As many of you know, I spent quite a few years on the "art festival circuit". 2008 was of course the beginning of the economic meltdown and at the end of that year I decided to take a "sabbatical" from shows. Sabbatical implies a return in the future, but I am beginning wonder if that will happen. With the exception of a local show, I have not participated in an art festival in almost four years.Besides the part the economy played in that decision, there were other reasons why I felt the need to slow down a bit. While there have been times I have missed my art festival friends and the traveling, I feel pretty confident I made the right decision at the time.
Part of my "sabbatical" has not been by choice however. In 2010 and again this year, I applied to the Sausalito Art Festival. Both times I was "denied" (this is what it states when you go to check the results.)
I am fortunate that I was accepted to Sausalito three years in a row, beginning in 2006. The nature of the business and that show in particular, is that just because you get in one year, does not guarantee acceptance the following year.
I decided not to apply to the local show in November, which means that at no time this year will I be scrambling to create inventory. I will also not have to venture into my dark and dirty garage to gather all the necessary items to build my booth and then load them into my van.
Can you tell I was not devastated to receive the news my work had been rejected?
In many ways I was relieved I did not get in. For one thing, I had put aside the $1200 booth fee, so now my checking account is feeling a little flush. It was my ego however that took a beating. I feel like I have been kicked out of a club in some ways and that never feels good.
It also has me thinking that perhaps that part of my life is over. I have many reasons to think that it's possible that there are other things I should be concentrating on............and that could be where "the gift" comes in.
When you are on the art festival circuit, it pretty much consumes all your time from March until October. During the years I did that, I lacked both the time and energy to photograph much and instead had to spend most of my time printing and packaging older images. After the last show of the year I always had grand visions of making art nonstop during the winter, which never seemed to happen.
The fact that I have created a lot of new work and I am much more relaxed, suggests that maybe it's time to let go of the idea that art festivals are the best way for me to generate income and get my photography out there. This was true for many years, and it might still be true, but I am also older and not as willing to get up in the middle of the night to set up a booth on some street in the cold and dark hours right before the sun rises. (Which is one of the many reasons I still applied to Sausalito - you get to set up the day before and it's not on the street............)
I don't have to make a decision right now, but I do have some things to think about. Some other opportunities are presenting themselves which I will write about later, but in the meantime, I thought I would share one more photo from my "shoot" with Tamara a couple of weeks ago. She did some fun post-processing with this image. Can you tell what it is?