I setup the booth while the sun was still hiding behind the clouds. The morning mist was still hanging around and while I showed up early to claim an outside table, at times I envied the warm insides of the gallery.
I was invited a few weeks ago to participate in Gallery 360’s art sale and thought, what would I have to lose? It would help me achieve one of my newer resolutions, to put myself out there. Plus, it was suppose to be a gorgeous day and I love being in the heart of Vancouver, WA.
Most of my prints I already had around the house, I spent little in getting the whole thing together. I have done art shows before and while I got lots of positive feedback and some bookings from them, I rarely ever sell a print. At first, it broke my spirit, but when you look back at it, it really makes you think about why you do what you do.
I met my fellow artists and really enjoyed talking with all of them. There were many different styles, and many wonderful personalities. I love when the artists communities come together, instead of trying to tear each other down for one person to try to rise above another. The first couple hours were slow, it was still cloudy outside and the walk for the animals was still going in the plaza right next to us. We sat and chatting with the other artists and enjoyed our warm coffees.
Once the sun came out, so did the people. My social anxiety and I slowly adapted and had a great time talking with other Vancouver locals about my work, the hikes it takes to go to some of the shots, and new areas that I should go and check out as well. I wasn’t making any sales, but it was great to talk to people with the same interests, and again build each other up, encourage adventuring, and hand out cards for some possible future work.
He showed up an hour or two before it was time to start packing up. Initially he came for the artist that was next to me, but we ended up talking a short time after. Turns out, he was a commercial photographer. He loved my work and told me that he could tell that I still had “the spark”. I asked him what he meant and he told me this. He loved photography when he initially stepped into it. Everything about it. He soon got more and more bookings, and then started with ad campaigns and magazine shoots.
He started seeing money signs at every click instead of loving the creativity and beauty he was capturing. That was when he took a step back to look at what he was doing. He lost his spark, he lost his love, and he lost his creativity. He could tell that his work was much weaker than when he was head over heels in love with his camera. He stepped away, and has not touched it again. He finds the joy at the end of a paintbrush now. He told me to never lose my spark, don’t let other people drag me down, believe in the work I do and keep on doing it.
To be encouraged and pushed by someone who I just met got me inspired again. I have a great support system with my family and friends, and I absolutely love it when other artists come along and give you more of a push. I don’t do this for the money. I do it because it is my way to deal with my stress and anxiety. I do it as a coping method for losing my father. I do it because I love it.
What ever you do, do it with all your heart, and don’t ever lose your spark.