Yes, this describes me….somewhat. For the past 12 years or so, I have been on the road. A carnie, a road warrior, an artist. However you choose to describe it, it is what I have chosen as my path.
What exactly does this mean? Well, for one, it is a grueling, labor intensive, amazing, traveling path that has lead me from Denver to places like Miami, NYC & Sausalito to name a few. It is a journey every year starting in February, and ending in September. No, I am not on the road the ENTIRE time, just a few weeks here and there. I have traveled to Palm Springs, NYC, Washington, Florida, Chicago, Kansas City, Arizona, Texas, Iowa etc… to show my works.
I am often asked how my artwork gets to the shows that I do. Well, it is transported by me, and only me to any city in which I am accepted. I am the proud owner of a Sprinter van (who is named Baby Girl) and is as red as a cherry. I drive my gigantic van from city to city participating in outdoor art festivals. Drive? By Yourself? Yes. I have taken the 32 hour drive from Denver to Florida, hitting the ice storms of 2014 along the way in Dallas and Atlanta. And no, those were not so much fun. I have traveled across the country to Chicago, where we set up our booths at 4:30 am to open at 10am, and stay until 7pm. I have driven the 20 hours to Sausalito, where I pay up to $2,000.00 for a booth space for 3 days. Last year, I sat in Des Moines for the Art Festival where there were torrential pop up storms every 5 hours, 8 inches of water running through my booth and the threat of tornadoes during take down at the end of the show. No, I am not complaining because this is what I have chosen to do. However, I am here to tell you that it is not easy.
In addition, at most shows, all artists own their tents. It is our sole responsibility to set up our tents. When I am by myself (most of the time) it takes me on average about 3 hours for me to complete my display. This includes 60 pound weights on each corner, as well as hoisting my tent up, putting up my 20lb walls, all to make it my own gallery space for 2-4 days. Whew…. It exhausts me just talking about it. Want to get some amazing biceps? Help an artist set up their tent…time & time again….
Just so you know, all of the shows that I participate in are juried shows. All artists submit 4-5 images of their works, as well as a booth shot. These applications usually take place 6-8 months in advance of the show. This is a crazy rollercoaster for us artists, as it is not very consistent on where you will be accepted year after year. It definitely does a number on your confidence levels.
With this said, I do love being on the road. I love to travel. I love my artist family on the road. We are all each other’s cheerleaders and support each other through thick and thin. I have made some amazing life-long friends doing art festivals, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. It has made me a better person & a stronger artist.
Just remember this when you visit an art festival. It has taken a lot of our heart and soul to share our works with you.