My First Art Show!

My First Art Show!
When I saw the call for art for Pancakes and Booze, I immediately said I'm going to do it. I went through the few images of my past work that I had and said what the hell, let's submit it. Can you imagine the excitement that came over me when a few weeks after that point I got the acceptance email? At that point I had never participated in an art show. And to be honest, I had only attended one or two as a guest leading up until that point. But in the moment of applying, I didn't think about any of that. It wasn't until I had to actually create the art that it hit me…. What the hell am I going to create?
I have this habit where sometimes (okay… MOST of the time) my mouth moves faster than my brain. I say this because after I got accepted I immediately hopped on social media to share with the "world" (aka my 600 followers) that I would be debuting 6 new pieces at the show. Now my BRAIN kicked in after the fact and reminded me that… you don't have any pieces. You don't have any ideas. So what are you going to do?
I did what I do best…. Procrastinated. In my mind, I already knew I could do it. But then when it came time to do it, I completely lost that sense of confidence. The final two weeks leading up to the show was a complete frenzy in my house and in my mind. Not to mention, I had just started my new full time job which had me commuting back and forth to the office after almost two years of working from home. All that is to say, your girl was stressed, overwhelmed, and had no clue how she'd pull this off.
Let's talk about the creation process. Again, I didn’t know what I was doing. But once I found the reference models that would serve as the basis for my art, I just let my mind go from there. I never have a plan when I start a canvas. Now looking back, I see that my "no plan" method tends to create the most out of the box concept. When I try to have a plan and really fully develop the idea in my head, I fall short. It still comes out nice but never what I originally see in my head.
So of the 6 canvases that I needed to create, I had about 3 halfway ready. My boyfriend and I had to put in a LOT of overtime nights just to get through all 6. It was to the point where I actually tried to readjust my sleep schedule so I could have the energy to work from 11p - 6am on canvases. The day before the show came and I got to sit in my art room and look at what I was able to pull off. I genuinely loved (almost) all of them… 5 out of 6.
When I was time to get ready and pack up for the show, that's when all my confidence went out the window. I looked back at my pieces and started questioning everything. Are people going to like this? Did I make enough pieces? Do they seem too girly and one-sided? I had so many challenging thoughts in my head. And then the anxiety attack came full on.
We pulled up to the venue for setup hours and walked inside first to see where I would setup. The great thing about Pancakes & Booze is that you get to pick your spot. First come first served. As we walked down the aisles I saw this one spot off to the side that called to me. I'm not sure why, but I gravitated towards it. Looking back I now think it was because of the lights. I'm drawn to bright spaces and will wander to anywhere with lights. I stood in front of the space, looked at my boyfriend and said "what about this one?" He said yep and went to work on getting nails in the wall. As I watched him start the process, my anxiety came back again… why? Because I had nothing else to do but look around. MAN, the amount of talent in that room was breathtaking. I watched other artists pull out and display their work like legit professionals. They knew exactly where it would be placed, they had props, chairs, and really created vibes in their booth space. I looked back at mine and panicked. I wanted to leave so badly. I told my boyfriend that I'm going to walk to the car and grab canvases.
During my walk outside, I let my mind take over and not in a good way. By the time I came back to my booth, I was so ashamed to unpackage my art. I wanted to cry like a baby and honestly for no reason at all. My boyfriend was already exhausted from lack of sleep and energy trying to keep me together. At that point, he was not having any excuse that I tried to throw at him. We got all of my art hung and walked back to the car. I told him the truth…
"I'm not meant to be here. Everyone in there is WAY more talented than me. I don't know why they selected me to be in this… my stuff is not as good. Did you see that girl? Her stuff is amazing. Did you see that guy? I'm so close to his stuff that I really don't want to do this. Can we move my booth to another space somewhere in the back?" The car ride home went like that the WHOLE way. As we pulled into the house, I was quiet. Not because I calmed down, but because I ran out of excuses to say.
It's time for the show to start and here we are back in the building at my booth (and in case you were wondering, no I wasn't allowed to switch booths). By now, all of the artists are there and set up. I couldn't run so I just stood there and tried my best to get my shit together while talking to my boyfriend and best friend. I honestly don't even remember when the show officially started. But I do remember the change… it was magical. One moment I am standing there shaking and fidgeting, and then in the next moment I'm standing in front of a crowd explaining my art and being praised for it. I ended up talking for the entire time and started enjoying myself as the night went on. I had my friends and family stop by to see my work and that felt very surreal. The product of my tirelessly creative nights were on display, and people actually LOVED it. And bought my art too (I wasn't prepared for that!)
Ever since that night, July 30th 2021 (a night I will never forget) to be exact. I've been following that feeling. I won't say chasing because in my mind you don't always catch what you chase. I'm following a dream and grasping every moment that feels just like how I felt mid-way into that first show. I'm drawn to the feeling when your nerves leave your body and auto-pilot sets in. You know? When your mouth knows what to say and when to smile and when your body looks like it is in the right place at the right time.
That's been my motivation over the last year when it comes to my art. Ultimately, what can I do that will make me feel like that again? The answer is pretty straightforward… keep creating. Keep walking forward when you want to turn back to the car and cry. Keep standing when you want to sit down and let people walk past you. Keep hanging your work when your mind is trying to tell you to take it down. Keep believe that you are meant to be there when sometime you aren't entirely sure.
That day, that night… hell that MONTH taught me more about myself than I had ever learned at that moment. And it served as the entryway to the door that would start my artist journey and lead me right where I am now.