Booth Lessons

This weekend had its challenges: a 5:00 a.m. set-up following the hour lost to “springing-forward” plus another hour lost due to travel eastward, location challenges including a restaurant encroaching into our space, and temperatures and humidity that seriously challenged the wardrobe in the luggage I packed almost a month prior. Combine these temporal challenges with some unwittingly insulting comments, and sometimes I question why I have chosen to share my artwork in this way. Easily forgotten are the importance of accessibility and the democratization that the art fairs provide, the richness of watching people interact with my work, and all the lessons I can learn when I am paying attention.

 

Mile Marker 268, 16×22

 

Then with one brief encounter I remembered without a shadow of a doubt why I was standing in the street, tired and sweaty, allowing any passerby to interact and experience my artwork. It made up for each frown that exited my booth, the Wizard of Oz jokes that are endured, each “these are just photographs” that is heard. As I stood in the back corner of my booth trying to escape the blazing hot sun a elderly woman and her daughter stopped in front of my booth. I couldn’t hear all of the words said when the mother placed her chin close to the daughters shoulder to speak very low, with an ease between them that made it clear that this exchange had been happening in just this way for a long time. But I did hear her tell her daughter that my images felt like summertime, it was warm outside and probably the end of the day, that she thought maybe you could walk forever without encountering anyone or getting where you were going. And as the sweat rolled down my back and she described my artwork to her blind daughter, I knew why I was there.

 

10 Comments

  1. bigjim March 21, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    i hope if i am ever blind i have a poet as my guide too! xoj

    • Chris March 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      Not a poet but I will gladly be your guide. Looking forward to seeing you real soon!

  2. Patricia Hecker March 21, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    Beautifully caps off a long hot day. A grand reminder that art is a shared and celebrated experience and felt in the heart if not seen by the eyes.

    • Chris March 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      The reminder of this is the joy of doing art festivals!

  3. erin mcgrane March 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

    • Chris March 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      You are beautiful Erin.

  4. Janie Jones March 22, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Wow!

  5. winnie dunn March 23, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    Chris
    I have always felt that your work, in all its forms, transcends the ‘visual art’ experience… it transforms the present moment, transporting people to another place… such that the actual act of standing in your booth becomes irrelevant for a while. Perhaps ‘hearing’ the experience of your work is not so far away. Those of us who can currently see may rely too heavily on that portal to activate our internal lived experiences…

    • Chris March 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      Thanks Winnie. Very interesting to think about. I have exploring the idea of adding audio to some of my pieces to change the viewing experience. The difference between viewing the image while listening to birds chirp versus hearing a construction site could play with the meaning in a very interesting way!

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] fellow artist Chris Dahlquist’s blog this morning, reminded me to focus on those that get […]

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    […] This pow­er­ful story is from fel­low artist, Sharon Spillar after read­ing the post “Booth Lessons”: […]

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