Monday, November 30, 2015

MakeIt Edmonton show experience, by Natasa Vretenar

I am always looking for places where I can show my art in public. There are two big craft shows in Edmonton - one at the Butterdome and another one at Expo - MakeIt Edmonton. I looked at both of them for a while and decided to take a plunge sometime in the first part of the year and pay for the MakeIt Edmonton booth. The reason why I chose MakeIt Edmonton over the Butterdome show is that there were more fine artists in the MakeIt show. Both shows feature a lot of craft makers, but MakeIt show had about 20 artists signed up already when I applied. Another thing that MakeIt show has is a lot of (paid) parking - makes it easier for customers to come and park. Both shows have entrance charge, so that is about the same for customers.

My husband is an amazing man and he helped me setup and take down the grid walls and paintings. It would have been hard to do it on my own, and I am grateful. We set up the entire booth a day before the show - this took about a couple of hours. Then the show opened up on Thursday at 10 am. I was there until 9 pm, as well as on Friday. There were a lot of moms with little babies lined up in front of the show even before it opened! I have never seen so many cute babies in one place :).
Lot of people passed by and a few stopped by my booth to chat and ask a few questions about the art. It was a long day and I realized it was a good thing to have my kindle on me to read a book to pass the time. After the first day I decided to bring my work with me to the show and paint.

Painting in front of people can be intimidating, especially at first. I have not done it in a long time, so I had my reservations about bringing my easel with me. I also did not plan on doing this so I had no idea what would be a good thing to paint over the weekend. I brought my paint and supports and easel anyways on the second day! I worked on two wolf paintings that first day.

On the third day I worked on buffalo and  magpie paintings

The last day I worked on another prairie storm painting.

It was great to bring work to the show - my time flew by and it helped connect with people visiting the show- they stopped to look at what i was doing and commented on my work, and asked questions. It was really fun to talk about my technique. My improvised studio was small but efficient, even though I did not bring any of my texture building gels and mediums. It goes to show that if there is a will - there will be a way to create art - even with a limited space, and limited time.

Some of my friends also stopped by and said hi. It is a pleasure to see someone you know at the shows. I made two sales - one couple bought a painting without realizing I was from the same ex-country as they were from :). It is good to run into someone who speaks your native language. Another lady bought one of my favourite rooster paintings. I think that people who buy my art feel what I am trying to express with my art - I don't think my art is just a pretty picture that goes on the wall or matches a piece of furniture.  I appreciate all the art lovers who buy my art and support my artistic journey. It is not an easy journey to take in terms of financial matters, but it is a journey that is filled with continuous personal growth and introspection. I am looking forward to the future and creating more art.

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