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.