Life As An Itinerant Artist

Stories and anecdotes from fifteen years on the art show circuit. 

Art Show Voodoo

Chipmunk begging for food

Every artist has some quirky rituals that insure success in the weekend’s venture — I call these rituals “art show voodoo”. I’m not immune from this behavior, either. For example, we’ve gotten in the habit of always hanging a certain image somewhere in the booth. The picture, a rather endearing photograph of a small chipmunk, entitled “Will Work for Food”, taken up at Lake Agnes near Banff, supposedly brings good luck to the booth. Art show voodoo.

We’ve got other practices as well — we always zip tie the canopy walls to the bottom stay-bars at night, to keep them from flapping in a surprise storm, and to keep casual intruders out — the theory is that if it’s a bit more difficult to get into the tent, a homeless person will look elsewhere for a shelter in the night. Art show voodoo.

If it doesn’t look like rain, we’re sure to carry the backpack with the rain gear in it, and stash a couple of tarps under the browse bins, cause everyone knows that carrying your rain gear will keep it from raining. Art show voodoo.

If I don’t have one of my lucky talismans on my person, sales will suffer. These include the lucky Tigger pin given to me by a friendly Walt Disney Festival of the Masters volunteer, my lucky fumbling stone found on the shore of Lake Powell, and my lucky gold Sacajawea dollar coin. Any of those will work as well as a rabbit’s foot. Art show voodoo.

Some of our practices seem a little fussy to the outsider, but most of them are just common sense. If you’ve got some ideas on what constitutes art-show voodoo, feel free to post a comment!

May 22, 2008

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