On Being Part of a Venn Diagram vs. Being an Artist

Our accountant is a wonderful, naturally supportive person. My empathic sensors (and logic) tell me that she has her own set of problems but she doesn’t let them get the best of her. She asks me regularly whether I plan to ride my bike to work on Friday.  She shares pictures of her grandson and tells me about her quilting group. Last week, my Project Get Over Myself project was bringing some of my paintings into the office and letting people see them; now I’m flagged (read: outed) as a painter. She sent me a link to a fine arts festival happening over the weekend.

As usual, I have two points I have to digest. I dislike the bins people put me in, and I dislike art fairs.

I have to get over my knee-jerk when people stick a pin in me that has a label attached; it’s not as serious as all that for them, and it also means they find me interesting and are trying to connect. The thing I want the most is the thing that scares me the most. Accountant is awesome because she does not try to get me to go to a thing with her, and she isn’t going to be disappointed later when I keep not showing up.

I don’t like to attend art fairs unless I’m hanging therein. I am not sure what I’m supposed to take away from such an event. Possibilities are:

·         To be immersed in the culture
·         To gain inspiration
·         To measure my own progress against that of others from the fixed point of Hanging In Public
·         To network with others in the same field
·         To identify myself as being a member of this Venn circle

1.      I don’t like this one, because I’m worried it’s going to interfere with my process of gathering data and waiting for something to spew out. The data gathered at such a function is already categorized; will this introduce a virus, so to speak?
2.      See Explanation 1. When things are already categorized, I lose the opportunity to affix my own label to them; at the very least, the preconceived category risks supersession of my own label and thus sullies The Process. Or so I like to think.
3.      This is more useful when I am also hanging in said environment, but I am not sure how I feel about it. At base, it’s vain. Vanity is a caveat of anything artistic, or maybe that is what I learned through feedback growing up. Maybe it’s just my inner voice yelling SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP and therefore blocking my own personal progress.  Hm. This needs investigating.
4.      This is a concept I have always shunned and I am now open to exploring. I like networking; I find the best networking is meeting someone in the wrong field and connecting on a secondary level. I like meeting someone at a book club and finding they also share interest in creative fiction, or gardening. Meeting other artists at a place focusing on art feels dirty; on the other hand, if I follow my own directive, I may meet someone at an art function who is also interested in gardening, or fusion cooking, or motorcycles. Now I’m getting somewhere.
5.      When I say identify myself, I mean identify myself TO MYSELF. Admit this is one of my legion. This is what I do.

One of my favorite memories comes from New Orleans: I was sitting at a zydeco bar for the 2nd time with Moe, discussing how I think it’s weird that all my friends post anything octopus-related to my Facebook page. I’m designated as Octopus fan. I want to feel misunderstood, because it’s not all things octopus which interests me, but the amazing reality of them: octopuses (yes this is correct) are agile, highly intelligent, and motivated. They have no bones, just a beak. They have agendas.

At this point, the little guy who was our bartender stopped mid-stroll.

“You’re talkin’ about octopuses? Did you know their DNA is completely unique compared to all other animals on the planet?” He explained briefly, and then rolled out. You see? My favorite thing – being in one place for one reason (music) and connecting for another (marine zoology.)

Looks like I have to consider going to an art festival this weekend. Now I know that I’m not going there to be immersed in art, but to look for a connection to something completely unrelated. 

Also, I have business cards to hand out!


  1. Sweet friend, you are overthinking it. What's new? LOL. All artists want at those art fairs is to sell something. ANYTHING. It means they are not out there floating on an angry ocean unnoticed. If someone pays money for you they probably really like you. And creative people like being adored. How do I know? Book Fairs. (It doesn't even have to be a LOT of money, just something.)


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