The show went up on the wall Sunday, August 2 and the reception was this past Friday evening. The event began at 6pm. Many of the venues include wine pourings for charity and live music. I have no say in what musicians play during the month I am showing (although I will try to change that in the future.) This time, it was a quintet of very stern-looking ladies (and one gentlemen) in period costumes playing authentic Renaissance tunes on many strange but beautiful instruments - recorders, krumhorns, and viols - all gleaming dark wood and polished brass. It was pretty music, unique and lilting. It was easy to imagine a gathering of lords and ladies, in stiff velvet and crinoline, dancing practiced routines at a polite distance. As you might imagine, this high brow music was jarringly juxtaposed against my "punk rock" art on the walls, a collection of decidedly less than high brow creatures with snaggle-toothed grins, pointed horns, and bulging eyes. Throughout the evening, several people commented on this disconnect between music and art; next year, I will try to convince my host that perhaps more upbeat accompaniment would make a better pairing with my whimsical, energetic style.
And the response was exactly what I hoped for: smiles, laughter, close examination, excited conversation. People leaned in to read a title and then realized each piece had a unique, silly name. Many proceeded to read all of the tags, looking from the label to the creature, connecting with the characters I had put on display. One woman stopped and thanked me for the "joyfulness," a wide smile and twinkle in her eyes. One couple walked in and audibly gasped "Wow!" A little thrill ran up my spine. This...this is why I make art to send out into the fray.
It was, of course, also thrilling to see the little red "SOLD" dots scattered throughout my show. By the end of the night, I had sold half my pieces; that makes 19 in just twelve days. The smiles the cake, the sales the icing. I know that several pieces are destined for children's rooms. I hope those kids make my creatures their own, inventing new names and wild adventures for the sweet monsters who will guard their bedrooms. Many other pieces are going off to live in living rooms that celebrate art and color and smiles.
A couple people asked "Will there be more?" Yes. There are so many more where these came from. I've learned my lesson. Trust your gut. Follow the urging of your heart even when your brain tries to reason you away from the leap. These truisms aren't always true but this night, they were. From the moment that first monster appeared almost a year ago, something quiet stirred inside me and I am so glad that I finally listened to that whisper (and the encouraging shouts of friends, known and unknown, near and far.) To you and them, a thank you.