As an aside, I highly recommend having a long hard look at Variance's work. He does some fabulous stuff and has, to my eye, an incredible precision and artistry the likes of which I have seen no where else. His style of work is quite evocative of da Vinci's pen and ink drawings and Ryan's fascination with and use of the body as metaphor is breathtaking.
When you are an artist, you lay a certain amount of your persona bare and publicise a great deal of what you hold dear to you. Inevitably, you either quit, develop a thick skin, or learn to laugh hard and long at the world around you. If you're lucky, you do both of the last two.
My personal favourites from the afore-mentioned site are (n.b. these are cut and pasted from the NAIA site. All credit for accumulating them should be attributed to the NAIA):
When I was a student we had a show that included demonstrations of the different classes taught at the school, one of which was raku. We had been watching a blown glass demo and someone announced that they would soon be unloading the kiln for a demo of raku firing techniques. Close by were two sweet older ladies sitting on a bench and immediately one asked the other, "But what about the RACCOONS?! They don't hurt them do they? Would they use a REAL raccoon?" I HAD to set them straight even though I was about to fall over laughing and to this day whenever I see or do raku pottery, I think of the raccoons. Your collection of things overheard at fairs is a riot!
Thanks, Lisanne Garvin
One of my first shows was an outdoor show that my 12 year old daughter was helping me with. An elderly gentleman walked into my booth and asked my daughter if this was her work, with which she replied: "No, it's my Dad's work". I was standing nearby talking to another person, but over heard her conversation. After a minute or so of looking at my work (and still not aware that I was there) the old man said "this is pretty good stuff, but it's kind of expensive…..is your father dead? Quickly she answered with a straight face "No, but he's working on it."
My ex-wife does black and white landscape photography of Scotland, which is her homeland. At one show I overheard a young man tell his date: "WOW! I didn't know everything in Scotland was black and white!"
A man walked into booth, looked at my drawings and asked, "Is this prison art?" I replied, "No, what do you mean by prison art?" "Well I used to be a chaplain at the local prison and many of the prisoners do work just like this but better. Are you sure the artist isn't in prison?" Partly offended and partly amused, I looked him square in the eyes and said, "Not yet."
Frustrated Judge to artist who has demanded to know why he did not receive an award. “Your work is good and original, unfortunately your good work is not original and your original work is not very good.”
I'm a photographer and have been asked if I have any pictures of unicorns. I have also been asked (more than once, I might add) if I was there when I took those pictures. Some of us work hard at making a nice display. A jeweler friend of mine won an award at a show and hung his ribbon on his backdrop panels which were nice wood folding screens with fabric panel inserts. A man come up to his booth and told him that the award was well deserved for such beautiful looking screens!
This is slightly related to the thread below, which I agree is wonderful. Like many artists at the shows, I spend so much time explaining what I do that I'm constantly reminded of a comment by Picasso on that subject: "Everyone wants to understand painting. Why doesn't one try to understand the song of a bird? Why does one like the night, a flower, all that surrounds us without trying to understand them. Whereas they want to understand painting."
A friend of mine was having a very bad show and her attitude was slowly going in that direction as well. As she was sitting in her booth she recognized a past customer entering her booth and her hopes were rekindled. After looking around a little bit the woman approached my friend and expressed a deep appreciation for my friend's work. She told my friend that she wanted to support all her efforts over the past years by thanking her for being an artist. The customer than went back to looking at the work. My friend thanked her and went to the back of her booth for something. When she came back out, the woman had left. My friend was thinking that if the woman really wanted to support her she should have bought a piece. As my friend went to sit down there was an envelope on her chair. My friend sat down and opened it. Inside was a $100 bill and a note that said, "Thank You".
Two beautifully dressed women stopped in front of a booth in Atlanta and one said to her friend "Aren't these beautiful?""Yes" she replied, "ALL this is so beautiful. I wonder how they find time to make it?" "Well", explained the first, "none of them work."
Heard at the AASAF: "George, look at all these artists! Where did they all come from?" George: "Oh well, you know Alice, the auto plants have been laying off a lot of people lately.
Heard in Detroit: An elderly lady and her daughter come around the corner from a side street onto the art fair. Says the elderly lady to her daughter, "Oh my, look at all this mess"
As a woodturner, I take a lot of pride in converting an ordinary piece of
wood into a beautifully shaped and finished hollow vessel. A visitor to my
exhibit once asked 'what kind of trees are these that grow into these