Another SOS has come and gone. Weeks of prep and watching the SOS organizers drum up publicity, many late nights last week, culminated in another weekend of two 6 hour days of conversations with fellow artists and the public.
It was different in a lot of ways than two years ago. For one thing, having done it before, I knew what to do, it was just a matter of getting it done. While somewhat frantic towards Friday evening, only starting to set up my space at about 10pm, it was all under control. I did some new things this year, like submitting a piece for the Somerville Museum show, ordered two sets of postcards that I made available in addition to my business cards, and created a mailing list.
I also took the opportunity to look at my body of work and figure out a theme. Two years ago, I used Burning Man as my focus; it was my playa gift to the public. It worked beyond my expectations. In retrospect though, it was also easy, a convenient package. This worked to my advantage, allowing me the flexibility to figure out how to put on a show. This time around, I didn’t have such a focus, so I decided to create one. Rather than just pick my favorites and put them up on the wall, I wanted to see if there was a common thread that I could use to link my beginnings as a simple travel landscape photographer to the more abstract work that I’ve been exploring over the last year. Over the last couple of months, I thought about the way that I look at the world, and how I’ve expressed that through my photography. If there were no other benefits of the show beyond that, I would have still called it a success. I discovered things about my own work that I hadn’t even realized. Furthermore, after some agonizing over how I should start to sign my work, I quite literally stumbled upon a glyph that just felt right, as soon as I recognized it.
The weekend itself was wonderful. Even though it was slow at times, the feedback that I got was great. Watching what people would gravitate towards, what they would comment on, the questions they would ask; I took more notes this time around, wanting to capture thoughts and trends. Remembering the woman who was drawn to a picture of a plane landing at Logan over the harbor, a boston transplant just starting her pilot training.. The fellow that had seen my work at the museum, intrigued by the abstract quality of it, wanting to see more.. I shouldn’t have been surprised that despite my lack of Burning Man focus, those pictures were the ones that garnered the most attention. It’s funny, that for me the playa has become so commonplace, but for many it’s still a more foreign landscape than they have seen or experienced.
I sold 7 prints, will probably sell at least 1 more in the coming weeks. I may have missed at least one sell, as I noted one fellow who lingered and took notes and even came back to show his partner, but perhaps I didn’t engage them as I should have. Selling is never the point, what I made wasn’t even a third of my cost, but it is gratifying, to sell to both friends and strangers. What was especially rewarding was talking with fellow artists. Two years ago I had just come to terms with considering myself an artist. Now I feel confident that I am one, and to interact on that level, with that feeling of security, was wonderful. I’ve made some new connections that will help me move forward onto whatever is the next level. I now have stock that once I create a portfolio, I can start taking around and branch out into more shows.
I also got more publicity this time around. Not only was I interviewed (I’m about halfway through. I’m mostly pleased about it, but had hoped they would have edited out the awkward beginning), but I’m featured on the Rainy Day Magazine blog, founded by one of my co-workers.
And this is all of course not to mention the many wonderful friends who stopped by, or the half dozen or more folks from work.
The sad thing of course, was not being able to go and see the rest of SOS, including those friends who were also in it, moominmolly, noire, and haptotrope, nor to have them be able to come by Mad Oyster.
To that end however, the artist-in-residence who was gracious enough to loan me some of his unused space, which just so happened to be the same space I had last time, is willing to let me keep it for another couple of weeks. So..