Over the past 6 years I've participated in around 40 art shows, fairs and markets and I've met a lot of amazing people along the way but sometimes it's the weirdos who stand out. And how do you handle so many interactions with crackpots? You write them down for some amazing future use (you know, a bestselling tell-all… or umm, maybe a blog post) and you text your friends of course! During the recent One of a Kind show I was speaking with two other artisans about this whole situation and it turns out that both of them keep similar lists of their own. It's sort of a coping mechanism.
At first I would let rude or unsettling remark really get to me but now I feel almost excited when I sense a potential list-worthy comments cooking. It's kind of like a bizarro version of 'Duck, Duck, Goose' that I'll call 'Normal, Normal, Weirdo.' Being a duck is safe. Being a duck is easy. Being a duck normal. Part of you wants to just be a duck but after a while you start craving the thrill of being the goose (or, in this case, witnessing Goosedom in all its glory).
After dozens of conversations at shows with perfectly pleasant, normal people I start looking around, thinking "where’s my next goose??" You always remember the geese. I mean, a man tells you, "I want to chop up one of your paintings and whittle them into tiny replicas of my mother so that my dolls will think I'm popular at my next tea party" -- you remember that. You remember it every night as you're trying to fall asleep. You remember it first thing in the morning when you wake up…
Ok, so I made that one up but here are a few of my favourite interactions from the ol’ list:
FELLA: Did you paint these? ME: Yes. FELLA: All of them? ME: Yes. (Points to specific painting) FELLA: Even that one? ME: Yes.
THE BOYFRIEND: This is awesome – I LOVE it! THE GIRLFRIEND: We do NOT have the same taste.
LADY: I saw you at this show last year... ME: Oh, that’s nice! LADY: I really regret not buying this one painting... ME: Well maybe I have something similar this year! (She looks at me like I'm a compete moron) LADY: Ohhh not YOUR work! (And she walks away)
(Guy looks directly at me – or maybe through me) GUY: The work looked much better last year!
OLDER CHAP: I have no idea what you were trying to paint but this sort of reminds me of a tree... ME: Sir - that is a painting of a tree.
(Man looking at a painting of mine that had white dots)
MAN: I saw a painting once in a gallery with dots in it - was it yours? ME: No.
OLD MAN: Is ‘Schaman’ your real last name? ME:Yes. (Look of doubt) OLD MAN: Are you sure? ME: Yes.
(She actually looked at me while she said this!) WOMAN: I don’t like this art…
DUDE: I saw this painting a year ago in a hotel lobby downtown! ME: That’s not possible. I finished this painting last week… DUDE: No, I definitely saw it there but at the time it had more blue in it. ME: (Silence)
Well, that's the list - hope you enjoyed them!
Have some awesomely strange stories of your own? If so I'd love to hear them! I'm going through a bit of what can only be described medically as 'weirdo withdrawal' :D -Kat