Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Research before Represent

Normally I don't vent through posts within my blog and even when I'm slightly irritated over something, I can still take a light hearted approach over the situation to at least make it an entertaining read. However, this is perhaps not going to be one of those cases. This month I have had my work in 2 different art auctions - KVIE 2014 Art Auction and Pence Gallery Art Auction. This evening my painting Gentle as the Lotus went up for auction. It was also the gala event at Pence Gallery where my piece Fleeting Grandeur is currently at. Of course after a long day, I was unable to attend the gala event so stayed home to watch the live auction. 

'Gentle as the Lotus'
by Dawn Star Wood
Sadly my painting did not get as high as bids as my other pieces did in previous years . It does happen from time to time and I am aware that this year's work was perhaps not as high quality as I could have made it. This I understand and I'm perfectly fine with the fact that it just means I need to do even better for next year's entry. This is not the source of my aggravation comes from. It comes from the choice of host for the segment that my work was in. 

Usually, KVIE has 2 hosts for each half hour segment talking about the work that is being displayed. In most cases, one is just a regular host while the other is an art expert who is either familiar with artists, done research into what the inspirations was, or actually knows the artist(s) in person. This usually means that they can not only describe the techniques that were used but could describe what the artist wanted to convey. Not this time around. The individual paired up with the host for my segment turned out to be a professional interior designer. Not one word about inspiration or the story behind the piece. Technique? That it was watercolors and had a lot of fine detail. What was covered? Color. Soft natural color. How the piece was made by a 'younger artist' who 'did her own framing'. How the piece was rather feminine and the frame was masculine. No mention that I have been a donator for several years now. No mention of my previous works that have been 'Bell Ringers' (any piece that gets a bid equal or greater then the suggested retail price). To say I was disappointed is perhaps an understatement with this. 

So for those wondering about the story behind Gentle as the Lotus, it was created after the passing of my mother earlier this year and was inspired by something that I had found online called Kuan Yin's Prayer for the Abuser. I have been a fan of Kuan Yin (or Quan Yin if you prefer) art and one of the last things I had ever received from mom before she had passed was a carved jade charm of Kuan Yin and a statue of her to add to my religious statuary collection. The piece was quite personal for me and was also rather healing at the same time. 

Kuan Yin's Prayer for the Abuser
To those who withhold refuge, 
I cradle you in safety at the core of my Being. 
To those that cause a child to cry out, 
I grant you the freedom to express your own choked agony. 
To those that inflict terror, 
I remind you that you shine with the purity of a thousand suns. 
To those who would confine, suppress, or deny, 
I offer the limitless expanse of the sky. 
To those who need to cut, slash, or burn, 
I remind you of the invincibility of Spring. 
To those who cling and grasp, 
I promise more abundance than you could ever hold onto. 
To those who vent their rage on small children, 
I return to you your deepest innocence. 
To those who must frighten into submission, 
I hold you in the bosom of your original mother. 
To those who cause agony to others, 
I give the gift of free flowing tears. 
To those that deny another's right to be, 
I remind you that the angels sang in celebration of you on the day of your 
To those who see only division and separateness, 
I remind you that a part is born only by bisecting a whole. 
For those who have forgotten the tender mercy of a mother's embrace, 
I send a gentle breeze to caress your brow. 
To those who still feel somehow incomplete, 
I offer the perfect sanctity of this very moment.

Friday, September 5, 2014

An Epic Tale of Convention Mayhem

Take a seat, my darlings, and let me tell you an epic tale of 2 artists who had a rather busy Labor Day weekend. It may not sound like much to the average person but let don't judge until the end. This starts actually nearly 4 months previously when my good friend Stacy had contacted me about being interested in vending at SacAnime and needed a booth-buddy. Familiar with the venue location and had been a vendor for Sacramento Arts Festival for 4 years, I agreed and helped her with plans and such. Within theory, everything was fitting together perfectly - prime location for our spot surrounded by popular businesses so we would have great foot traffic, everything paid on time, and friendly correspondence with the staff of the event.

 Moving forward to a week before the event, the first indication that this was going to be a bit different from the art festival occurs. Normally for MOST large scale conventions like this gives those who are vending information on what day and time the set up is supposed to be (i.e. for the Sacramento Arts Festival, that information is included in the packet of information when submitting to be chosen as a potential vendor). Stacy ends up sending me a distress message saying that she doesn't know when we were scheduled to do set up. Puzzled, I took a look at the site and noticed that it was never mentioned. It's not unheard of for this to occur from time to time but it was a little odd, especially since my poor panicked partner was not receiving any emails back on her inquiry. So in ultimate Dawn style, I went and called the Sacramento Convention Center (where the convention was to be held) and explained the situation to the head of the events office. Though I didn't receive a call back, my initial phoned in query sparked a response by email to Stacy which let us know when set up was. 

As we move forward to the day of set up, Stacy and I get everything packed up and ready to lug to the convention center. Giving directions to the back where the loading docks were, I figured that things would be set up like how the Sacramento Arts Festival had their event set up- with blue curtained 'walls' dividing the booths and having the company names with what booth number they were on the tables. Oh how wrong I was. Right as we step in, we both got a sense of something amiss. Before our eyes was a room of neatly lined up tables inside of divided up blue taped squares. Nothing was marked and the vendors who were there were as confused as we were about the set up. Let us just say that locating our table was a bit on the interesting side. Of course the entire situation allowed us to make friends with the young woman in the booth behind us for Epic Cosplay Wigs as we assisted her in setting up her area. At some point while we were trying to unload the vehicle we came in on, I jogged from our table which was on one side of the large room to the docking bay. Not a long distance, mind you, but for someone of my... fluffiness... who hasn't run since high school to suddenly sprint any distance was just a little out of my league. As I returned with a cart of merchandise, I wheezed out to my booth buddy the only words I could think of: "Stacy, don't ever let me run again unless there's a zombie behind me." Of course I didn't even think that those around us could hear me but the smirks and giggles from the comment suggested that they more then just heard me. 

An epic Deadpool sneaking around
in a Stormtrooper outfit
(photo courtesy of Stacy J. Garrett)
The convention itself was rather entertaining as I worked on mini paintings while Stacy people watched and talked with customers. There were the cosplayers who did a stunning job on their outfits, those who did a relatively alright job on what they were going for and then there were those who I really couldn't decide if they lost a bet or couldn't figure out which character to be so they mashed up as many as they could together. Of course there were plenty of the latter who caused me to pause in my work and just stare. By the last day, our fellow vendors and we were getting rather punchy. Long days filled with countless costumed customers does sort of wear on a person but the fact there was a lot of positive energy and smiling faces certainly made things much more tolerable. That is unless you're stationed right under the speaker system and they decide to give the microphone to someone who is nearly yelling into it. Nearly all of us were plugging our ears and several were commenting that someone should go up to the table to talk to them about it. A little irritated, I finally set my work aside and headed over to the table to ask them to lower the volume. The gentleman armed with the microphone apologized for not knowing and by the time I returned to the booth, they were doing a mic test to the cheers of nearly every vendor in the room. It was later when I thought the situation over that I realized that from an entire room of people of vendors and cosplayers alike, I was the only one that actually went forward to save our eardrums. Not too sure how that worked but oh well. To lighten the mood, Stacy and I ended up coming up with a random drinking game which we agreed would have either caused me alcohol poisoning or be in a drunken stupor well into the coming week days. Good times, good times. 

There was so much more to say but if you would like to see things from Stacy's point of view, feel free to check out her blog post SacAnime Recap!