We recently found a box of old photographs and as we sorted through them, mostly looking at pictures of our grown children as toddlers, we came across pictures of our first house in Chandler AZ. It's funny since recently we have talked about going back to that house since we still own it and the mortgage is very low. In the batch of pictures was this photograph, our first garage transformed into Steve's first "studio". Up until then he had always been working as a commercial screen-printer, never daring to think he could make his own artwork. Looking at this picture reminds me of those days when we both worked regular jobs, juggled two very small children and this part of our lives was only a hobby. How very far we have come in 23 years....
The business of doing art shows is a fickle one. You can't help but take it all personally. What you are selling is made with your own two hands. You drive long distances, stay in less than the finest hotels, eat at random hours and then stand out in the public and wait to see if someone not only likes what you do but likes it better than the person next to you who is also selling something they made with their own two hands.
When it is good, it is very good as it was for us in a little gem of a show in St. George, Utah. We won Best in Show, had two Purchase Awards and sold A LOT of art. People loved what we had to share with them. The booth looked great and the people came out to see what we had to offer. We left the show feeling like regular fat cats. A few days later we drove to the Midwest to do our very first show there in Kansas City. Same artwork, same booth but very different response. There were lots of people and they said they liked the work but they definitely found something they liked better somewhere else. No matter what we did we just never could engage. We were a long way from home and felt like fish out of water.
We love what we do and we know that every show is different. We don't take anything for granted and we don't question the decisions anyone makes when they walk into or out of our booth. When it is right for them, it is right for us. That is just the way it goes.
Bonnie Harmston works side by side with her husband Steve and travels the art show circuit with him.