What's In A Name: Part I

The giant row of evergreen trees cast long triangular shadows over us, spilling onto the street, as JQ and I observed from behind the table of our display booth. Being in a Colorado resort town for an art festival was initially a hopeful prospect, but after three days of slow traffic and casual observers, my hope faded with Sunday afternoon’s waning light.

The three-day duration of the festival yielded a trickle of pedestrians milling up and down the street lined with artist tents. Walking in the company of friends and family, the tourists greatly outnumbered serious patrons. Many tended to fixate on a single work or wall of work, with little regard to anything beyond their acute perspective. Some were curious enough to walk into a tent to observe a particular work more closely, while fewer still sought to indulge in a conversation with the artist. The woman selling jewelry across the way from me seemed to be the only exhibitor doing any consistent business while the rest of us interacted with one another, exchanging stories of other shows and sharing various insights about our experience as artists.

JQ and I spent the majority of our time evaluating, rearranging work, and planning for the next event. On the final day of the show, another exhibitor entered into my booth. He observed my work a little before he spoke. He came to inform me of another show coming up, and encouraged me to apply. The conversation meandered into the topic of mutual acquaintances when he suddenly recognized my name.

“Oh, you’re the artist who signs his work in different places,” he said. A little surprised by the comment, I nodded in agreement, as if that was what distinguished me from other painters. After he left, I continued to mull over his remark, not entirely sure how I felt about it. On one hand, it’s nice to be recognized by something distinct; on the other hand, my goal as an artist is to be known for things like uniqueness of style, composition and palette… not a signature. Until that moment, I really hadn’t given much thought to the matter since my college days when I first considered where and how to sign a painting.

To be continued…