As I sit here on Thanksgiving Day, during the lull that exists after the pumpkin cupcakes and white chocolate cranberry cookies have been baked but before the feasting and gorging begins at the family turkeython, I would like to send a little gratitude and thanks to all those who support my art.
White chocolate cranberry cookies!!! The pumpkin cupcakes are still waiting for their cream cheese topping and feel a little camera shy...seeing as how they're currently topless; it's understandable.
I have much to be thankful for this year*, but to stay art relevant, I would like to say without the support, enthusiasm, encouragement, motivation and inspiration of all you wonderful people, I would have succumbed to the naysayers** long ago. Without art, maybe I'd be better at my daytime desk job, but my little brain would implode in a spectrum of pigment and glitter.
Case in point: the lovely Brazilian Priscila who bravely selected my art to don her torso...FOREVER. I was FLOORED when I first received Priscila's email. And I believe my first words upon seeing her photo were: "HOLY SHIT." After the initial shock [I never dreamt the tattoo would be so large], I felt completely honored and humbled that my work connected with Priscila on such a personal and intimate level.
So, to keep this relatively short and sweet, thank you for helping this little budding artist...
Out of the blue...and from a complete stranger...I received an email with the above image attached to it. Apparently, the stranger had visited Houston back in the 80's and visited a friend of a friend's. During that visit, a little girl drew him this picture. Twenty-some-odd years later, the stranger found this drawing among his files and decided to Google this "Lisa Chow". Lo and behold, that Lisa Chow is me. All these years and I'm reunited with one of my earliest works. Funny how the universe works. =)
stay on the right track.***
*Husband, cat, Christmas music, run on sentences and peppermint mocha lattes just to name a few.
**The naysayers who tell me putting so much effort and energy into art is an impractical waste of my time. The naysayers who tell me art should be a hobby. The naysayers who advise me to be happy with 'enough'. To you, naysayers, I say...nay.
***This post's photo captions are epically long. But if you're like me, you love captions. Captions and footnotes.
First, thanks to all you wonderful people who made it out to WHAM this weekend! I heart you all! Even those of you who didn't bother to look at my stuff or who thought what you saw sucked. It's not your fault you have poor taste. I kid, I kid.
Anyways, with another WHAM under my belt, I can probably count the number of markets I've done on TWO HANDS. And with each market experience, I grow a little more sympathetic to my fellow art marketees. And, along the same lines, I learn a little more how to be an excellent art market shopper.
So I decided, why not divulge a few art market tips, tricks and little known insider secrets? Here's a handy little guide for art market frequenters and participators alike.
Lisa's Handy Guide to Markets*:
1. Setup is a bitch. I've likely stayed up all night getting things ready for the show and am running on fumes. I'm tired and I have to lug heavy boxes and artwork through parking lots, up stairs and down long corridors. And THEN, I have to dry my armpit stains, freshen my breath, wipe my mascara smears and make sure I'm presentable.
2. Break down is an even bigger bitch. I've likely stayed up all day entertaining you fine people and now I have to carry all the crap no one wanted home.
3. I'm hungry. All the time. Because I have no moment to eat. I love you. But you just keep coming. I take one bite and there's another person browsing my table.**
4. Don't feel pressured to buy. One of my favorite interactions from WHAM this weekend was when one fellow slowly cruised by my table, his smile growing increasingly larger and just before he walked off, he gave me a quick double thumbs up.
5. Take my business card. I'm a picky shopper too, so I understand if you're just not in a shopping mood or you can't decide on the spot. Take my card, go home, think about it, view my website, email me to tell me my work rocks, Facebook fan my page, bookmark my blog, buy my things online and call me up to say you'd like to commission new pieces to decorate your entire 5,000 sq. ft. house. See? Easy peasy, no pressure.
6. Ask me questions. I'm bored. I can't read a book or surf the internet or nap. So chat me up.
7. By the end of the show, I'm tired and the thought of hauling all my crap home makes me want to curl up into a ball underneath my display table and wait until the crew people break it all down for me. So this is the ideal time to bargain with me. I'll knock off a few bucks if it means one less thing I have to bring home.
8. A sucker is born every minute. And that sucker is me. Tell me a sob story about how you had a childhood pet rabbit who ran away one summer afternoon and you thought he was lost forever and you cried and cried until one day you saw your rabbit on the news and turns out he was picked up by a traveling circus and now Mr. Bunbun is a lion tamer extraordinaire***. And then yes, you can have that rabbit print for less.
*Aka: Lisa whining about market life. But I must insert a disclaimer that I really do love doing markets. It's just so much more fun to complain.
**Not complaining. Not complaining at all. I may be hungry but I'd rather my stomach eat itself than not sell you that original watercolor you love. True story. Plus, I've learned the magic of liquid nourishment in the form of coffees and chai lattes.
***This sounds like the makings of a most excellent story. Hmmmm....
I think I have a problem. A sparkly, colorful, fantastical problem.
The glitteriness has even invaded my work.
Find new glittery prints at WHAM this weekend!
And I want more. The glitter has penetrated my brain. While not working feverishly prepping for WHAM, I've been thumbing through my latest issues of Martha Stewart's Living, creating and recreating my holiday baking list* and searching Etsy for vintage European glass glitter.
Sneak peek at adorable new necklaces debuting at WHAM. I'm saving a black bear one for myself. Booyah.
I love Martha. As a child, I loved watching her show and drooling over all the crafty possibilities. Everything was so neat and tidy and trim. All her recipe ingredients were always so prettily laid out in their respective pastel colored bowls waiting their turn to dive into the giant mixing bowl of wonderment. Through the magic of television, her oven worked at warp speed and cookie dough in lead to perfect cookies out in a matter of seconds. I even loved her dogs. They were chow chows. Chows. CHOWS.
Not even her blip in jail could mar my fandom. When asked which people living or deceased I'd like to have dinner with; Martha always makes the list. And not just because she'd bring the most perfect blueberry muffins known to man.
I bet she smells like cinnamon and glue sticks.
I'm no Martha. But I strive to be. One glitter jar at a time.**
*Currently: Chocolate chip cookies, jam thumbprints, gingerbread mini loafs, peppermint bark and iced sugar cookies. WHAT.
**I'll stop before my Martha gushing goes into creepy territory.
Last year was my very first year participating in Spacetaker's WHAM and needless to say, I had a frickin blast. Some fond memories of last year's events:
1. Andrew bringing me muffins and coffee. Show setups always leave me frazzled. In the frenzy of making sure all my products look nice, my sales recording apparatus are in order and my personal appearance doesn't frighten small children, I often forget breakfast. And because breakfast is the food of champions. Blueberry muffins and peppermint mocha lattes* are the breakfast items of choice for this champion.
2. Friends stopping by and "browsing" the table to lure in real customers. It's a little marketing tactic I picked up from The Simpsons. I have wonderful friends. My back pocket grifters.
3. Being RIGHT NEXT to the bar...but also right in front of the restrooms. Ew.
4. Overly enthusiastic girl who loved my necklaces. I think I sold her the necklace off my neck. She needed to have it. I wanted her to have it. It belonged with her. Plus, I was afraid of her crazy eyed retaliation.
5. Drunk guy who loved my work. He actually fawned. Flattery will get you everywhere. And then he turned around, saw the Green Mountain Energy** tent and started yelling and shouting obscenities. I'm not really sure what drunk guy had against renewable sources of energy, but let's just say that...by the end of the night on day three of marketing festivities...this artist found it HILARIOUS. I love you drunk guy. Please return. I will reward you with a free print of your choice. If you make a spectacle, I will throw in a Christmas card.
I can't wait to see what awesome shenanigans and tomfoolery are in store for this year's market. Until then, this little elf will be slaving away in her workshop churning out print after print after print after....SQUIRREL!***
*Sugar overload = a productive artist
**Although I will admit, Green Mountain's marketing efforts can be quite annoying. Why are they EVERYWHERE? And constantly in my face?! And trying to make me feel bad about being a poor artist who can't afford to use their environmentally friendly but monetarily inflated services?!?!?
The newly listed print set in the Etsy shop (just in time for holiday shopping!) says...no.
So what are you waiting for!?***
*With bonus gingerbread house sketch on the flip side! I held a gingerbread house decorating / gingerbread men making party once. It resulted in one rather shoddily built house that didn't even taste good to make up for it and about a dozen rather well endowed gingerbread men. Oy.
**Bill has already managed to tear off one of the three wreaths on his BRAND NEW collar. WHY BILL?! WHY!?!?!??!
***Confession. The house sketch has been sitting idly in my sketchbook for...a few weeks now...waiting to unleash itself upon the world at the appropriate time in order to minimize the level of crazy I will exude. Mission accomplished?