I just returned from a wonderful long weekend in NYC marketing myself as an artist, selling my creations at a juried art show in Greenwich Village, and buying more supplies at a flea market. I would like to share in this blog both the "good, the bad, and the ugly" of this experience.
The trip got off to a rocky start when, while driving on the highway, my husband had to stop suddenly at a road construction site and all our tables went flying off of our minivan! I was absolutely mortified!!! We were very shaken up and profoundly grateful that no one was hurt and that there were police officers right there to help us gather our tables and better secure them to the top of the minivan. Of course I ruminated about all the potential disastrous consequences. Lesson learned: secure items on the roof rack 10 times more than you even think is necessary!!! I'm sure in the future, we will always err on the side of being OVERLY cautious, even if it uses an inordinate amount of rope.
Once we arrived Thursday in the mid-afternoon and checked into The Washington Square Hotel (which I highly recommend as a delightful boutique hotel with art nouveau style), I wandered the streets of Greenwich Village and SoHo looking for stores or galleries that might be interested in my whimsical sculptures. I had been in this wonderful gourmet chocolate shop and tea room in SoHo called "MarieBelle" on a previous trip to New York. At that time, I had picked up some tins of hot chocolate and tea to enjoy at home and ultimately had used one of the tins to create a sculpture which I fittingly named, "MarieBelle." She is an elephant with her baby attached to her tail.
As I've described in my previous blog, "Part I: Learning to Market Myself as an Artist,"
I often "pound the pavement" with my two portfolio books that I created through Shutterfly in order to market myself to shop owners/gallery directors. So, I went into MarieBelle on this visit and asked for the store manager and met Lourdes Martinez-Baide, a delightful woman who willingly let me show her photos of my work and propose making some dogs for her shop to sell to potential customers. Ultimately we agreed that I would make a couple of dogs for her shop to display and see whether or not anyone expresses interest. I left MarieBelle with 4 beautiful empty tins and several photographs of the shop to inspire me to create girlie, feminine dogs with "bling" that will complement the elegant Victorian and Parisian décor. Here are photos of this sinfully delicious chocolate shop which is located at 484 Broome Street, New York, New York:
Hopefully I'll be able to post photos of my new creations some time in August, so stay tuned...
On Friday, per my request, I met with Stefanie Levinson, Director of Retail Services at the American Folk Art Museum, to "pitch" my idea for designing the museum's window display for this upcoming Christmas season. The museum is centrally located in Manhattan, right in the Lincoln Center area. Words cannot express how thrilled I am that she accepted my proposal. This is one of the most exciting things that has happened for me as an artist. To be able to decorate a NYC Christmas window and gain some exposure is both a challenge and an incredible honor. I hope that people will be pleased with the final result! While I don't want to give too much information away about the content of the window display, it will have something to do with childhood dreams. Here is a photo of the very tall but narrow window that I will be privileged to decorate. This photo is from last December featuring artist Mark May's wonderful robots:
Saturday was the one-day, rain or shine, outdoor Bedford, Barrow, Commerce Block Association Juried Fine Art and Fine Craft fair in the West Village. For the three days leading up to the show, I was very concerned about the weather, as it was forecast to pour from 2PM on. Also, I was told we could not set up until: (1) all the street sweepers had come through, and (2) any cars that needed to had been towed. Fortunately, the street sweepers came through early and minimal cars needed towing and, best of all, the rain held off until near the end of the fair. I had a good showing despite the gray, cloudy day with the constant threat of rain. The crowds came in spurts. Sometimes my booth was empty, and sometimes it was so full of people that no one else would fit! Overall people were enthusiastic about my pieces and I sold several dogs and a Day of the Dead 3D collage. In addition to meeting a lot of great customers, my sister in-law and her family came to visit from Pleasantville, NY and my parents' friends from grad school days came all the way out from Queens. I hadn't seen them in 24 years! It's always so nice to be supported by friends and family.
When it came to breaking down the booth, that is when the problems started. It had begun to rain in earnest and my husband went off to find the minivan. He did not return for an hour because he got lost amongst the many windy streets of the neighborhood and his cell phone, into which he'd put the address of his parking spot, had died. Needless to say, we were absolutely exhausted by the time we finally packed up the car and drove back to the hotel at 9 PM! I always seem to be the last vendor to leave. Here are some photos from the fair:
Sunday I delivered a few pieces to the American Folk Art Gift Shop and then, while driving around trying to find parking, we stumbled upon the Green Flea Market, which I had heard about on the HGTV show, "Flea Market Flip" hosted by Lara Spencer. My husband dropped me off while he went to find parking and as I entered the market, I couldn't believe my luck. There was Lara Spencer and her camera crew filming the last portion of the show right before my eyes! This is a show that involves two teams of two that compete against each other to repurpose items and resell them for a profit. The team that makes the most profit wins a $5000 prize. Lara was interviewing the two teams about their experience and then announced the winning team of the episode. I was thrilled! I managed to get a photo of Lara with the competitors and then one of Lara and me before she scooted off to watch her son play lacrosse (yes, she has a normal life, too!).
Apparently while I was enjoying myself at the flea market, which included purchasing supplies for my art sculptures, my poor husband who was trying to park our minivan with tables on top was being sent away from several parking garages because the height of the van was too great. In fact, he pulled into one garage entrance and it wasn't until he was at the check-in window that he was told his car could not fit, so he had to back up and as he did so, a police vehicle behind him also had to back up and ended up in a fender bender with yet a third vehicle! Fortunately the officer did not hold my husband accountable since it really wasn't his fault, but my husband sure felt guilty!
So there you have it, the "good, the bad and the ugly." Many exciting things happened on the expedition and some exhausting complications. New York City is a vibrant, bustling, and exhilarating city, but it can be very complicated to try to navigate with a minivan and a carload of crafts!
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I am 61 years old, a wife of 30 years, a mother of a wonderful and independent 23-year-old daughter, a clinical psychologist who treats adults in private practice, and last, but definitely not least, an artist. Whew! That was a mouth full. My passion is creating one-of-a-kind whimsical sculptural animals, dolls, and cake toppers (with a little multi-media collage thrown in for good measure). I hope you enjoy my creations as much as I enjoy making them!