Last weekend, I had the wonderful experience of talking to a number of artists at the Northern Virginia Fine Art Festival (Reston). While the weather on Friday was dreary, the stories made the afternoon full of laughter and remembrance. This is the first in a new series of Art-Linx blogs: Stories from the Road. The goal is to connect. We all have great adventures at shows and sometimes getting to and back home. I would love to share your story with our community. Our first story is told by Vicki Munn. She and her husband Lance are woodworkers from Indiana.
Vicki graduated from college and her first job was as an office administrator. It was hard work running the office and the pay was $100 a week. After two years at this job, she walks into her boss’s office and asks for a raise. He responds, “Your job is only worth $100 a week” and she responds, “Really?!? You only have me for two more weeks!”. This was the motivator to work for herself and follow her passion.
Vicki understood early, “The people who buy from these shows are quite savvy, because they are getting the best, it’s the life work of the artist."
She tells the story of one of her early shows and the lesson she remembers every time the weather is not great at a show. "It was raining horribly outside, and a group of artists are huddle inside a restaurant drinking Bloody Mary’s and Mimosa’s." Vicki suddenly realized that she did not have any money to pay for her drink. She had not made a penny at the show. Another artist, said, “you don’t have a credit card?” This was a time when everyone still used cash so for Vicki the obvious response was, “why would I need a credit card?" She then tells her friend, “I think you’re going to pay for my drink, and I’m going to go outside and sell”. A few minutes after Vicki gets to her tent, while everyone else is still drinking in the restaurant, the weather shifts from dreary rain to a beautiful sunny day. The crowd starts filling the streets and she is mobbed, which lets Vicki start selling as she said "making money hand over fist". More than enough to pay for her Mimosa.
I asked about her life on the road as an artist and what advise she would give to a younger self - “if you don’t make money, you don’t do it, it’s hard work”. Vicki and her husband have been showcasing their wood furniture since 1976 with passion and pride. They have successfully raised a family and supported themselves selling their furniture at art fairs throughout the United States for 40 years. If you have not had the luck of being their neighbor at a show - please check out their gorgeous functional furniture with beautiful attention to detail.
If you would like to share your stories, contact Robin Markowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org