I'm the kid who loved art growing up until she took a formal art class in Junior High. You know the kind, copying the work of the masters and mirroring their techniques. By no means was I terrible at it, but I always got a vibe that I was failing in the eyes of my instructor and wasn't as exact in my copies as my peers. I'd never be "good enough" to succeed. (Side note: why were the only two art teachers I had access to in school such cranky stick-in-the-muds?)
So I got intimidated out of "art" at the young age of 12.
Instead I grabbed on to photography through high school and then lost my grip on creative work entirely in college, after the photography schools on my radar dimmed in comparison to living near the beach in San Diego and studying International Security (yes, worth it.)
Fast forward to success in a career field I just sort of fell into, extreme boredom, and an itch to create. It started with adding 30 days of hand drawn & painted maps to a 30 Days of Lists project in 2013. Two years later after a miscarriage, I needed something small to bring light to my days and I started a 100 Day Project, 100 Days of Pen and Paint. This project, my subsequent #100FinishedArtistTiles, plus some amazing coaching from Murielle Marie helped push me towards finally drowning out the negative self-talk of "I-can't-draw" and into my want for a life filled with freedom of time and creativity.
Now, though all of this drawing, painting, and creating - never once did I actually think I might try and seriously pursue selling pieces of art that in some way were not functional. Yes, I've been selling my artist tiles - but the intent behind those was really just to push myself. I never once thought that I'd consider creating pieces of art and selling them for people to hang on their walls. Instead, I planned on channeling most of this into RambleGood through pattern designs and maybe some greeting cards here and there.
And then, enter an opportunity.
I was coming up on finishing my series of 100 artist tiles and a local art shop advertised a call for artists for their first art fair. The application was free and simple, and the booth fee was just $10. I figured, if the panel of judges didn't let me in, there was definitely no loss, and at most I'd lose that $10 if I got in and sold nothing. In my new life of trying to fill my time with more creative and risk taking endeavors - I jumped! And then, I got in!
Since I've been around a lot of art fairs in my life, the concept of a booth set up wasn't all that hard for me to grasp. Add a great Group Crit night with Hudson River Exchange, a test set up, and things came together easily.
I went in to the fair thinking that this was a great opportunity to test out the concept of a booth for something in the future, you know, like for RambleGood. I had zero expectations about selling anything. This was all just going to be a good practice run and maybe I'd sell some greeting cards or something.
I didn't sell any greeting cards.
Instead, STRANGERS ACTUALLY BOUGHT MY ARTWORK TO HANG ON THEIR WALLS.
In all seriousness, I had NO idea this would be a thing. All this work, minus the greeting cards, was simply made for my own continued artist education and enjoyment.
People walked by and laughed out loud at some of my cheekier tiles, flipped through my sketchbook pieces and found their mantra in art form, and other artists asked me where I went to art school. Best of all, my work made just about everyone who took a moment to stop, smile. Like, with their teeth smile!
In behind the scenes talk, yes, I broke even from my $10 booth fee, made back what I spent on extra packaging and in display pieces, and made a profit past that to boot. It's vastly more than I ever could have expected.
So maybe this is a thing after all, me, myself as an artist.