Thursday, July 2, 2009

Utah Arts Festival, 2009

Well, two noteworthy events: I participated in my first arts exhibition....and I started a blog.

The Utah Arts Festival, from June 25th through the 28th, is one of the biggest arts competitions in the state. I've always enjoyed the show as a spectator, but had never dreamt of actually entering the running. Determined to get my art underway, this year I decided to give it a shot. I applied months and months ago. Initially, I had been placed on the waiting list. Two or three weeks before the event, however, someone dropped out, opening up a position for me.

I remember getting the call from Stacy, one of the show directors. In an excited voice, she explained the situation, and asked me to join them. For a split second, I thought I'd decline the offer. It was a lot of money for the entrance fee, I didn't have enough artwork done, I wouldn't be ready in time, I just didn't want to bother, etc. I realized, though, that if I was going to give my artwork any sort of a shot, I'd have to jump on every opportunity...and this was the opportunity of opportunities. I accepted the invitation, worked feverishly to finish some pieces that had been sitting in my portfolio, and managed to pull it all together in time.

Now...all of that's just background. It's the crust of the sandwich (you know, the part of every sandwich that you have to get through in order to make it to the good stuff). What I really wanted to tell you about was the actual show...and some of my plans from here. Here we go:

T minus one day, and counting: I arrived on the festival grounds with some of my gear. It was already a virtual madhouse. Trucks and trailers were parked all over the place, people were running back and forth, etc. I was ushered to my booth. Now, by "booth" I mean 10 X 10 orange square on the ground. All this time I had assumed that the actual booth was provided. All of the tents, in years past, were matching. I guess I thought the booth fee included the actual tent. Nope. As I pulled up to the square of asphalt, I remember asking, with a confused look on my face, I'm sure, "Where's the booth?" Mike, another of the directors, said "Here", looking at me strangely, as he pointed to the orange painted shape on the ground. I repeated the question. He repeated the answer, giving me an even stranger expression. Apparently, the fee did not include a tent. According to the handiwork of divinity, I'm sure, I managed to locate, obtain, and set up a tent within 60 minutes. My tent, however, was a nice shade of green. It was, without doubt, the only non-white tent in the lot. Perfect.

Day 1: I decided that Mother nature has a personal grudge against outdoor festivals. The weather was unbearably hot. In heat that must have been skirting 100 degrees, I sat in my leather chair and explained my work to passers-by. There was a fantastic response. Everyone who entered the booth verbalized their approval. It was welcome news. I managed to sell a few sets of work. I made some great contacts, met some fantastic people, and sold some of my prized pieces....which was bittersweet.

Day 2: The weather was cooler, and business was better. I managed to sell more, and the response from the crowds was even more encouraging.

Day 3: I worked at the hospital. Tan manned the booth. He managed to sell significant amounts, actually. It didn't surprise me at all, however. Good looking British guy, sitting in a beautiful leather chair, showcasing art....who could resist?

Day 4: Several odd things happened. First, a middle-aged woman walked into the booth, and the first words to escape her lips were "These would look good in my bathroom. Don't you guys think this would look great in my bathroom?" She must have seen my jaw on the ground, which would be why she tried to recover the comment. Another woman came in with her kids, saying to her 8 year-old son, "I'll bet you could draw that." She didn't think about her statement, though, and just kept walking. So....some mildly odd criticism today...but great all-around responses.

I"m so glad the show is over. I was spent by the end. I'll hold off from art for a couple of weeks, then we'll see if I can open it up and pound out some more work.

I'll keep you updated!



  1. Fabulous Rob! Can't wait to see more as they develop and congrats on all the success at the Arts Fest! Fun to see you there with all the art enthusiasts swarming your tent.

  2. Congratulations on starting a blog and your first art show. They can be a lot of fun. Love your art pieces. Look forward to watching your career grow. You definitely have what it takes.