There's a lot that goes into any artist show. Much more than most people would think. I know, because before I was an artist, before I had any kind of show, I went to art shows. Decades and decades of art shows. As an art show viewer and buyer, I went and looked and, sometimes, bought. I was on the outside side of the experience.
Now that I've been an artist showing in exhibits, galleries and open studios, I am on inside of the experience. I work and work and work to make art for a show. Sometimes this work takes days, weeks and, yes, even years. Because everything I've ever learned or drawn or painted or sculpted or thrown or sewn or beaded all feeds whatever I'm creating and showing now.
Being an outsider and, now, an insider gives me a unique perspective.
From the outside, I see the show as an overall experience. Is it overwhelming? Is it too loud? Too crowded? Do I immediately see art that intrigues me? Do I feel a sense of curiosity? Do I want to explore more or get in and get out? If I have found treasures before, I look forward to more. Some shows feel warm, cozy and inviting. Others feel cold, competitive and uncomfortable.
From the inside, I see the show as a personal experience. Is it fun? Is it friendly? Is there enough work for the visitors? Will they see something they love? Will I answer their questions? Will I help them connect to art with their hearts and their budgets? Will I be able to connect with other artists with support and community? If I've sold before, I look forward to selling well again. Some shows feel good and fun and easy. Others feel difficult, stressful and tiring.
At my shows, I feel a bit torn. As an insider, I wish for connections and appreciation and, yes, sales. As an outsider, I wish for an open, warm and inviting experience.
This weekend, as one artist in Portland's Ceramic Showcase, a large, local ceramics show, I hope for both.
Will it happen? I don't know.