Whew! Yes, it was a frantic September; yes, procrastination tends to feed on itself, and yes, (oh-no!) the Days-Without-Job portion of the Squish-o-meter is ticking off its final days.
What I like to refer to as Square State Tour '09 did not provide a lot of cash. In retrospect not so surprising given the economy, and the shows I chose, most in places that like most American cities, struggle to see the value in buying fine art anyway. That was actually part of the plan; unfortunately there is no way to find out if these cities ( Casper, WY; Salida, CO; Albuquerque NM; sorry, UT..) will buy art until one goes and does a show there.
Nor was the timing something I could control; with the corporations racing to gut pension plans before Obama stops the Bushies' greed-fest, I was in a take-it-or leave-it situation.
But the experience was still a joy and not just for its effect on the ol' Squishometer. In fact, why don't we step over and take a peek at where it stands, right now?
Days without job: 190
So I made 6 months, and again, I recognize that I'm certainly better off than most in corporate America, where personal time is viewed with suspicion, and creativity is something that appears only in those tacky motivational posters. Simply put, there is no substitute for time spent on your own goals. Other benefits:
- Got to see a lot of the Rockies, always a plus. Mostly stayed on the 1-25 corridor, from Sandia Peak and early fall Raton Pass roughly up to Laramie Peak, with Pikes Peak in the middle. Throw in South Park and College Peaks, with the late afternoon sun glazing the iconic western pyramids. It doesn't get much better than that.
- Got positive feedback, and made connections that may be valuable in the future. Casper and Albuquerque seem within a few years of being viable art markets. Casperites in particular seemed to really be pained not to be able to buy art, as if in Paul Westerberg's words, they were "aching to be" Also saw old friends, including after 30 years, high school buddy George.
-fine tuned my preparation and organization for future shows, and of course, there is no shelf date on unsold artwork. In fact, with all the new work I added this year it's just more choice to offer when the economy improves.
-Finally, the surprising fact that Denver's art scene is quite strong. We knew there was good work here, but importantly, Denver has begun to offer real support. The Denver show nearly tripled the other three in sales combined, and I've realized that it's wrong to put down the scene, which only taps into coastal prejudices.
Upshot, for me, I'll get used to my part time job, and sales will improve, though in 2010, they'll be improving in Denver only. No other Rocky Mountain city is really ready for fine art. After things improve, I'll look at other large cities.
Short-term, these positives won't prevent the necessity of getting a job. Riding out the rough weather a bit. Just as those of us who may have wished for a quick turn around from the dark years in the political landscape are finding out, it's going to be a long haul. Sunshine on amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesty, eyes open, one foot forward.
Squish-o-Meter: Aching to be
p.s. Squishtoid will certainly continue, though I'll have to re-calibrate the Squish-o-Meter a bit. Next up: more works-in-progress; approximately 4 solid weeks of Pogues/Detroit Cobras pre-hype, exegesis, and review; and Ohhh Yesssss- pointlessly bitter and scathing remarks about whatever benighted part time job I wind up falling into ( unless it provides health care, of course).