Wednesday, May 23, 2012, Port Aransas
The weekend past, Donnie and I put up our first show booth for hwsPhotoArt in Port Aransas for the 7th Annual Port Aransas Artfest. In this adventure of becoming a fine art photographer, the weekend was a new experience. We met a number of interesting people and were encouraged in that they seemed to appreciate the work we had on display. Several people showed their appreciation by buying. It is humbling to realize that some consider one’s work of sufficient beauty and meaning they want to display it in their home. It is an honor.
We were encouraged sufficiently to consider the next step in this venture. We learned about several upcoming art shows in the central Texas corridor from other artists and are now preparing applications for these shows. We will probably focus on central Texas this year, though there is one other show outside the state I would like to go to – the hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque.
We met several interesting artists and crafts people this weekend, one of whom was Eric Luplow. His booth was next to ours, and he and his wife were quite helpful in suggesting shows to explore. We observed a number of people who knew Eric and stopped by his booth to chat and to see his new work. Over the years he has collected several collectors of his work. I cannot imagine what it would be like to have people want to collect one’s work.
The weekend was the culmination of a series of incidents that seemed to lead us into doing the show in Port A. In March, an email from the Port Aransas Art Center announced the show with application attached. That email gave notice of an April 1 deadline for applicants. I thought about it briefly, considered that I had no experience, no equipment to set up a booth, and dismissed the idea. In late March, I was browsing titles in Amazon for a good history of photography and came across a book by Alain Briot, Marketing Fine Art Photography. After browsing the Table of Contents, I decided to get the book. Briot writes that being an artist involves people buying one’s art and making one’s art available involves, in part, doing art shows. About the same time, an email from the art center pushed back the deadline to apply to April 24.
Briot provided detailed information about the equipment needed to set a show – panels, lighting, arrangements – along with websites where I could purchase the equipment. On a Friday afternoon in early April, Donnie and I sat down at our computers, and as I looked up prices on the internet, she constructed a spread sheet. It would take about $1500 for an initial setup of equipment to do an art show. We sat at our computers and talked over whether we could do it. As we talked, I went to Craig’s List. On Craig’s List I found a listing for an art show package. A water color artist was selling his setup – the panels, his pop-up tent, all his lights – for $600. That was amazing.
He lived in Austin about 20 minutes away. That was more amazing.
That weekend, our son Jon and his wife Maxine were moving into an apartment. He and I went to U-Haul Saturday morning to pick up the truck he had rented. We moved them into their apartment, and then I drove the truck up to the old Mueller Airport area and bought Greg Miles’s equipment. Another amazing part of the adventure – I had means to transport Miles’s setup back to the house.
On Monday, I sent in my registration for the 7th Annual Port Aransas Art Fest.
A good friend, Robert McCandless, told me about Square Up. Donnie and I investigated and settled on Intuit’s GoPayment. We would be able to take credit cards. Donnie worked in the book booth for the women’s conference at church and got experience using Square. Robert and his wife Gail have provided invaluable help. Robert helped me make concrete weights to stabilize the tent. They gave us director’s chairs, and Gail loaned us her show work kit. Finally, we needed a way to transport the panels, the tent, all the prints stored in plastic bins, and our luggage down to Port A. The Helmers, also good friends, loaned us their Suburban.
I worked hard to build an inventory of matted and framed prints to bring to the show. It was good work, working with my mind and my hands, doing the printing, matting, backing, framing. And so, we have now done our first art show. It was a good weekend, and we have begun a new adventure on the right foot.
We stayed in Port A the rest of the week. Another part of the story that moved us in the direction of art shows is that we spent a weekend in Port A in February. We stayed at the Tarpon Inn, which has some value in that the Tarpon Inn is an historic hotel and we can say we stayed there … once. But once is enough. When we got home, I got online and found a place to stay for the last week of mid-season. We would come down for a holiday week. It just so happened that the ArtFest would be the weekend during our planned holiday.
It has been a very good week. Not quite the holiday we would usually plan for our time in Port A. Instead, we have gotten to know Port A a little more, dedicating time to several photoshoots – in the nature reserve, on the south jetty, on the beach, and on a quick trip to the Lydia Ann lighthouse, named after the daughter of the first lighthouse keeper. We have seen more blue herons than we have ever seen before on our trips to Port A; we have explored Mustang Island and come to know more deeply this area where we have been coming when we needed to get away since our honeymoon 44 years ago.
For those who might be interested, I have framed work hanging in the Port Aransas Art Center and a few matted prints in the bins. As of June 10, I will have a work hanging at the Rockport Art Center, “Sailing to Byzantium 3”.