Journal UpdateJournal UpdateAC 2011 Wrap-Up
Well folks, AC2011 has come to a close and it was definitely eventful!
Coming down from Toronto with ~tarkheki
, I was expecting the border crossing at Buffalo to be business as usual. However, after being asked a number of questions about why I was visiting, they inspected the vehicle, found my framed prints destined for the art show and, eventually, my entire catalog of prints I intended to make available at the Artist Alley. We were flagged, had our passports and keys confiscated and after waiting about an hour, we were told that the value of the goods we were taking into the United States was too much. They then gave us an ultimatum: turn back or find a broker to set up an account with us and clear the artwork. However, they also told us brokers don't usually set up accounts for people in our situation so they were essentially telling us to go back to Canada.
We decided to try and find a broker, despite again being told how unlikely it was by another officer. We found a small Fed-Ex office and told our situation to anyone that would listen. There were a lot of raised eye-brows and I got the sense that it was a sticky situation no one really wanted to get involved with. Nonetheless, we pressed and two lovely ladies helped us with our situation and after an hour of pacing and worrying, we eventually got ourselves the correct paperwork and returned to the people who made all this trouble for us in the first place who cleared us and gave us back our passports and keys. We crossed into Buffalo with the burden lifted and excited to finally get going.
The rest of the drive to our destination could have been better. Construction often limited driving to slow single lanes and severe storms occasionally made driving extremely precarious. I was getting the feeling that I wasn't really meant to go, but eventually we made it. I dropped off ~tarkheki
at the Omni and I met my roommates at the Westin who (thankfully) were willing to take me in for the weekend. The day's events and running around frantically with all my belongings made me thankful to finally have a shower as well as a burger and beer with my new friends, Holly and Ishaway). Friday
I woke up early and made my way to the Art Show to hang my framed works before running as fast as I could to make the sign-up for artist alley. I got in the first day, but I was heart-broken when I only made two sales. I was already in a long period of introspection, doubting my future in photography so after finding most people didn't even bother to take a second look at my work made me quite disheartened. Nonetheless, there were a couple of people who I was quite happy to meet; there was also a lovely young lady with a pair of deer-ears who purchased some prints, but I forgot her name so if you are out there, please say hello!
The night was spent in a wonderful lecture by ~tarkheki
on Aboriginal myths and misconceptions. Naturally, I had to pipe in and annoy her with my "I'm 1/16th Cherokee, what's my totem animal?" spiel. I also spent some time in the Art Show reception looking at some of the amazing works that were there; I also had the misfortune of overhearing some not-so-nice comments on my framed works. When my head hit the pillow that night, I thought a lot about whether any of my works would actually get bids and if all the stress was worth it. Saturday:
I awoke early Saturday with much less motivation than I did 24 hours earlier. Looking at the AC website the night earlier, I had thought that I was not among those awarded a table in Artist Alley (I later learned it was last year's list). Last year I made the mistake of not showing up to the lottery call and due to no-shows, I had actually been awarded a table; as a result, this year I had begrudgingly dragged my wares anyway in the hopes that people would not show up. Arriving, I noticed very few people were there and after several calls there were many people who had lost tables, increasing my chances. Whether people didn't know the time to be there, were too hung over or didn't feel like manning a table, I did not know. To my horror, I could not get a hold of ~tarkheki
whose name was called, but was not there to claim the table. So many people were absent that my name was called, to my surprise.
I was extremely fortunate to have been awarded a table because almost immediately, I eclipsed my previous day's sales. Conversely, after talking with dealers I had found out it was a slow day for them so it was likely people had migrated to the Artist Alley that day. I had the opportunity to speak with many different people and I was flattered that so many had shown interest in my photos and the animals I work with. Some people bought multiple prints including one fantastic person who adored "Stellar" (which I have a soft spot for, but went unloved by the watchers of dA and FA).
hosted another wonderful panel, but I was too late to witness anything but audience questions, much to my dismay. That night, I did some photo processing in the noisy Zoo with Ishaway and Holly who later left to their more peaceful hotel room. Not knowing many in the community, I spent the rest of the night personally roaming about the Westin and convention center. I spied part of the mature voice auction from the back, enjoyed part of the late night rave and peacefully reveled in the rooftop vistas of the convention center. I enjoyed myself, but next year I hope to find myself amongst drinking buddies. Sunday:
Like Saturday, Sunday began with a scramble to make the Artist Alley lottery. With even fewer individuals than the day before, I obtained a table for the final day. I did relatively well, meeting even more fantastic people and selling a few prints in the process. I also heard news that some of my Art Show works were getting bids, which was unexpected news. I did not think any of my works would get bids, let alone multiple works. I also sold a leopard photo to some very skilled individuals quite popular in the community, which was quite flattering.
By the end of it all, I had respectable success in the alley that day with people looking to pick up a few more items before the con ended. To my surprise, I had also sold 7/9 of my framed works in the art show (only the two most expensive were left unclaimed). Moreover, people voluntarily bid more than the minimum I had set, which was very flattering. With so few photographers out there at AC, I find it easy to get discouraged, but my confidence got a very strong boost this year. I'm very thankful to the people who took home some of my animal friends.
Later that night, I enjoyed a couple 'deliriums" at the Sharp Edge and wandered around once more after a meeting with friends fell through. I stopped by the dance party at the Westin where I watched some of the suits dance enthusiastically, which was quite surreal. It was also great to see the room erupt into a full rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" when Journey hit the speakers. It was a great conclusion to the night.Monday:
The drive back was far less eventful than the drive there although myself and ~tarkheki
did manage to spot a Google Maps car. Overall, the PCD hasn't been great for me and I almost immediately came down with a fierce cold. Coming back from any vacation isn't fun, but I would have rather come back to a job that is more aligned with my interests. Nonetheless, talking all weekend about animals and conservation has given me more motivation to develop a more respectable career.
A big thank you to everyone who made the con great. There were a few people I didn't get around to speaking at length with, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Hopefully, if I go next year I will have more time for sharing my experiences with friends.