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, 16x22

 

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 […]

  2. By What's in a name? | Chris Dahlquist on April 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm

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

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