Preparations (shortened story)
Framing new works. That was an interesting exercise. For starters I had to pick which works from the previous show will not make it to this one. That was a heart breaking experience with every matted work i took out of the frame. All of them seamed to have matured while waiting for the next show. In addition this venue had perfect track lighting to bring out the colors in all of the darker works.
Making a frame for Key to the forest. That was rather insane proposition. The only thing that I did not have in short supply for this project was determination. The artwork is 28″X39″ and I was building a frame from scratch without many tools to fall back on. Luckily in the process I complained enough about it to by standers for one of them to step in and offer to make a frame for me. Brad has a nice set of wood working tools and a stack of black walnut that he was eager to take for a spin. He made me a wonderful frame with a natural oil finish that matches the artwork wonderfully. I took it to a local framing shop with an artwork and had it glassed and dust sealed right on the day that I was hanging the exhibit.
The general logistics of the operation was timed down to the hour. Between work and home I was cutting mat, mounting works calling various people with status updates, price quotes, promotion printing status and states of the frame for my centerpiece. I was able to experience a little bit of quiet before the storm on Wednesday evening, when I hung all of the show.
The exercise proved to be insane and it sort of culminated on the day of the opening.
Day of the opening
It was 4:50 and I was discussing my parking arrangements with a volley parking attendant. All I had ahead of me was dragging a trunk full of supplies three stories down over escalators.
- All the horses took their positions. And they are off!
He is garbing a case of wine and a couple of bags, he is pulling the damn door with a finger… He is turning left. Damn! On this side escalator is only going up. Switch over to the other side of the long balcony and of we go. Making it two stories down among the crowd and he is in the gallery. The tables are set the light is on. Some bystander starts asking him about the ways he matted the works and how he saw something pretty cool in NYC that was even easier… OK enough with the horse race… I asked he to stick around, he disappeared. Oh well. Off I run for the rest of the stuff to make it in before 5:00 pm. After nearly breaking my wrists while carrying foldable chairs I end up with the whole set up. I unwrapped the food and wine by about 5:15 and the wait begun.
The show in full light was glowing around me. It’s depth, warmth and festiveness kept me going through the night. Friends from different turns of my life stopped by to see me and the show and hang around. Random store visitors were coming in from the crowd outside. I invited everyone stepping in and walking by for some wine and cheese, for their pleasure and to lighten my load on the way home. Luckily by the beginning of the show my “art show setup OCD” had subsided so I was not nervous about the line up of the frames and cleanliness of the glass any longer. People were asking me wild questions and making very interesting comments. Strangers were hanging around and taking in the sights in a warm inner glow of the works. Looking back at it I could see people being honestly curious about the works. There were still some questions about the locations where the photographs were taken, but mostly the conversation was about the light, reflection, shadows and effects. This was exactly the effect we were looking for all this time. People taking in the sights, inhaling the atmosphere of the work and not asking about it’s subject. Feeling instead of trying to find out.
I over packed for the occasion and was left at the end of the day with half a case of wine and a month supply of cheese. Reflecting back on the show opening it was a mixed bag, but at the end we had a sale, an exposure and clear interest from complete strangers. May these troubled time bring all of us much joy and reflection on good around us.