Note: I wrote this blog post two months ago and it sat here unpublished. So here you go.
If you follow me on any of my social media sites, you’ve probably been blasted with photos of a smiling me in front of frames of artwork urging you to “come on down to the Rose street Artists market where i’m selling my art” probably with some excessive exclamations.
i had all those cliche thoughts about moving to Australia for a year; you know the whole “finding myself” and the age old “a year to travel alone to find out what i want to do with life” crud. Its kinda hard to realize you’re actually doing those things when they’re happening. Its not until after the fact when i sit down and think holy shit there is 55 days left, am i any closer to getting my shit together?
Turns out i actually kind of had.
This map thing has been around for a while. At Uni I studied art and i started making the maps as part of my thesis project. I rushed through uni projects and i didn’t really connect with anything i was creating because it was all for a deadline and for a grade. When i got here to Australia, a year after i finished producing crappy stuff for the sake of graduating, i realized i could maybe possibly make somewhat of a career out of my artwork. OK so “career” is a stretch, but i could at least make it a hobby and try my hand at selling some of my work at markets. I didn’t think my maps would be of any interest to anyone really, considering i got decent but not outstanding feedback on the very same project i created for my senior thesis.
This is what my work looked like as of May 2014:
I was semi stalking the insta of this cute artist market in the funky-retro-artist-grungy suburb of Fitzroy and i saw in teeny print the application for stall holders. On a whim i applied linking my portfolio here as my proof of work.
Even though I’d never sold any of my artwork before.
But two days later it was approved and i was granted 2 days of stall space 3 months later. I was pumped. But stressed. Hos do i go from making nothing really to making an actual product to sell to people that will eventually end up framed in someones HOME?!?!?!?
For two months i pretty much said ill do it later while i quietly had mini panic attacks every morning thinking i gotta start making some shit today”. I couldn’t keep looking at the fancy social media posts and reading the blogs of other artists just like me who were actually promoting themselves and believed in their artwork.
So i got to work. My stomach still sank every morning knowing i’m one less day closer to the day ill be standing there like a nOOb in front of my artwork awkwardly wondering if people looking are looking at my stuff on tn the walls thinking oOoOoh that looks beautiful i want it! or if they were looking at the sweat under my armpits.
But i was actually making some stuff i was proud of, like these.
The night before the market i crammed all night making last minute maps and cringing as my knife slipped over and over in the rush but i continued on, hoping people wouldn’t notice if they picked up my artwork for inspection. I didn’t know if id need 100 pieces or if 10 would suffice. I woke up every hour checking the time knowing my trusty partner in crime (hi paul) would be picking me up and all my suitcases full of junk.
But it turned out the suitcases weren’t fill of junk. They were full of some pretty decent artwork once the 2 hours of fiddling with layout and composition of the frames on the flimsy timber display wall was done and i actually felt proud as i stood in front of my stuff for this photo:
That day at the market was quiet. It was thundering and i was in the back corner, presumably here the least amount of people walked. I didn’t have any sales, but i had at least ten people stop and ask me about how i did my maps, and almost all those people made comments that it was unique, or cool, or like nothing they have ever seen before. Yup, that felt nice.
I finished the market day walking out with the same amount of money and artwork as when i arrived, but i left feeling like i d something i have secretly wanted to do for a long time. Flipping through instagram and learning about other artists who have made little businesses for themselves made name a little jealous. I wanted that. And i actually sorta kinda did it.
Because within the next few days i got 4 custom orders through my online shop…which in reality i didn’t think i would get it all . That means they saw my work at the market, had a hot minute to stew over whether they wanted to purchase one and liked my work enough to come back to it. And over a month since my first market i’m still getting orders from people who saw me at the market.
So yes, i did it. And it might not be a career prospect for me, but i feel like i made a name for myself. Even if its in this tiny circle of people who purchased stuff from me or the coupla hundred people who even let their eyes rest on my work and name for more than 2 seconds.