With Spring, come art shows.  The itinerant artist takes to the road.  While you pass through the white tent gauntlet, do you make conversation with the staunch-willed creatives, or do you nod and walk on? Have you wondered what it is like to parade your blood, sweat and tears before strangers in a strange town?  Well, we here at Hip Green Scene decided to get to know a few of the brave exhibitors.  We handed them a questionnaire, just for fun.  

How did you decide to pursue this as a living?

Sam Shaban:  After university, I got a job at Multi National Bank (had to pay my impending student loans)–hated it.  A year later, I quit to pursue my passion.

Sonya Coulson Rook/Metamorphosis Metals:  I received my degree in Metalsmithing and fell in love with the medium immediately.  It took me a while to get on track, but I’ve known from my first class that this is what I eventually wanted to do.

Alice Scott/Symbology:  My parents are also artists.  I grew up doing shows with them, so I met many crazy artists at a young age and knew I wanted to do it too!

Bri from Itty Bitty Press:  My husband and I started Itty Bitty Press after he was laid off 4 years ago.  We decided to take that opportunity to go in a different direction with our lives and work.

What is the worst thing about participating in an art show?

Sam Shaban:  The weather is an unpredictable variable.

Sonya Coulson Rook/Metamorphosis Metals:  Shows can be a risk both financially and emotionally.  It is always tough to put yourself and your work out there, and you have to develop a tough skin.

Alice Scott/Symbology: The worst thing is when you set up, and then it rains.

Bri from Itty Bitty Press: Carrying everything.

What is the best thing about it or your work?

Sam Shaban:  Art festivals are democratic.  All kinds of people see my work who would never go to a gallery.

Sonya Coulson Rook/Metamorphosis Metals:  It is very rewarding when people react positively to your work, and to see it make a personal connection with them.  It’s also incredibly empowering to make a living off your work; to create your own job and have more direct control over your future, the possibilities are limitless.

Alice Scott/Symbology:  The best thing about my work is coming up with a new design and showing it off for the first time–it makes me feel like I’ve really accomplished something.

Bri from Itty Bitty Press:  We get to draw cartoons–how great is that!?

Who is the one person you would most like to see or buy your work?

Sam Shaban:  A new collector just starting out.

Alice Scott/Symbology:  When other artists buy my work, I feel honored because they know exactly how much love I put into each piece.

Bri from Itty Bitty Press:   I’d love to work with Louis C.K.–design a poster for him.  But as for buying our work, we just love the repeat buyers/collectors.

What three things about you equip you for this lifestyle?

Sam Shaban:  1.  I’m thick-skinned–you have to be able to deal with criticism.  2.  I love making art.  Sometimes I hate it, but I work anyway. 3. I’m not afraid to flop.

Sonya Coulson Rook/Metamorphosis Metals:  I’m passionate about what I do, and look forward to work everyday.  I like the variety and the freedom.  Being creative allows me to adapt/reuse etc. and to make do with less.  While I love my job, it’s not glamorous and money often tight.

Alice Scott/Symbology:  Being able to plan ahead, always having snacks, and going with the flow

Bri from Itty Bitty Press:  Organization, patience, and frugality

Whom do you admire and why?

Sam Shaban:  Stephen King, not for his novels, but for his work ethic.  He confessed that he writes everyday, 365 days a year.

Alice Scott/Symbology:  One of my favorite artists is Amy Tavern.  She is a jeweler who travels all over the world and makes artwork about her adventures.  I want to do that too!

Bri from Itty Bitty Press:  Any artist/designer doing their thing.

What is your favorite city/town? Why?

Sam Shaban:  Bogota, Colombia.  It’s a city of extremes.  You can have the best day of your life and the worst day in the same 24 hrs.

Sonya Coulson Rook/Metamorphosis Metals:  Baltimore.  I love the industrial feel of the city, and the community is so supportive of the arts.

Alice Scott/Symbology:   My hometown of Asheville!  Every week there’s a new brewery or restaurant opening.

Bri from Itty Bitty Press:   I love Richmond! There’s always something to do.

A big thanks from Hip Green Scene for playing along….you all get “A’s”!
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