent, I have other expenses associated with it, which add up quickly. It’s a sweet space, with a display window and good light. When things go right, it has the serendipity of people who happen to walk by, who go on to become wonderful customers.

But it is off the beaten path from the rest of the artists, and I’m here by myself down an alley (a dark, dark alley in the evenings.) And it has its own complicated social scene.

I have 3) a friend with a fantastic studio at Fulton Crossing, an up-and-coming artist collective, who is now sharing her DISPLAY space with me.

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I get wall space!

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LOTS of wall space!

It has the added benefit of am excellent salesperson who works the three galleries on the weekends. There are no “passer-bys” during the week, but many people drop in during the weekends. My work can be shown–and sold–even if I’m not there.

But it’s not my working space, and it’s not MY space. I’m a paying guest. I’m on the wait list, but it may be awhile before the right spot opens up.

Remember, I’m the person who had 23 pairs of scissors in ONE studio, because I kept losing them, right?

What do you think my life as a creative is like now??!!

Every morning I make my “to-do” list. Every morning I collect stuff from home, load it into my car, go to SOFA, unload, get stuff from there, load up, go to Fulton Crossing (LINK), unload…and realize I left this, that, and the other thing at home, or at SOFA. Or the thing I need for SOFA was at Fulton Crossing, or vice versa, or whatever. As in OH-MY-GOD-I-AM-LOSING-MY-MIND

AND, yes, there’s a sudden demand for my work with a few area galleries–and for the first time in several years, I HAVE TO MAKE MORE STUFF!! Which is a good thing, of course. :^)

Except…when I go to “make”, I’m usually missing something. Which could be at studio 1, or studio 2, or studio 3, when I’m at studio 2 or 3, or 1 or 3, or 1 or 2. OR IT’S RIGHT WHERE I AM, BUT I STILL CAN’T FIND IT!!!!

So it’s all good. But a lit-tul overwhelming. No, we don’t regret moving to California. It’s been an astonishing thing all around. Good for our souls, good for everything.

But the three-studio thing, I hope I get some insight into that, SOON.

Thank you for asking, Lori. And please send up a few prayers to the Goddess of Clarity, that She make take pity on me and make Her presence known.

In the meantime, here is my new studio sign, for open studio events.

luann-sign

I’m ready for everything!

Note how I’m using the studio door color of South A Street. But no address.

I’m ready for anything!

(Thanks to Dennis Bolt, who designs my postcards and my new A-frame sidewalk sign!)