The Creative Endeavors Thread Hits The Streets

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Welcome once more! The “’Paper Chase’ Guy” hosting this week, with an update on creative affairs this weekend.

Friday afternoon, I packed up a number of paintings and drawings, all suitably framed and whatnot, and headed over to a local coffeeshop for my first ever public exhibition. It was a “sip and shop,” anchored by one local artist who teaches classes at one of our galleries and featuring a number of folks who sold everything from honey to paper flowers (with painting, prints and tchotchkes in between). Everyone was friendly and welcoming (though I’m still wondering whether some of the participants’ enthusiasm was—perhaps understandably—tinged with condescension given my own technically ragged painting style), and I had a good time hanging out and making drawings as potential “party favors” to hand out just in case anyone bought one of my framed pieces.

“Spotting Runs,” possibly to make its way soon to a friend in DC

The latter failed to happen, but I wasn’t much let down (I’d have been ecstatic if somebody had bought one, let alone more); given that it’s the very first time my work’s ever been in public meatspace (as opposed to Instagram or Facebook), there was first the existential thrill to know that I was actually out there, and second the moments when people came by to look and nod approvingly (or otherwise) or make pleasant comments about my work, even if they didn’t buy anything. In retrospect, though I felt good about the prices I put on the paintings, I’m still wondering whether I priced the drawings a little high, even if I followed an apparently common formula for this sort of thing ($100 for acrylics, $75 for watercolors and gouaches, and $50 for drawings; wondering if it’d have made a difference lowering the latter to $30, or if I should have graded myself on a negative curve across the board just for being a first time exhibitor). Regardless, there’s a real charge to actually seeing people interact with your work, and it really took me a long way.

The one real disappointment, and a mild one at that, was that only two of my friends showed up to say hi. The time wasn’t auspicious (Friday afternoon and early evening, when the neighborhood turns into one of our most notorious traffic snarls), and my social circles have grown admittedly diffuse (many parents and nine-to-fivers), but it would have been nice if a couple more people swung by (there were few enough in the first place). That said, the two who showed up—the woman in whom I’m sort of interested, as well as my friend and former crush—were two of the people I’d have most liked to see, so I’m not especially hung up on this (I’ve had conversations as well on the reciprocity of interest with other friends before, given that I move or moved in a lot of artistic and musical circles, and there’s really not much you can do about that, nor does it help to dwell thereon).

Given how much I’d worked myself up, there was a weird lack of euphoria afterward, more a lot of reflection (cut into my planned evening as a result, though I was able to swing by a co-worker’s farewell party later that night if just for a bit). I’m starting to think a lot about my relative lack of space; if I owned a house with a basement or something, I’d merrily paint until I was out of surfaces or material (and now that I’ve learned comic book backs work great with acrylic, my supply of the former may have just doubled), but I don’t, and, though I’ve still got a ways to go before this pinches at all, it’s something I’m trying to put in mind now while I’ve still got plenty of time to think.

The organizer encouraged me to submit my work as one of three featured artists for next month, and I’ll be emailing her this week. So one way or another, I’m putting myself out there now. If all goes smoothly, I might take my mom’s friend in Wisconsin up on her offer to check out a submission, and I might have a relative contact at another local venue which I’ll try and follow up before the new year. Either way, I may have found a way to keep my pieces in relative circulation while I work on this storage thing. The new year’s shaping up to be potentially interesting (and mildly terrifying).