This is part II of the Being a Poster Artist series. One thing I forgot to mention last week was the fact that I was sworn to secrecy during this time period. I couldn’t tell anyone or advertise about it. It was one of the most challenging secrets I had to keep. I was so eager and excited to celebrate this achievement, but had to delay celebration until I got the ok from Santa Fe.
January through April were one of the weirdest time periods of my life. In some ways time was flying by, but in other ways it was dragging on slower than molasses. It wasn’t until the end of January that they finally revealed me as the poster artist. It was at that point that I got serious about final preparation for the show. It was at that point that I knew this wasn’t some crazy dream I was having, this was reality. The saving grace through all this was having a list and setting deadlines for myself. I got everything done that I wanted to get done before the show. Huge progress in show planning for me.
There were two important dates coming up: March 22, the poster unveiling, and April 6-7, the actual art festival. The biggest task I needed to complete in that time period was my 365 Project book. I conceded that I wouldn’t be able to finalize the book, but I could get it to near done, print off an Artist’s Proof, and start taking preorders.
I had also been simmering on a new series to follow up my 365 Project, and this felt like the right time to test the waters. That meant creating new work for the series and getting it printed in time for the show. I’m not sure if this was the best approach, mixing series in the booth, but the feedback was positive overall.
Then there was a new logo design, business card design, branding elements, organization, planning, promotion, an interview for the press release, booth layout, inventory, not to mention all the regular things that have to happen in my life that are part of being a human. I couldn’t have kept it so organized without a list, regular reviews, and staying focused on the goal.
My intentions with all this work was to be prepared for the opportunities that may be presented at the art festival. With the publicity I was going to get I knew it would be the right time to show people the work I created, the book I’ve written, and where I was headed next. All this in the hopes that people would jump on my little bandwagon in support and celebration of the work I was doing, and in the hopes of keeping the wheels rolling.
On March 13, a week before the unveiling, I went down to the Spring Arts House and signed 100 posters. I can say with the utmost certainty that I have never signed my name that many times in one day. In the lead up to all this there was some anxiety about getting the signature right. What if I mess up my name? What if my hand cramps up!? The fears of screwing up 100 posters were floating in the background, but I managed to talk myself through it all.
A week later, March 22 had finally arrived. We pulled up to the house a little after 5pm and I could already see quite a few people there. The initial reaction I had which touched me to my core was I can’t believe these people are here to see me and my work. The profoundness of this hit deep. Just as quickly though, I could feel the anxiety swelling, creeping up my chest with its paralyzing death grip. There was a flash of I can’t do this, let’s turn the car around. But as Peter put the car into park I knew there was no turning back, no time to voice it even.
I said hi to old and new friends outside. I gave Raul a big hug walking inside. I felt an awkwardness in leading up to the unveiling. I knew some people and didn’t know others. I didn’t know how to go up to the ones I didn’t know, but some came up to me. I did my best to make conversation with whoever I was able to approach and whoever was willing to talk to me. Time ticking slower than time could possibly tick. My mind was distracted.
Finally it was time! And somehow it all came together. Somehow the words came through me when it was my turn to say my piece. Then it was over. There was a rush and flurry after the unveiling. Many photos with many new friends. In the haste of it all I actually forgot to take photos with my loved ones. There was so much going on that the thought completely slipped my mind until the next morning. The room cleared out and my mind was finally at ease. I was immensely grateful for everyone being there for me. The next morning I watched the video of the unveiling and wept tears of joy at such a beautiful experience.
The poster unveiling was one of the biggest honors of my life. I was overflowing with gratitude. I felt that all the work I had been putting into my photography since 2010, and art shows since 2014, was finally paying off. Since 2014 there were many times that I wanted to quit. There were many art shows that left me with less money and more art that no one seemed interested in owning. After each bad show I would say I’m done! No more art shows for me. And then a new show deadline would pop up and somehow I’d find myself doing it all over again, reinventing myself in the process. A commitment to my art and an inability to feel satisfied with failing led me to this moment.
Self-care was so important in this time period. I cannot stress that enough. I made sure to take care of my body, mind, and spirit. It also helps to have a good support group. A small but dedicated group of people in my life who were rooting for me like no other, checking in on me throughout the process. I am forever grateful for their presence in my life.
And this concludes my series on being a poster artist. There were many lessons learned, different ways I would have handled the process, all of which were valuable to my development. I am forever grateful to Raul and Kat for seeing the potential of my work, to Santa Fe College & Foundation for the many ways they have supported my education and art by commissioning a piece, and to all my closest friends and family for the unconditional support and love they shared with me through this process. I hope you found this poster series educational and enjoyable. Thanks for following along!
If you have enjoyed my photo blogs and want to support the continuation of my blogging, please consider clicking the Ko-fi button below. For as little as $3, the equivalent of a cup of coffee or hot tea, you can help me keep this website running, and the blogs & photography flowing. Just click the “Support Me on Ko-fi” button below, it only takes a minute of your time. Thank you all for your support! Looking forward to sharing more with you.