Ending an Exhibition and Starting Back at Life.

Well…That was quite a thing. The Exhibition is over. Everything is pulled down, so now it is time to say a few things. I know some of you reading this are waiting for me to spill the tea BIG TIME but it has gotten to that point and well…we shall see how it goes as I write.

I enjoy exhibiting. I don’t love exhibiting solo. It is a means to an end for me. The “She” exhibition I just finished required it to be shown just on its own because that was the nature of the story. But solo exhibitions are kind of lonely affairs to be honest. When you have a group exhibition, multiple people get together and talk about what is going to happen and how you are going to do things. There is a group excitement about things and a connection you just don’t get when you are on your own.

The event night was planned to coincide with the beginning of Queensland Mental Health week. I registered it as a Queensland Mental Health Week Event, so I was able to use the logo and promote mental health week as well.

QMHW Registered Event Advertising

I also partnered up with my favourite local cafĂ©, Myrtle and Blossom, for catering. They did NOT disappoint. The food was incredible and it was presented beautifully in abundance. I did not get a lot of photos of event night, I was kind of busy at the time and it was a bit of a blur. I think next time, I would invite one of my photographer friends to come along and capture the moments. Usually I AM that photographer friend so I honestly did not think about how that would not work for me on the night. These photos that I took were all taken prior to opening…

I had maybe 75 people there that night? I stopped counting at 50 as by then I was engaged in conversations with people, but I do know some more people came in after that. Some of the people who were not able to make it on the night visited the gallery after, so I could not give you an honest estimate of numbers. 95% of the people who came were people that were connected to me, not the gallery. If I was to give you some advice, I would say to you that you should expect those numbers to be a bit more balanced out. The gallery should actually DO something for the commission they earn on your artworks other than a random amount of facebook posts and a black and white photocopy of an ad they have knocked up in 20 minutes.

The gallery should have their own networks of people that they invite to events and they should be working with you to sell your artworks, not just show it. You should also expect a level of cleanliness and professionalism from the gallery. Basic things like, how payments will be taken, agreement on commission for things like merchandise, Bump in and Bump out procedures and times, not getting shirty at your artist because they want their pieces hung in a particular way as they are showing a NARRATIVE series of works and have presented you with an exact floorplan that was a printout of a to scale 3D model, confirming dates and then not getting them wrong on the advertising, sweeping floors and cleaning walls….All of these things are basic and IMPORTANT.

That is all I have to say about that.

For me, I am happy that I managed to hit all my goals with the exhibition. It was important to me that the exhibition:

  1. Sold enough pieces and merch so it paid for itself.
  2. Allowed me to gain another exhibition from it
  3. Raise awareness of mental health struggles and
  4. Started conversations so that people felt less shame and blame about their own mental health struggles and understand that there is both hope and help.

I accomplished all these things, so in that I am more than satisfied. I am proud of the work I put out there. I can say that honestly and without cringeing, so that is nice too. I was ecstatic to be able to celebrate it all with friends. that was the best part of it all. To be able to show my people these things I had been working on and celebrate success with them…that was a truly special moment and one that shines far brighter than any of the tumultuous ones.

Pull down happens so much faster than putting everything up. Everything was bubble wrapped and transported back to my studio. Pieces that have been sold will be handed over to their new owners, other pieces are going up on my own walls. I am now getting back into the rhythm of life and doing some little pieces in my sketchbook as part of Peachtober that are a giant leap away from things I have done. It has been fun.

Despite it all, there is one thing that keeps pounding through my brain with the force of a horse that has bolted. It has a desperate, wild look in its eye as it smashes through fences and churns up the ground with hooves the size of dinner plates. I can hear it asking insistently in the rhythm of its laboured breathing,

“What now?”

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