Reality Bites

I found out last week I was accepted into the Art Students League of Denver's Summer Art Market. It's a two day festival where I'll have the opportunity, along with two-hundred-or-so other artists, to sell my work and meet art enthusiasts, as well as potential clients. As I was thinking about the show and my experiences thus far (this will be my fourth year of participation), I was reminded of this little nugget:

It was my second show, in 1999, and I was still relatively new to the experience of dealing with clients. Being an artist today often means striking a balance between the creative process and fundamental business operations. Because I do not have a gallery that represents me (nor did I at the time of this story), I am responsible for marketing and selling my work in addition to creating it. The selling aspect of my work has always been challenging for me, as I'm not exactly a "social butterfly." Never the less, it is an important aspect of what I do, so I've tried my best to learn and improve at the art of selling... this particular occasion just happened to be one of my growing pains.

A woman, who appeared to be in her 50's, walked into my tent with a few friends or relatives of hers. After looking around, she decided to purchase a painting of mine that really had some spiritual significance to me. The painting was set in a meditative blue background with various images that served as symbols to tell a story. I really liked the piece and was glad it had found a home. As I began to write up a receipt for the work, the woman signed up for my mailing list and we made small talk about the artwork. At the conclusion of our exchange, I said to her, "If you have any questions or want to discuss the piece at all, please feel free to call me." I was sincere and simply wanted to acknowledge the bond that I felt was forming between an artist and patron through a special painting.

Clearly, the woman wasn't quite as enthused as she indignantly replied, "I've already bought the piece. I don't want to talk to you about it." I was mortified.