I did 3 art festivals in Florida from late Feb. to early March and they were odd to say the least. So much of Florida is lampooned for all the reasons we know: 93 year olds driving their Oldsmobile down I-75 at 47 mph, gators on the golf courses, Russians, Cubans and Brazilians buying up coastal condos for peanuts and then of course the ever hanging chads we've come to love.
Artigras was first in Jupiter, a large show, high quality and I was there about 5 years earlier when times were better. The show poked along until Sunday afternoon when 3 ladies came in and loved my work and did quite a bit of damage, er, sales of my art. I was hyped. And many around me did not do too well. It is that way at shows these days- some artists do well, some do fair, and some don't even make expenses. One lady bought "I Don't Do Windows" framed and it was hot! It was the medium size and looked fantastic in it's "churchy" frame.
Then I went to Carnaval, a 2 day show in Coral Gables in the Cuban community. I had asked the show director if my humor would be understood since my American titles are a major part of my art. She said it would definitely work and she was right. The set up was horrific starting at 6:a.m. and the show went from 11:a.m. till, get this 11:p.m. Sales were pitiful all day but not because of language. Many folks, Anglos and Cubanos loved my work, got it, said they'd be back (they lied) and that was that. Then, almost magically at 5:p.m. sales started to pick up. People were still drinking mojitos and what not all day but at 5:pm things opened up finally. I stayed pretty late althoug I was beat.
Sunday was 11:am - 8:pm and again sales did not really start till 5:pm. My neighbor did not make his booth fee and my sales were what I would call "poor" overall. Would I do that one again? No way Jose.
Then on to Bonita Springs on the west coast of Florida. High end show, good artists all around, and the crowd was 85% 60years + all weekend. Many loved my work, bought prints for gifts for grown children elsewhere and that show wound up in between the other 2 shows. I handed out a ton of business cards but you never know how fast those go in the trash.
One of the best parts of the journey was staying with friends Tom and Fran in Palm Harbor. We laughed, rode bikes, played golf and talked about earlier days back in CA. Over all it was a fun trip but a ton of work for what I earned in this down economy.
For most people, art is a luxury and not a necessity. My 2 assets at shows are : my prices are not high and you can really buy my art as a gift for family and friends. And everyone loves to laugh-and frankly needs to.