Being an artist is probably the hardest job I've ever had. Well no, scratch that. Being a mom is the hardest job. But this artist business sure runs a close second. This is a hard working job that is not only a physical drain, but an emotional one too. When I am setting up a table full of art, along with the wood and paint goes a part of myself. No matter how frivolous my art may seem to the passerby, it was done from the heart and usually with a story somewhere in the back of mind. I paint a little bit of my own self into each painting and it's not something that I can ever take back. Most of the time the feedback I get from strangers is positive. Compliments and giggles are the favorite emotions evoked from potential customers. But every so often I get an invisible crackling smack across the face from some insensitive people who think that because my work is for public sale, then that makes it fair game for public insult. It used to upset me to the point of tears when I would get a cruel comment or rude reaction from the public. I had a woman once come to my table and tell me that I should not be allowed to sell at the farmer's market and that she would never buy anything from my table. The reason for her anger was that I had decoupaged a plaque using the image of Frida Kahlo's "Broken Column" and the woman thought it was inappropriate to display nudity in public. If she had bothered to get past her own ignorant assumptions, she would have known that Kahlo's painting has nothing to do with lewdness or nudity. I tried in vain to explain this, but of course this woman could only see with her eyes. I don't mind when somebody doesn't understand the work I choose to use in my own artwork, but to blindly make accusations and not even bother asking "why" is beyond my understanding.
And then there was this great day when I heard "I've always passed your table up because I thought they (my artwork) were cheap Mexican imports." Hm. Obviously she hadn't shopped in Mexico lately because she'd find that their "cheap" products aren't so cheap anymore. Another time I was setting up for the celebration of Diez y Seis de Septiembre (the 16th of September is Mexican Independence Day). There was a couple walking by and looking at the decorated plaza then glancing down at my table as the woman asked the man "what is all this stuff?" to which he replied "I dunno...some Mexican imported shit." Wait. Huh? Did I suddenly turn to stone? Because was he speaking like I...didn't exist? On another day as I was talking with a fellow artist in front of her booth, there was a group of tourists who walked up to her table and the man...you know the type...the obnoxious type of man who thinks it's cute to hand feed a shark from his fishing boat...this man walks up to my friends table and bellows out..."hey...hey...look here...pick out the ugliest thing you can find on this table! hahaha!" Wait. Huh? Did we suddenly become invisible as he chose to not only loudly insult my friends artwork but to also make fun of it right in her face as if she had no feelings at all? And then there was the lovely weekend in Casa Grande Arizona where I made the bad decision of trying to sell at the Bluegrass Jamboree Festival. I figured hey I love Bluegrass music so why not try and make a few bucks there too! Supposedly this was a venue open only to artists of handmade crafts and goods. End result? I sold $40 bucks of merchandise and the vendors next to me (really nice folks from South Dakota who sold Made in China (yeah I saw the stickers) resin figurines of things like singing frogs, fishing bears and dogs in tutus) completely sold out. Lesson learned. Never sell at anything with the name Bluegrass or Jamboree in it.
I could probably write a book on the negative experiences I've had selling my own artwork, but truth is the positive far outweigh the negative. And although it can be hard not letting that one ugly splat on the wall get me down, I find that I still go home everyday and look forward to putting another piece of my heart down for posterity. Man...gotta love this life! jeje