09/08/2007: "Big Night"
Anyone see the heartbreakingly good movie Big Night? The tagline goes "A failing Italian restaurant run by two brothers gambles on one special night to try to save the business."
That's kind of what last night reminded me of. OK, there were no major catastrophes; everyone at Annie Kaill's was fantastic. They provided the food and wine and hung the show. And there was a HUGE turnout. The only two photos used to announce the First Friday art openings in the local paper were *both* mine and Annie Kaill's paid for a popup-ad for the show on the homepage of the online version of the paper.
A ton of people from the University where I work showed up, the amount of support from my friends and colleagues was very impressive.
Did I mention my good friend Rod (who posts on this blog from time to time) a former roommate from Anchorage who lives in Tucson now, surprised me by flying in for one day for the show. That was really cool. He took a photo of one of the paintings on his cell phone and mailed it to his mom who phoned back right away that she wanted to buy it. YEAH!
One of the first people at the opening was a former student of mine who purchased the Bed of Ferns (woman with flowers in her blue hair) painting...I was excited, things seemed to off to an excellent start, four paintings sold by the actual start of the show...but then...that was it. Nothing else sold all night long.
Now, don't get me wrong, it's not all about sales. I got a lot of positive feedback from people including a young aspiring artist who asked me to autograph one of my business cards!
But at the end of the day it was such a let down. I guess if none of the paintings had sold early and then 4 sold during the opening I might feel better about it, it's all about expectations. These pieces are smaller and more affordable; I had an expectation (I'll admit it) that more would sale.
This is the first time I've had pieces displayed salon style, one on top of the other on one small wall. Some of the pieces were hung well below eye level...like, closer to thigh level. I feel like the pieces didn't have enough room to breath on their own.
But, that wasn't the gallery's fault, they only had so much room for First Friday artists. And I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity, a lot of people got to see my paintings and all my business cards got taken (I print images from the show on them)...and I had printed *a lot* of them.
So, you know. It was good...but a gallery that's also a gift store is a different environment for me. I'm used to it being all about me and my work on opening night. A lot of people just glanced at the work and went on to look at ceramic bowls, jewelry, or gift cards. So, it was weird. And there was another artist who had a better spot and some people seemed to come in, check out her show and then wander off to look throughout the rest of the store.
HEY! WHAT ABOUT ME OVER HERE!
It's always a little deflating after a show. All that hard work and after the gallery's commission I'll be lucky to break even.
The good news...rather than taking away a "why bother" attitude from the night, I feel more inspired to paint than ever. I'm already working on plans for my next show (in July 2008) and how to make it even better.
And one of the best things about this show was that it got me painting again, and taught me that I can have a healthy relationship and still be an artist. So, I guess I shouldn't be such a whiner, right?