Sometimes life opens doors wide open, and sometimes it shuts them right in your face. Other times, life puts a life-threatening obstacle course in front of said door, ties a blindfold over your eyes, and gives you a push. That’s where I am at this very moment.
There is a door at the other side of the room that I know leads me to something, but getting to that door requires a lot of work ahead of time, and I have little experience in how to make it happen, but I’m in it now, so it’s time to make some moves.
I announced my plans two weeks ago about starting my own art show, and event that would attempt to change the rules of how art shows are done, which has created quite the obstacle course.
Here in California, we have a number of indie art and craft events, no lack of inspiration for how one of these shows is typically run. Originally, the idea for the Fresh Jam show was to take that methodology and apply it to a strictly art oriented event, but over the last two weeks as I’ve searched for a possible venue, there’s been this nagging feeling that my idea wasn’t pushing the envelope enough.
Instead of just having a big room filled with artists side by side hocking their creative wares, how could I push that to the next level? What could be done different to change up the rules, but still remain mainstream enough to attract a good mix of art appreciative shoppers?
As I’m writing this, there is an event going on in Cleveland called the Weapons of Mass Creation. It’s a multifaceted event focused around graphic design and music. During the day, you go to a couple of talks given on a variety of design subjects, and in the evening, they open the bars and clubs and jam good tunes all night long.
Design lectures and rock shows is an interesting mix because many designers dig good tunes, especially when it’s on conjunction with right-brained indulgences, but that’s still not quite what I want out of Fresh Jam.
What would art lovers like to see at an event that will surprise and enlighten them?
I literally run this question through my head every single day. I have tons of ideas but not sure which ones work for this situation. If we attach a mini conference to the show, who should the speakers be focused toward; the creatives or the consumers? If we had speakers, would it distract from the artists featuring their art in the room, or vice versa?
I do not know the answers to these question yet, but I know what I want is to blow the minds of anyone who expects to see a run-of-the-mill art event. There are too many of those already, and the people I want at my show don’t want that whack shit anymore.
Do you crush or get crushed?
I’m going to tell you a secret, something most people will not share with you, because if they did, it might mean you will change, become better at what you do and leave them behind. Ready?
You were not meant to shrink and fit in. You were meant to rise above and stand out.
Whatever project you’re working on right now, I’m going to assume you’re asking yourself what is the best way to hit the widest reach of customers. You want to make sure you’re as much of a success so you focus your energy at the lowest common denominator; that’s how society expects you to react, but are you going to let society norms dictate what kind of business you run?
Hopefully you didn’t just say yes to that question, because if you did, then what the hell are you even doing here? However, if you said, “Fuck NO” to that question, the next question I have is what are you going to do to go big? What rules are you going to break? What worlds are you going to shake up and disrupt in order to bring about the bigger, better, more awesome thing?
Do not shrink!
That comfort circle is familiar and feels like home, but once you step outside, you instantly realize how stifling the circle was, and how fortunate you are to be outside.
• One step outside is tough. It sucks and is scary as hell
• The second step brings a sigh of relief
• Third step is confidence. This isn’t as hard as you thought
• Step four is satisfaction. You got this.
• The fifth step is success. Bask in the glory for a moment, but not too long because …
• Step six is where you hit the new comfort circle barrier. Time to push again.
The cycle never ends. If it does end, you’ve either grown satisfied with your level of success, grown tired of trying, or you’re dead. I hope none of these happen until you’re absolutely ready for them to happen.
I have never put on an art show before, but I refuse to put on a lame event. I will not throw together a piece of crap and toss it out there expecting the world to bang on my door, waving their flags and dollar bills. I would rather I push the envelope and fail than aim for the middle and find marginal success.
Granted, I do not think I will fail. I think will rock the hell out of this event, and you will regret not attending if you miss it.
In other words, just like life, do not miss it.
Now, what projects are you working on that could use an injection of awesome? What are you going to do to change it up, make it twice as cool as it is now? Share your story in the comments below?Photo: Joseph Kurtin