Does Success Equal MONEY?
Is success a feeling or a fact?
Who judges your success?
Can Joy/Fun equal success?
"Enough with the rhetorical questions, You", advises the Gemini twin.
In this very moment, I can quickly answer that success is in FACT, a feeeeeeling.
Then, I get to say that no one can judge your own success, not even yourself. What I mean by "not even yourself" is we are often led by our own Ego which involves fun sunshine-y qualities like fear and self doubt, and don't you dare let Negative Nancy or whatever you want to call your pessimistic side tell you that you are NOT successful. I don't claim to know it all or be some kind of positive affirmation guru, but I have learned a thing or two from some wise coaches, online self-help accounts and honestly, just venting to my cousin, Tamar. I do not, will not, judge my own success. I simply will just feel. If I had fun, experienced joy, overall good energy....that's enough for me.
Last Friday, I set up a table with the help of my son, Luke and friend, Julie at a night pop-up Art market in my community which was heavily advertised by the Burbank Arts Association and the Magnolia Night Out event organizer. Tons of locals came out to line up at food trucks parked on the streets near us, shop the boutiques that stayed open an hour later, and wander the UMe Credit Union parking lot where approx. 30 of us Artists/vendors had set up between 6pm-9pm. There was a local DJ playing delicious hits from the 80's and 90's, and a really cute cover band also playing Alternative 90's jams. Tamar (the cousin/BFF) kept me company for a bit, as did my husband Paul and son, Luke.
It's always sort of awkward when people come to visit my table and look at my Art. Well, people I don't know. I have never considered myself a saleswoman. I'm a Creative, passively trying to sell in hopes of not pushing anyone towards purchase. This might offend some readers but, I fucking hate SALES. I hate being sold to. It's icky, especially because I'm pretty good at reading a room and am able to tell fairly quickly when someone is uncomfortable or if they're being polite and humoring me. It makes me feel incredibly gross. I realize if I am meant to sell my Art, which is literally nothing anyone NEEDS because I'm not selling a necessity, I actually have to be very engaged.
I am NOT going to stand there and pretend to tell you why you absolutely need this $200 ceramic platter with Audrey Hepburn painted on it. I recall a pop-up show I did last October for 6 hours and I had an incredibly huge painful stye on my right eye. I was wearing sunglasses the whole time which made it harder to connect with others (I like eye contact). My eye hurt badly and I also felt self conscious. Of course I criticized myself at the end for not having been a "good enough sales person."
Ok, back to the feeling of success. Last Friday's pop-up show was so fun. I met a lot of people and we talked about stuff like "painting the members of Kiss on antique plates", one prominent older local Artist was practically yelling at me for how much I was undercharging my beautifully hand painted plates (loved him for this), and a couple of people taking my business cards to commission me for custom plate portraits. It was cold around 8pm and by 9pm, we packed up and left. None of us Artists made a single sale. Not kidding. Paul, nor I, noticed anyone buying Art at that event. Some of my other Artist friends also mentioned how they hadn't sold a thing. I do not know why this is....perhaps Burbank locals don't understand the value of Art and their costs. BUT I HAD FUN!!! Sure, some sales would have been nice, but it didn't take away from the positive experience I had that night.
The following day, I set up the same table at a friends backyard in Santa Clarita. She hosted a sort of "Spring Boutique" and did a Facebook invitation thing. It was a handful of us vendors in scorching heat on her dusty dirt ground backyard. My son and my Mom came with me. Luke was more than happy to help me again. I knew most of the people there, as they are family friends of ours. Despite the unbearable woozy heat, there was a wind that kept knocking down the prints and canvas paintings I had hanging on the metal wire grid, threatening all my painted ceramic plates that sat on stands. I made a couple sales resulting in a $207 day and gave Luke some cash for his wallet for being such a good little helper. My friend's Aunt, at one point, took some kind of pity on me and said "don't worry, Cosette. I'll come by your table and buy something from you."
If you know me, I don't need to tell you how that comment made me feel. Take your best guess. A little over an hour before the event was to end, I already started packing up. The Aunt noticed, and then came by, almost reluctantly. She says "what's good here? Tell me what is it that I should get?" As if I'm a new restaurant in her neighborhood.
If you know me, I don't need to tell you that my Art is meant to be sold to authentic lovers of one of my creations, people who genuinely feel a connection to a piece I have done. Not a pity purchase. Please. Never a "pity purchase". Do I sound ungrateful? Possibly, but like I said, if you know me, you know I am incredibly grateful for what I do and for what I have achieved. I pour so much time, energy, and love into each creation and the energy of that piece is meant to attract the right person. Not someone who blindly chooses something with zero attachment to the piece itself, all because they want to support me. Don't misunderstand. I'm grateful for my supporters! But, please.....all I ask is you make a mindful authentic loving purchase that comes from a deeper connection that a place of pity. To conclude the story with the Aunt, I ended up discouraging her from purchasing anything when she inquired about the framed 8"x10" Elizabeth Taylor as "Cleopatra" painting that she thought was just "Nefertiti" and then recoiled when I told her the price.
The $207 came from two painted plates purchased by one of my cousins, the sister of my friend who hosted, another vendor who got bookmarks, and 2 stickers from one actual shopper who showed up that day. Grateful to have that as it will help towards a credit card payment, but the experience from the two events was literally night and day.
I have one more event coming up. This Saturday from 11am to 6pm, the day before Mother's Day, at one of my favorite local shops, Tansy. This store has done astonishingly well during the pandemic. It's a plant/gift/homewares shop filled with unique colorful artsy bohemian inspired goods. It's a happy place with juicy colorful positive vibes. They attract all kinds of shoppers who are excited to spend their money. They have been heavily promoting this big Sale Event they're having with a few of us vendors and food trucks out on their patio. This will be my 6th time vending on their patio and no matter what my numbers were at the end of the day, I always felt successful because of the wonderful people and the whole vibe.
Not being attached to any kind of outcome helps me to enjoy the present moment, which promotes my highest, truest self. I am meant to get my period that day. My periods can be quite excruciating to my lower back and abdomen, but I am not above Motrin! I've done a pop up with a nasty ass stye which is way worse because it literally deformed my eye and I needed to leave the sunglasses on as to not scare off shoppers. I'm strong enough to manage the cramps at a high vibe place like Tansy because "mind over matter". Just give me Motrin and a bunch of dark chocolate. I'll be good.
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