I sell my work both online and at select art shows. While the art shows are a lot of work, and I’m aging by the minute, I really enjoy interacting with those who stop in and want to talk. First, if they bother to stop and look and talk, they obviously saw something that captured their attention and/or imagination (that’s a win for me). I really enjoy the interaction, and to give you a flavor of what it’s like, I can categorize the folks into broad categories. And since I primarily show in Key West, most of my ‘peoples’ interactions are from that wonderful subspecies (and no that’s certainly not an insult)
First, are the locals who are drawn to the large format seascapes and love to ask about which key is on the photograph. And while you may think that’s an easy discussion, it’s not. there are hundreds of mangrove keys making up ‘The Keys’. And if you were to pick any one of the islands and photograph it from each of the four cardinal directions, that single island would look vastly different. but that’s not the fun part. As the taker of the photograph, I know exactly (well, some of the time) exactly where the photograph was taken. Regardless there is always someone who wishes to debate the location. I find it entertaining, and more times than not I just go with the flow. It can be whatever key you wish it to be.
Next, we have the people drawn to the visual component of the large format canvasses that I love. It’s not necessarily the subject matter of the art that draws them, i think it’s the colors and overall serenity of the work. I can’t tell you how many people reference the ‘Zen’ component of much of my work, and especially the seascapes. I had one young gentleman (mid 30s, aging develops a different perspective on age) stop in. I had not talked with him before to my recollection, but he obviously had come through my booth before. He walked up to one of the 60×20 seascapes and bowed his head and just stood there in front of the piece for 30 seconds or so. I was talking to someone at the time and watched. He then walked up to me and said, “That photograph is what I visualize every night when I go to sleep” and he walked away. I wasn’t quite sure how to process his comment at the time, and don’t recall exactly what I replied, but in hindsight I took it as quite the compliment. And frankly it makes me happy that one of my pieces can have that effect on a person. My only regret is he didn’t buy it! kidding aside, those moments, where your work truly resonates with someone, are what what drives me, and probably most artists. It’s not the money….
Another group of people are those attracted to the technology, and I completely get it. I’ve been doing this for years and I’m still taken back that I can take a good photograph, develop it and create a large format print on canvas on a giclee printer in my studio. The technology is mind blowing. A predictable subset of the above group are those who want to create largescale canvas using one of their photos. The conversation almost always entails looking at their phone photos and explaining the concept of pixel density and RAW based photography, both critical in generating truly large pieces. By no stretch of the imagination am I suggesting their photography isn’t spectacular. I’ve seen many photographs I’d be proud to call my own. What I am suggesting is that to really produce a large format you need to use a very good camera combined with a very good lens. Despite that I will always attempt to assist them if at all possible, and in doing so we have been able to produce some very nice pieces.
One of my favorite people are the ‘Fans of the Fish Heads’. To be able to look at a photograph of a head of fish, and appreciate the beauty, and even sense the personality of the subject, is a trait that only a handful of us have…lol. But truthfully, to watch someone walk up to a profile of a permit or tarpon or other fish, with a look of curiosity, then break into a smile makes my efforts worthwhile. They really get it. Beauty is everywhere if you take the time to look. And then there is the fraction of the percent that somehow are offended by fish heads. I had a gentleman stare into the eyes of tarpon, walk up and aggressively ask me ‘What’s wrong with you?’, and walk away. Lighten up my friend. Lighten up.
Similar to the Fish Heads group are the ‘Bird People’. They are drawn to the bird prints. I really love my birds in that they are the long evolutionary end point (for now) of the dinosaurs, and photogenic to boot. From a photography standpoint they represent one of my most technically sound pieces. And birds are much more relatable to the normal person than fish heads! (I’m pretty certain that sentence has never been written before now). My bird prints range from the technically challenging ‘If I’m So Great Why am I Standing in the Rain’ to the more solemn ‘Great Egret of Delacroix, After the Hurricane’, and up through the bright flamingos, and tropically colored skimmers. They are popular. Each for different virtues.