SOS in review

Posted by Ted on May 8, 2007 in Photography

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..



SOS wrapup..

Posted by Ted on May 4, 2005 in Photography

SOS is over.. and now life continues quickly apace. I actually need it to slow down.. but not this week.

Sunday of SOS was more subdued than Saturday, but no less wonderful.

the number of people that I knew that walked through were staggering. I just have to name them, because well, it meant a lot that they came. baronet,bookteacher,cgull_,chhotii,coraline,crs,cthulhia,
roozle,smashrgrl,sunspiral,vorpalbunny,and wolfkitn. and those are just the folks with LJs. Francie, Steve, Tom, Kit, Roland, and Lenny, too. thank you all for coming out in the rain..

being an artist, sitting in a gallery of one’s own art, felt both strange and comfortable. I had this moment on Friday night, just after I’d set up, looking at the walls with my art on them, arranged just so, and I felt like an artist. I felt pride. and over the weekend, sharing that with everyone was just wonderful. watching the way people reacted, the smiles on their faces and the occasional laughter or giggle, and the recurring question of “so what is that orange line?” watching the few kids who came in, what they gravitated towards.. (the astronaut and the ones with fire) it was interesting seeing which pieces were more popular and why.. “Flags” got a lot of comments, and I’m really pleased by that because it’s one of my favorites.. “Chandelier” was exactly as popular as I would have expected.. it was so stunning in real life. hmm, so ya, pride.

as I was saying, sitting out so exposed to the world of friends and strangers, cemented this belief I’ve been testing, that I’m basically shy.. maybe in some ways we all are. but for a long time, I just hid from people. not wanting to infringe upon their lives. the problem is that I like people. so one thing that I seem to have started doing is putting myself out there, and seeing who comes to me. because when people do, I’m receptive and care free.. so rather than lead a closeted life, I’m trying to get out and do things. actor, acrobat, and artist all in a year? if those are the a’s, I wonder what the b’s will be. but what’s wonderful is that by putting myself out there, I feel more like a part of the world. putting up Soundscape at Burning Man last year was great in just the random encounters with complete strangers. and with Murder in the Cathedral last fall, being in front of several audiences, and working with a cast and crew, was really wonderful.

and SOS was no exception.. there was this woman that came in, who had gone in 94-99.. and she’s in a different place now, and so isn’t going to go back.. but she wanted to see the playa. and that just made me so happy. there were the old couple whose son has gone a bunch of years. there was this really enthusiastic kid and his mom, even wanted to be on the mailing list.. (I would later learn that guest books are more appropriate.. ah well, we learn :) there was also a burner from 2003, that I think I might have even met, wandering into his camp. there were lots of moments throughout the day, that were just precious for their unexpectedness.

and then there was the back of the house, and being part of an artist community, even if just for a weekend. not only was I in a studio personally with 4 other artists, all of whom were sharing community space offered by Mad Oyster, Jill Bendonis, Janet Cormier, Sarah Peck, and my fabulous studiomate, Margaret Ann Ryan, but there were the other artists in the building, too. Scott Cahaly, Parrish Dobson, and our own Rachel Mello.. being told by someone who has been a photographer for 20 years that I have a good eye felt really good, too.

and then there’s this whole selling of one’s art thing. when I started this, I hadn’t even thought of that. but then I realized it was a part of it, and as I sat at home last week, looking at the pictures, matting them.. then pricing them.. and I had some guidelines, and just went with it.. and I wasn’t too far off base it seems. a friend bought some, and I got an order from another local artist that I’m delivering on Friday. and the thought of having my art up on someone’s wall just fills me with this sense of happiness that I hadn’t expected. I was reminded of the day that I told mamishka I wanted her art on my shoulder.

and it seems that art continues, because I’m now going to be showing at Redtail Open Studios, as part of the Fort Point Art Walk this coming weekend. (not that I’ll be there myself, I’m off to climb a mountain.) I’ll be able to have space for about a dozen of them.

I am so happy. thank you everyone who nudged, bagged, labeled, advised, helped, hugged, and encouraged. and thank everyone for making me feel worth the time to come and see my art.

and for , amsra, doctordidj, jencallisto, lionsburg, and noire who couldn’t see it, here’s what it might have looked like.