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#5: Sell A Piece of Artwork

October 8, 2009

Date of Completion: August 2009

I hesitate to call myself a photographer because I feel like an impostor most days. But when it comes down to it, it’s my favorite art form, and anyone who knows me, knows I never go anywhere without my camera. I used to have an exceptionally good eye for what I considered to be “artsy” photos… and sometimes I found other people who agreed. (I have an art site set up at DeviantArt where I’ve posted sporadically over the last four years or so). I haven’t taken much new in years – my creative spark died when I graduated college and let myself get weighed down with money concerns and health insurance and other grown-up type things. Yet, I’ve always loved it and always thought my stuff was pretty damn awesome, but it never occurred to me to try and monetize any of it.

But then I got to thinking, and why not? Artists sell art. Photography is art. Photography is MY art. My photography might even be art to people besides me. (It’s kinda like, you know, how your mom always thinks you’re awesome, but she’s biased, because she’s your mom – these photos are my babies and I love them all and naturally I think they are fantastic).

An opportunity arose in August for Market Day, hosted by the Market Street Media Foundry in Des Moines. I responded to the call for artists to fill the last few spots as almost a joke or a whim – no way I’d be good enough to participate. But, to my surprise, they said they’d love to have me. I almost died. And then I spent a frantic week trying to get ready because naturally I have to be impulsive about the weirdest things (and get painfully pragmatic about others). I don’t think anyone thought I’d be able to pull it all together in a week. Hell, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. (And yet – that’s what I do for my day job. I produce miracles and get. shit. done.)  It was good for me. It helped me rediscover my art and the photos that have lain dormant for a few years. I printed and cut and framed and organized and then it was Thursday and I was ready and had two days to self-doubt and second-guess myself. I got a lot of encouragement from my friends and my new Twitter friends and so I did it.

It was a slow traffic day, by all accounts. I sold a couple magnets, and the only framed piece and notecards I sold were to my friend, but it totally counts. People saw my art. And what’s better, they liked it. I got so many compliments. And, sure, what else do you say when the person that took the photos is sitting RIGHTTHERE and watching you watch their pieces. Still, it was a great experience. I didn’t even break even on the show entry fee, let alone all the money I poured into resources, but I had planned to do the September show (got pulled away by out-of-town obligations) and I think October & November are more specialized shows… But next summer, I’ll be ready. I might start an Etsy store but it almost gives me panic attacks to think about it. I’m such a headcase.

At any rate. I sold a photograph which makes me think maybe someday I can sell more. People might actually like my pictures enough to hang them up in their home. I get irrationally emotional about the concept.

Here’s the only pic I have from that day, a snapshot of my booth at the show before it started.

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