"Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true." -- Lyman Frank Baum
Two weeks ago I woke early to find this lovely surprise. I stared in disbelief and awe. Rainbows are rare. Surely it had to be an omen. A good omen. Right?
I was preparing to install my work at ArtPrize. Did it mean I would find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, like a $250,000 first prize? One can dream, but alas no. But then again, maybe I did find my pot of gold, if not a direct monetary one.
Opportunities are what you make of them. ArtPrize afforded me an addition to my public art portfolio and gave me direct feedback from others. This feedback proved encouraging. For one, many asked if I would be making the flowers available for individual purchase. They saw my work in their home, a part of their lives. They just couldn't take on the size and expense of a full installtion. I can't either which is why I designed it for easy storage and shipping. So when they asked, I had a price in mind and not one person flinched. Several gave me their cards and asked me to email them when they come available.
Others asked if I would be selling patterns of the individual flowers. Yes. I am already in process of a book proposal based on this very thing, full of details about the flowers themselves in addition to the patterns. I've loved making them and enjoy the thought of sharing the fun with others. In the meantime, I'm preparing several patterns for sale in my Etsy shop and am considering kits.
I even had a request to rent the installation for a wedding reception! I am meeting with the bride-to-be in a week to discuss the possibility. Now here is a concept I had never considered in my wildest of dreams, but it has me thinking about how I can expand upon it.
Money for art doesn't have to be derived from the direct sale of the work. And I question the model of the arts depending on grants. A recent survey I took asked if I felt my career was ever impeded due to lack of grant funding. Are they kidding?! While grants can help and provide one with a structure for working out an idea, it doesn't have to be the primary source of income. In fact, that way of thinking actually limits one. I've always tailored my ideas to be within what I can do now with sketches worked for grander schemes. Some of those grander ideas have taken fruition, such as The Red Thread Project®, others remain in my sketchbook, but my career has never been held back due to lack of funding. Don't get me wrong. Times have been tough. I've raised a daughter on my own. I have piles of medical bills (literally two inches thick when you stack up the envelopes), but I will never let money or someone dictate my career. Call me stubborn.
So like the beauty of finding a rainbow at dawn, I keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities. I take the disappointments and look at how I can do better. I hope for an ease in cash flow, but know its constrains don't limit me, only I can. For now, I'm going to put on the kettle for more tea and get back in the studio.