Posts Tagged ‘Winter Park Art Festival


Welcome to Rejection Season

It never fails to amaze me how many people think that the artists they see at art festivals simply decide which shows they would like to do, and then arrive the day of the festival and start selling.  In tents provided by the festival, no less. Wish it were true, but it ain’t. No, we’re just now starting what the artists I know call “Rejection Season”.

“Rejection Season” is when all of the shows we’ve submitted applications to months and months ago (along with a hefty jury fee) start letting us know who’s in and who’s out. Imagine, if you will, thousands of artists obsessively pressing the refresh button on their email inbox like chickens trying to get a pellet of corn to dispense. At least I do. Don’t you judge me.

And the stakes are high. Get into enough shows–or even just a few of the “right” ones–and your year is made. Get enough rejections, and you start wondering how you’ll look in a Walmart vest. And since you can’t count on any show coming through for you–even ones you’ve done for years–you apply to multiple shows on the same weekend and hope for the best. It’s expensive. It’s stressful. It’s why my parents wanted me to study accounting.

But before you feel sorry for me, I have a confession to make. I don’t want to tell this to my artist friends, many of whom are struggling now, but so far this year we’ve gotten into every show we’ve applied to, and even had to turn one down (sorry Dogwood, but when you’re on the same weekend as Main St. Ft. Worth, our best show ever, you’re going down). This is an embarrassment of riches, and I consider myself the luckiest artist on the planet. If you’ll look to the right of this page, you’ll see a list of where the Fobots will be in 2014.* And if you don’t see your town on the list, don’t panic. We’re still waiting to hear on plenty of shows. Rejection season ain’t over yet…

*Old Town Chicago–we’re in, but may not be able to make it this year, so you’re not on the list yet.

UPDATE–we’ve been accepted to Lakefront Festival of Art in Milwaukee, so we’re going to put Old Town back on the list, since they’re on consecutive weekends.  I was hoping to audition for a play that would conflict with both of those shows, but the idiocy of canceling not one, but TWO art fairs, in favor of an unpaid community theatre gig, has finally sunk in. Dates and other schedule details are in the column on the right.


Coconut Grove and Winter Park

Where does the time go? Two shows under our belts this year already, and at least seven more to come. Yup, I’ve been a robot-makin’ fool lately. But on a rainy Saturday morning, I just though I’d let you know how it’s going so far.

Our first two festivals of the year were in Florida—Coconut Grove in Miami, and Winter Park near Orlando. Like I was telling everyone before we left, even if we don’t sell a thing, at least we’ll be in Florida. But we did sell, and pretty darn well, too. I don’t know if the economy has finally turned around, or if the difference was the awesome new display units I’ve been working on all winter, but we had two of our best shows ever. Miami outpaced WP by a fair margin, and yet, if I had to do one of them again, I’d pick Winter Park.

The weather was sublime at both shows, much to my relief. But the big difference was the atmosphere.  In Miami, we were jammed in together on the streets as tightly as possible, loading in and out was a disorganized mess, the music (?) from the Verizon stage was deafening, and the whole affair had a carnival atmosphere. Whereas in Winter Park, we were under the trees in a beautiful park, there was plenty of room between booths and for storage, and the artists were treated more as honored guests than as sideshow attractions. But the biggest difference was this: in WP, ALL the artists seemed to be doing well.  Not just us, not just a few lucky ones, but everyone around us was having a good and profitable show. I can’t tell you what a difference that makes. The mood was euphoric. And I speak as someone who just can’t have a good time unless EVERYONE is having a good time. It was bliss. We’d be happy to participate in either show again, but Winter Park holds a special place in my heart–cross your fingers that we get invited back next year.

Here’s a photo of the new booth, taken in Winter Park. Try not to be blinded by the whiteness of my legs–they hadn’t seen the sun in quite a while. And the hair–well, no excuses. It’s always like that.



Neglected Gods

In a previous post, I had speculated that the art fair gods had put us on accelerated program for paying our dues, and that the only hurdle we had yet to clear was really hot weather.  Oh, silly, silly us.  Forgot about the god of rain.

Our last show was in Winter Park, Florida.  For the first time, our set-up went smoothly and without incident.  That should have clued us in that something was amiss.  But the weekend was delightful, with temperate weather, good sales, and a lovely park environment.  Until Sunday, when the skies opened, the rains came, and that lovely park environment turned into the Everglades.  There was no grass under the tree that sheltered our booth, and had the lovely and talented Phil not had the foresight to buy us some puzzle mats at the local Big Lots, we’d have been ankle deep in mud.  Or what passes for mud in Florida.  It’s sort of a grimy sand.  Let’s call it grind.  Anyway, after an hour or so, the fair organizers decided to call it quits and let us pack our sodden tents up and go home.  Where I spent the better part of the week washing the grind of of everything.

So, art fair gods, my apologies.  I did not mean to offend.  Please look out for us this weekend, as we do the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in Reston, VA.  So far, the weather looks promising.  Which can only mean…what?  Earthquakes?  Locusts?  Terrorists?

Note–in a previous incarnation of this post, I mentioned that two bots had been stolen.  They weren’t–it was an error on my part, as I had forgotten to add their names to the list of bots I’d shipped off to Anthropologie.  Just doing my best to live up to the stereotype of the flaky, disorganized artist… 


Paying Dues in the Grove

I have a theory.

Our swift rise in the art fair world has some people shaking their heads and complaining that we haven’t paid our dues.  I mean, we’ve been at this less than a year, and our 2010 schedule now includes Coconut Grove, Winter Park, Reston, Des Moines, and Cherry Creek in Denver.  That may not mean much to you, but it’s kind of like saying, “Gee, I think I’d like to be in a play”, and getting cast in a bunch of Broadway shows.  (OK, Maybe Reston is off-Broadway, but still…)  Some people strive for years to be accepted into fairs of this caliber, and here we are waltzing in on our first try.  Like I said, dues must be paid.

Here’s my theory.  The Art Fair Gods have put us on an accelerated dues-paying program. 

Think about it.  First was St. Louis, where we struggled with dehydration, problems setting up the tent, and display units that wobbled.  In other words, rookie mistakes.

Then came Bethesda Row, where the cold and rain made for an experience so miserable it’s a miracle we didn’t get out of this business altogether.

And now we’re back from our third outdoor show at Coconut Grove in Miami.  We arrived Friday afternoon, and after checking in, proceeded to set up.  Weather was pleasantly warm, if a little windy, and things were going normally (make that extremely well–“normal”  for us is NOT something to shoot for).  We had the top, back and side walls in place and were waiting to put up the front until we were finished, when a security guard came zipping by on a golf cart, yelling “Secure your tents, there are 70 mile per hour winds heading this way!”  I thought he must have been kidding, or at least exaggerating, but we made sure our tent was properly weighted down.  In retrospect, we should have put up the front wall.  Not three minutes later, a wall of wind and water hit us so hard I thought we were going to end up in Oz.  Even with the tents upwind of us blocking some of the wind, the force was still strong enough to rip the grommets out of the canvas walls where we had zip-tied to the bottom stability bars, and one of our massive display units, weighing about 75 pounds, got blown over.  Fortunately, all the bots were still in their packing cases, so all we had to do was hang on for dear life while getting completely soaked.  After about ten minutes that seemed longer than W’s administration and just as scary, the wind diminished, although the rain was persistent.   Mercifully, except for the grommets, some dents in the tin front of the display unit, and a few soggy gift bags, we escaped relatively unscathed.  Others were not so lucky–we heard that six tents were destroyed–no mention of the damage, if any, to the artists’ work. 

Fortunately, the following three days of the show were pleasant, despite some lingering winds on Saturday that made me nervous and jumpy but which the veterans didn’t even notice.  Sales were good.  Not St. Louis good, a fact that I attribute to the fact that the pot was being split by 360 artists, as opposed to St. Louis’ 165, but worth the trip.  And we’re starting to meet some of the nicest people, both patrons (Hi Tammie!) and artists.

So, the way I see it, we’re starting to collect the requisite horror stories that all artists swap at these events, and have cleared the hurdles of rookie mistakes, cold, rain, and wind.  The only dues we have still to pay are the ones involving high heat.

We’ll be in Winter Park, FL next month.  Bring it on, Art Fair Gods.  Let’s get this done with.


Fobots for Haiti

No, we’re not planning on sending any bots to Haiti.  As much as I’m sure the people of Haiti could use a smile about now, I think cash would be easier to send.  And probably more useful.  Here’s the scoop:

Like many of you, I’ve been thinking about what I could do to help the vicitms of the earthquake rebuild.  The obvious answer; build a robot, auction it off to you, my loyal Fobot fans, and give the money to Haitian relief.   I’ve chosen Stop Hunger Now*, a Raleigh based international organization that distributes food and life-saving aid around the world.   But what to build? 

It all started with that head–a battery tester–that just reminded me of a duck.  Add the curl of a car lock spring on its head, and there was a baby duck.  Then add our predisposition for bad puns, and voila!   Baby Duck Duvalier, named in honor–better make that dishonor–of the deposed Haitian dictator Baby Doc Duvalier.  He stands 12.5″ tall, and is cute as a button. 

So let’s start the bidding at $200.  If you’d like to provide food, medical supplies, and hope to the people of Haiti, AND take home a very special Fobot, email me at with your bid, or comment on this post.  I’ll update this post whenever there’s a new bid, and we’ll keep this bidding open until midnight EDT on Tuesday, March 23, the evening we return from the Winter Park Art Festival.   So please don’t let me down, fans.   I’m having nightmares already that no one will bid, and it will be high school dance time all over again.  A nightmare that pales in comparison to the situation in Port-au-Prince.

*Go to  for more info.

Update: January 29–we have a bid for $300!  I am unbelievably relieved that this will not be every high school dance I was ever forced to attend, revisited.  Suzanne Byrd, you are a goddess.  Do I hear $325?

Update: February 17–while on the road in Miami (see latest post), I am delighted to report that we had not one, but TWO bids!  Thank you Lorri, for your bid of $325, but “Big Dave” is now in the lead with $350.  Woohoo!  I feel like prom queen!  Not that I was invited to my prom…

Update: March 3–Thanks to Michael from Boston, the bidding is now at $375. 

And one point I’d like to clarify; if the winning bidder would like to write a check to “Stop Hunger Now” and take the tax deduction, that’s fine by me.  Although I can hear my tax guy screaming at me (and really, when ISN’T he screaming at me?), the important thing is that Haiti gets the money.  So think of it as making a generous donation to a worthy cause, and geting a free Fobot, too!

Update: Monday, March 22, 9:30 pm EDT— Bidding is still at $375, but an interesting question came up.  Is “Tuesday at midnight” when Monday turns into Tuesday, or when Tuesday rolls over into Wednesday?  For the sake of this auction, it’s the latter.  SO–as of the time I’m writing this, you have another 26 and a half hours to bid.

March 24:  We have a winner!  But first, my apologies for not staying awake long enough to monitor the last minute bidding.  I’ll be posting about our trip to the Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival later today–suffice it to say that my plans to stay awake until midnight last night were unrealistic, considering how utterly exhausted we were upon our return.  And now, the winner is…Laura Gelber, with a winning bid of $400.  Ms. Gelber, I will be contacting you later to arrange for the shipping of little “Baby Duck”.  My profound thanks to everyone who bid.

September 2018
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