Monday, August 2, 2010

going out of business

Hey Team,
you might remember that I told you I would be participating in an art fair in Saugatuck. Well, said art fair was this past Saturday. It didn't go quite so well as the other art fair in Fremont.
To start the day, it was pouring rain during set-up time, so that blew.
Also, I had some of my linocut prints on fabric quilted up to sell, and nobody even asked about them. No one so much as looked at them with any show of interest. As for the paintings, I got a lot of superlative compliments, BUT COMPLIMENTS DON'T PAY THE BILLS, PEOPLE.
Then there was the entire comedy of errors revolving around the painted furniture. You may have heard reference to that venture in the past. I had hoped to do a mural commission in my hometown this summer, but nobody in these parts has any budget for that. So, I thought I could flip garage sale furniture and think of that as a mini mural commission. The wise Lauren Moyer once told me that in the gallery she works at portraits are very difficult to sell, but landscapes turn around nicely, so I settled on doing nature stuff on the furniture. Left to my own devices, I would probably have painted snakes and skulls and naked women and shit on the furniture, but in the interest of commercial viability, I instead painted tasteful and restrained flowers on the furniture.
Everybody seemed to think this was a good idea for making a buck this summer, but as it turns out, the concept is flawed in a few important ways.
First off, I found out quickly that I HATED DOING THIS. Painting flowers and plants is way boring. I had to force myself to go out to the garage and work on these beasts. Not like the portraits, which I'm usually stoked to work on and for which I forsake lesser pleasures.
Second, they were a major hassle to transport to the art fair. I had to borrow a trailer from a neighbor, and even after they were blanketed and strapped down, they still rubbed in transit so the paint had some gouges in a few spots when we arrived. Only one of the four was loaded in the van instead of the trailer, so it was still perfect when we got there.
The third and biggest problem with the furniture, however, was that I couldn't actually sell them at all anyway. Here's the real trouble: over the course of the day I must have had 30 variations of customers saying "This is wonderful! I love this! I have a bookshelf at home that I'm going to go do this to!"
So, it's official. Tony's Crappy Furniture With Stupid Flowers Painted On Them Inc. is going out of business, people.
So now I'm stuck with these miserable things that I somewhat loathe and apparently cannot sell. The moral of that story, team, is to only sell out for things that actually pay, and don't try to sell a product that people believe they can do just as well themselves.
Thankfully, the day wasn't an entire commercial failure because I sold a painting in the last ten minutes before the art fair closed. Zenstar Paradela now belongs to a lovely gentleman who was a fellow vendor at the art fair.

He's on the Christmas card mailing list now.
Though I'm glad for the cash, I'm weirdly sad about seeing that painting go. I've had it in my room since it was completed last September, and I have anthropomorphized it a bit in the mind.
We all gotta learn to let go, though.

2 comments:

Kristina said...

awww... you fell for the dreaded "flowers on assorted household items" trap too, eh?

A billion years ago I had a booth at the Detroit art fair, or whatever they call it these days, and the only thing that people paid any interest to were these little wooden boxes that my mom recommended I paint flowers on. OH IT WAS PAINFUL. And it turned into a dog and pony show where people would request certain flowers on certain boxes then swing by an hour later to pick them up. GAGGGG.

Although - I am in the market for some new furniture for the new place....show me what you've got, cause lord knows I DO NOT have a (insert random piece of furniture here) at home that I will torture myself with to do it myself.

A.E. Kieren said...

yeah the flowers on furniture was deeply ill advised. I should have known better than to do something that always felt beneath me

and babe you dont want any of this furniture. it is all of questionable taste.