In Your Wildest Dreams (Curious Monday)

No matter how many checklists you have, you can’t begin to fathom the crazy things that could happen … the wacky things that people will say, think, or do.

Sculpture by Nancy Hersh
©Nanci Hersh, Coral Reef. Wire, pulp, silver leaf, encaustic, collage, 10 x 10 x 12 inches. Used with permission.

Has anyone ever installed your art upside down?

Has anyone ever put a weird clause in your contract?

Have you ever [fill in the blank]?

I thought it might be fun to hear about the unimaginable situations that you’ve encountered in your art career and business.

It’s impossible to be prepared for every situation you might encounter in your art career, but hearing first from other artists might help you be ready for the unexpected.

Please leave a comment below.

About Curious Mondays

Almost every Monday I ask artists about something that’s been on my mind lately.

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94 thoughts on “In Your Wildest Dreams (Curious Monday)”

  1. I’m a weaver/dyer. At an art fair once, a man walked into my booth which was full of scarves and shawls, etc, and said, ‘What is this?’. I was puzzled but polite and answered ‘Scarves and shawls….’. He looked around and stepped closer and quietly said, ‘Oh! Women’s clothing! Oh!’ All I could do was smile and say, ‘Yes’. He didn’t buy anything.

    Then there are the people who walk into your booth at an art fair and say, ‘Did you make all this stuff? You know you can get it for way cheaper at ____’. [Yeah. I know.]

    1. I love the “did you make this stuff” question. I’ve heard that happens a lot. Crazy! And isn’t it amazing how rude people can be!

      What do you say to that, Robin?

  2. Sitting next to a couple on a flight to Vegas to attend a business workshop. They asked if I was heading there for business or pleasure. They were going to a seminar for their business; interior fire suppression sprinkler systems.

    I replied “I’m a watercolor landscape artist connecting people back to nature and I’m taking a business workshop.” The woman looked at me rather puzzled, leaned in and almost in a whisper said “I didn’t know artists considered their work a business.”

    1. I replied something to the effect that “All business is a form of art and that art is my business.”
      BTW-just love reading the posts from this Curious Monday. Sometimes when you think you have heard it all….this gets you a chuckle and you know you haven’t.

  3. The first annoying comment I ever had was in a figure drawing workshop in San Diego years ago. One of the artists checked out my painting and said, “Why….you paint just like a man!” I retorted with “You should look at Ron’s painting. He paints just like a woman!”

    Second comment was made to me when I was doing portrait sketches in Balboa Park with a group. A woman about 55 yrs old asked me to draw her. While I was drawing she kept telling me to get rid of wrinkles, change that, etc. When I finally finished the work, she exclaimed,
    “Why that doesn’t even look like me!” I replied, “You didn’t want it to look like you!”

    A neighbor who lives across the street from me in Plainfield, IL was one of 10 invited over to see my studio. In the middle of describing how I created the artwork, Greg piped up and said he would give me $5 for it! (What an insult!) His wife shouted “Mary Lou, just give him a small piece of the drawing!” She was used to dealing with Greg and his absurd remarks.

  4. I am jeweler. Once, a woman brought me a very large diamond and asked me to make her a gold ring, with it in it, that she could garden in….I did…

  5. I belong to Men in Hats (not all men!) a plein air painting group which includes some very accomplished artists as well as anyone who wants to take part in our sessions. Last week we were out painting in a park and a lady came along and said “Oh, budding artists!” Then she took a look at a very good artist’s work and had nothing more to say!

  6. I carry 4×6 index cards with me for quick sketches at coffee shops etc. People often get self conscious if they know you’re drawing them. One day a woman watched me for several minutes, as she was leaving I heard her tell the Manager that I was staring at the customers and making notes about them. The Manager said with a smile and a wink at me, “That’s OK he’s an artist, we just let him come in to get warm.”

  7. OK… I have to begin this with a qualifier: I am “a disabled artist.” My fingers are permanently bent inward and have very little range of motion. I can, now, hold a pen or brush without the assistance of foam but time was when I had no range of motion at all. Because of this dubious gift I am able to participate in various juried shows that are open only to disabled artists; the shows are usually held by rehab hospitals. Like most prestigious shows, they print a catalog for the donors and visitors.

    Two decades ago I was working as a collaborative artist with my then husband. We produced very large paintings, allowing us both to work at the same time and marketed ourselves, whimsically (we thought) as “a two-headed, four-handed artist.” Our license plate read “2-HEADED.” Shortly after our work had appeared in one of these shows for disabled artists we received a phone call from someone with a very heavy accent which I thought I recognized as Chinese.

    “Are you the two-headed artist?” the voice asked.

    I answered that I was.

    “Ooooooooooooooohhhhh,” came the extended response, quickly followed by a very doubtful, “You sound very good,” that was more question than statement.

    I sounded very good? I could not imagine – for a few seconds why there was that air of questioning and then it hit me! Oh no! They hadn’t read the descriptive paragraph beneath the headline!

    Never, for a moment, had either of us considered what that phrase – “two-headed, four-handed” might imply in the context of an art show for disabled artists. I felt dreadful! I tried to explain myself – ourselves – but I couldn’t tell if the person on the phone had understood what I was saying or not.

    I’m a lone painter now. No questions about it. Whew.

  8. I was doing an outdoor art fair when a man entered my booth and was very taken with several paintings. He said he was going to return with his wife. He told me that they had recently finished building a home in a very expensive development. He returned with his wife and family and they began discussing where the painting would hang. It was a large painting and I was getting excited too for the sale. Then he said to his wife, I can copy that painting and we can save the money we would have paid for it. I was a bit flabbergasted and after a moment I said, “well if you are planning on doing that you better learn how to paint and I have a workshop with an opening next month”.
    He didn’t sign up for the workshop. I wonder if he ever painted his “copy”

    1. I had someone who loved one of my paintings come for a studio visit & even bring friends. I thought they were interested in buying my work. I served wine & did the whole entertain and tour deal. He actually told me as he was admiring his “favorite painting” of mine that he tried to copy it but it didn’t turn out!! Wow! I guess I should be flattered !?

  9. A gallery placed one of my felt sculptures sideways. I saw this at the opening and didn’t quite know if I should say something then or wait until after. I quietly mentioned the issue to one of the staff who, shocked, took me in hand to the piece and had me put it to rights.

    Every time I go to an opening there someone mentions the “sideways sculpture” and we all laugh.

    The sideways orientation did inspire another piece!

  10. One of the things I like to do is make handmade paper out of natural fibers, recycled paper and recycled fabric. I was describing the process to a group of people I knew and one lady asked. “do you use navel fuzz?”
    Last year that lady took a watercolor class from me – maybe she was trying to be funny before, I didn’t find it funny at the time.

  11. Margit Bu Dominguez

    During an opening a gentleman asked me whether he could take an invitation card (large postcard with an image of one of my paintings) and if I could sign it. I thought it was strange, as it was one of my first solo exhibitions! Weeks later I saw the signed postcard on ebay!!!

  12. One of the craziest things that ever happened in my art career…
    I was on a plane going to Mexico for a vacation and to meet friends from all over the world….I sat next to a woman on the plane and shared a postcard of my metal sculpture… We chatted..and by the time we landed, we were setting up a call and email correspondence got a tree sculpture commission to be created for her daughters Park Ave. apartment in Nyc! You can see a video we made about the project on my website
    Ironically, the commission price was exactly the same as the vacation and all travel expenses! And I also had dinner with my brother the night if the install for the very last time, he passed unexpectedly a few shirt months after the Nyc installation! I’m grateful for the enthusiasm and outward conversationalist plane ride!

  13. As a photographer, I was hired to photograph Charlie Daniels album cover for “Deuces” with film. They also made 8 x 10 celebrity photos for autographs for Charlie to hand out to fans.
    The lab that developed the film called me to say that someone there has brought the photographed 8 x 10 and changed my signature to his. They remembered developing and knew that this guy was a fraud. The lab gave me his name and phone number. I called him and asked him what he was doing. He says, ” A friend gave him the photo and rights to use it.” I asked him if his friend was a professional photographer. He says, “no”. And then I asked this guy why he would take someone else photograph and change the signature to his even if the photo was not taken by him. Each answer got worse. I told him to “cease and desist” He was 18 years old selling the autographed copies on line. Charlie asked me later if I caught the bandit. I was happy to say yes. But more than likely, had he not gone to the lab that actually developed the job…he would have gotten completely away with the theft.

  14. II am a mixed media artist and my daughter is a figurative painter. We often show together and work on joint projects. Recently I posed for her for a series that focus on in her words “wild women” of character. I am older, rather plump and very gregarious. On opening night of a big juried show in our region the paintings were being well received. It had taken a lot of courage on my part to pose and while standing admiring her work I could hear a group of other local artists discussing the paintings. I was so proud but when one artist I know very well stated “what fat women in her right mind would pose like that” I just shrank and moved away. The other women called her out on the comment but that was the last time I posed. I lost my nerve. Incidentally the series garnered Ang a lot of attention and was a breakthrough for her career.

    1. The human body is beautiful in all It’s shapes and sizes. Artists know this. Be proud that your courage and self confidence contributed to the success of your daughter. ????

  15. At an art fair where I was exhibiting my work, I was also creating “1-Minute Portrait” drawings for the visitors (5 bucks each). I drew a young woman’s portrait. A few minutes later, her uncle and his alcohol breath approached me, explained why my drawing didn’t look enough like his niece, and insisted I do it over. His very gracious and good-humored niece sat for a second portrait. Meanwhile, he walked away, *ripping up my drawing* and throwing the pieces into the trash.

    Reasons why I don’t do art fairs, # 729.

    This has been an interesting conversation, and I’ve enjoyed reading the other responses!

    1. I had a drawing instructor in art college who threw drawings he thought weren’t good enough in the trash. That leaves a permanent scar on the young artist. His ego!

  16. I’ve been earning a living from my creative work since 2005. In 2013, I was diagnosed with cancer, and had to see a specialist, at a very well-appointed office. At my first visit, someone from his business office sat me down, and went through the particulars of my financial situation. I told them I was self-employed, and when my forms were printed out, they read “unemployed”. I gently corrected them.

    Then, his nurse went through the same financial particulars, and when she came to self-employed part, she asked me what I did. I told her I was an artist. She said, “Yes, but what do you do to earn a living?” I told her again that I was an artist. She said, “People—pay you for that?” At that point, I’d sort of had enough of the financial questions, and said, quite loudly, “Yes. I get paid. I earn a living. I pay bills, own a home, pay a mortgage. JUST LIKE YOU.” She apologized, and said she’d just never heard of someone making money that way. It was just totally beyond her frame of reference, I guess.

    1. Lisa,

      As a nursing educator for over 3 decades…

      I really hope she wasn’t a professional nurse…maybe a medical assistant that was illegally and mistakenly called a nurse?? If not…yikes!

  17. Years ago, when I was doing outdoor shows, I had a nice clean display that included a wood podium up front to the right to display my portfolio and business cards and a small sign that had my name and my medium of pastels. In fact, the page opened at the time was showing a print of the original which hung directly in front of the podium. At one point, someone asked, ” Did you paint all these?” Well, I was a bit punchy at the time with too much coffee and too little sleep so my sense of humor came up with the remark, “No, I just rented them out for the show”. It took a few seconds for the jest to sink but he got it. Not more than 15 minutes passed when someone else stopped by, looked through my portfolio and asked, “Is this your portfolio?” OMG! I couldn’t resist with the reply,”No, I just borrowed it from the artist about 2 tents down.” She looked!

  18. I was the featured artist in quite a large facility; the only artist to exhibit in one particular room. Shortly before the opening reception we stopped in to check the installation and noticed 2 large paintings hanging among my own. I asked the curator how that came to be and she looked at me blankly. “Why wouldn’t they hang in here?” she responded. I said, “Because I’m the featured artist, and these aren’t mine.” Despite the fact that the signature was clearly not mine, and the style and genre were absolutely not mine, she hadn’t noticed the difference! She and her staff quickly removed the paintings and rearranged the wall enough to get us through the reception.

    On another occasion I exhibited with a sculptor. He had one wall piece, the others were free standing. From across the room, he and the curator asked if I minded if his piece were hung on the same wall as my landscapes. Not paying close attention, I responded that I’d be fine with that. Later, watching patrons react strangely to the wall with his piece, I wandered over to see what was going on. Turns out his wall sculpture was a plaster cast of a breast, placed in what looked like a catcher’s face mask. The curator had hung my landscapes in what she called ‘salon style’, meaning surrounding this odd bit of sculpture. People were coming up close to see my work, and were shocked to be confronted with an encaged breast! Unfortunately many of them thought it was my work. It took some convincing to get the curator to rearrange the wall. We’ve learned to get to openings very early – just in case.

  19. Sometimes the unwitting rudeness (and I do think it is largely unwitting, sadly) can spark work – many times a thrown-away phrase can conjure an image.. I work in textiles, particularly quilted wall pieces.. Sitting in an exhibition, machine-sewing happily, I was faced with a man who, grumpy to a fault, offered the same comment on every one of over 100 small works (under 24 inches) based on the theme of “Gardens” – “Not going to keep you warm”
    I made a lot of pieces in my Not Warm series before I ran out of love with the joke.. Mostly, they have holes in…
    Here’s one

  20. Corinne McNamara

    I teach a required writing class to grad students who think that people are born with the ability to write (draw/paint) or they aren’t. I talk about art to illustrate that these abilities are skill-based and can be learned, and that critique is a necessary part of growth.

    At the end of a semester, about 20-30% of the students “get it,” and quickly progress to an acceptable level; the rest stick with their “I can’t” mindset. As a reminder that building skills in anything takes time and practice, I give each student a 2.5″ x 3.5″ watercolor (from my stash of warm-up/color exercises). I add a bit of pen & ink to make them into landscapes, sign them, and add a label on the back, but students always ask if I painted them.

  21. This year, while doing one of the few outdoor Art festivals I still take part in since the market dropped in 2008, a couple came into the booth asking about my work, style and medium. I explained that as a traditional Artist I’ve been showing for over 40 years and as a digital Artist I began incorporating computers into my workflow in the 1980’s. I told them that I graduated with a Fine Arts degree from college, got a certificate in Botanical Illustration from the prestigious New York Botanical Garden program, received another degree in Ornamental Horticulture (I’m a Garden Artist specializing in gardens, landscapes and florals) and I spent much of my career selling electronic paint systems to the TV broadcast industry. I showed them the promotional photos of me working in my studio over a span of decades.

    His response was that he was so proud of his wife since she was doing the same work as I was by going to the Sip & Paint evenings at the local vineyards. The blabbered on for quite some time but I don’t think I was still listening.

  22. A “friend” said (regarding etchings i was showing and selling)…”If you ever want to give one away….”.
    We must not blame ourselves for these things.
    There is SO much we just cannot control.
    And working with our own reactions is task enough.

  23. I do quite a few live printmaking demonstrations, I love talking with people about printmaking as its is a relatively misunderstood medium. One day I was working at Prahran Market (a very famous market in Melbourne with wonderful fresh food) . I was demonstrating linocut printing and had a number of colours rolled up ready to print. I happened to be positioned in the cooking demonstration area as it wasn’t being used that day. I had an onlooker come up and ask ‘what I was cooking!”.

    Separately, I had someone once ask me “what do you do all day….. paint!?” – rude !

    At the end of a quite successful galleries group showing, I hadn’t sold anything. In discussion with the gallery owner I asked him why he thought my work didn’t sell. “people loved your work, but they didn’t like the framing”. I asked the gallery owner if in the next show I could hang my work unframed, he said “no”. Suffice to say I no longer show with that gallery!

    (Thanks so much for your curious Mondays Alyson, always something great to read).

    1. Trudy: That first one is hilarious.

      I’ve heard the “I didn’t like the frame” reason before. My hope is that a gallerist would help you reframe them so that they would sell.

  24. One thing that happened quite a few years back was that I was going around the neighbourhood with brochures about “Artists Among Us” and one lady was in her driveway and said “Who would be an artist around *here*?” I explained that I was and there were two more nearby (in this conventional neighbourhood). However, it inspired me to do a series of portraits of artists with their work. I did twenty, called it “Local Artists” and it was exhibited in City Hall. A lot of us are still doing the annual Open Studios only it is under the program “DoorsOpen” now. I don’t think that lady ever even came to look!

  25. I recently had my work in a large fundraiser in NYC. The interior consultant that I designed them for kept calling them throw or toss cushions in his social media. He assured me I’d be the only pillow artist creating for his vignette. All proceeds from the many items in 60 vignettes by top designers were donated to Housing Works. It was a real honor to have my work in his vignette.

    Well, after I saw some images, he had snuck in probably some friends tiny pillows and one of my most beautiful, prized pieces with a gorgeous vintage textile, he had completely turned it around so no one ever saw the beautiful print and only the solid back side. Which often can be another gorgeous material but not it in this case….it was plain gold velvet. So that was disappointing.

    On that same note, I had my work shown by a vintage collector in High Point and was one of 4 artists selected for this big new look book concept of the owner. I did a lot of promotion for it, and the woman was great and she had no obligation to me after the show. But I was planning to put this huge banner of the 4 artists on my new website to promote her new concept and my work and those of the other 3 artists. Then one day I looked on the site and she took down all my work and there was NO trace that I ever was part of the inaugural group. But what burned me most is she never had the courtesy to respond to a single email or message I sent her. She just dumped me w/out a word.

    Seeing how my work was mispresented in NYC and not presented in the correct manner at High Point Market was one of the impetuses for me to get back to showing my work as art work so I would have control over how my pieces are shown in the future.

  26. Man, where do I start?

    I’m a fiber and textile artist…recently I was told “well, I just don’t know what to do with fabric you hang on a wall. It just doesn’t make sense to me.” …. blink.

    I’ve also had a lady who bought one of my pieces call me 2-3 months later and say “it’s on the floor in my closet. I just don’t know what to do with it, can you fix it?” I did “fix” it, but I wanted to strangle her. Clearly we “fixed” the wrong thing, in my opinion.

    Some of my other favorites “Oh, my granddaughter makes jewelry. She’s 9”, “Oh, so you must be into that fashion design stuff. I watch Project Runway a lot.”,

    My crowning glory for all of this was a set of paintings I created for a woman that is known to be reactionary and temperamental: I delivered the paintings and after looking them over she exclaimed “They’re too dark!” So I offered to fix them and her response was “I’m just going to throw them in the trash.” I asked her not to do that and told her I’d come pick them up…when I arrived at the location, they were sitting in a black trash bag, in the corner. Pretty unbelievable.

  27. I am both a studio painter and a Plein air painter, and I live on the Notth Shore of Lake Superior. We have many beautiful rivers as part of the watershed of the big lake. One day, I was participating in a Plein air competition and was set up at the base of a waterfall at one of these rivers. The only way I could set up was on the stairs that led to the waterfall. I was set up so people could easily get around me should they want to get closer to the river and the waterfall. Everyone was really nice about the situation and stopped and chatted with me about my work and process. I was almost finished for the day, but had some crucial last minute brush work I needed to get on the painting. So, along comes a really heavy set man and his equally heavy set family and he says, “EXCUSE ME!” And I said, “Yes-can I help you with something?” He says, “You are in our way! This is a public place!” I said as politely as I could, “Yes, and that is why I am set up here to paint as part of a competition I am in.” He says, very nastily I might add, “Well, you have to move because me and my family want to get closer to the waterfall!!” I explained to him that he was the ONLY person that day who refused to walk around me! He wasn’t going to budge-so, I had to pack up my easel, etc., and wait for the fat jerk and his rude, fat family to waddle down the stairs! There wasn’t even a thank you!
    Also, whenever I am outside painting, I get a kick out of such comments as, “How long did it take you to paint that?” I tell them, “All my life!” Another is: “How much will you sell that painting for when it is finished?” I usually ask them framed or unframed-then they say, “Framed.” When I tell them between $350-400, they are in shock! They usually walk away, mumbling that they would never pay that much for a small painting! (Mind you, I usually am painting no smaller than a 8″ by 10″, and more than likely an 8″ by 16″ in oil, with a beautiful wood and gold leaf frame! GEESH!
    I enjoy reading about all the situations that other artists find themselves in on Curious Monday’s!

  28. Nothing really peculiar, but one local gallery owner asked for six pictures, didn’t like the plein air frames and asked that they be reframed, then proceeded to hang them in a narrow hallway, two wide three high, and return them three months later, frames a mess, several beyond reclamation. A great learning experience.

  29. I did four floral portraits for the Walter Foster art instruction book, “Painting Flowers in Oil and Acrylic”. When I received my 12 free copies (unexpectedly, as there was no proof sent for approval ahead of time) I noticed immediately that they had printed the first of my projects in full page size with a piece of green tape on it! They had also printed all of the photos from another project sideways! As well, the biography that I had sent in for them to use was not printed, but they instead clipped a few unrelated lines from my website which made no sense at all in the context of a biography. I was pretty upset at first, but after contacting them they agreed to do a second, corrected printing asap. Now I always have a good chuckle over it and it makes a good little story 🙂

  30. I guess the best one is, at a high school reunion, someone asked what I was doing. I told them I was an artist, and the response was, ” But you’re so smart! Whatever made you choose art?!”

  31. I’m a jewelry designer in my 25th year. One line of my jewelry incorporates small antique carved Victorian era Meerschaum pipes. People are very inquisitive about these focal pieces and I enjoy talking about them and sharing some of their fascinating history, including the 7 descriptor words I just used above. After explaining that the pipes were carved over 100 years ago, Invariably, I will often get the follow up comment, “So did you carve this yourself?”

    I try out different funny answers from time to time, depending on my mood and time of day…. Such as. “No, this one is 125 years old. I’m not even 100 yet!”
    (not even CLOSE) OR I say “This pipe is from the Victorian era in the 1890’s. I’m from the 1950’s.” I usually get a blank stare for a moment, then we both laugh!

  32. I used to draw and paint with a friend at the botanical gardens at the zoo in Calgary in the winter because it was too cold to paint outside. One day we were sitting there working and someone asked us why we just didn’t get a camera.

  33. Of all the odd comments that have been made in my booth and studio over all the years, I still can’t quite process this one, it is so strange: the woman came to my weaving studio, looked around at all the looms and woven items, and then…. asked me how to make soap (?!); I said sorry, I don’t know, I’ve never made soap. She snorted and said “Humppph, not much of a weaver, are you, if you don’t make soap”. ?!!!!

  34. I was at a show with some of my elaborate seed bead art jewelry. A woman came in with her small child and exclaimed, “Look beads just like you did last year at camp.” I understood that she was trying to connect her child with my work. My husband didn’t catch that nuance. He was deeply offended and offered up, “That is a remarkable child considering her gene pool.” He’s 6′ and has a deep resonating voice. All of the artists within earshot just burst into laughter. My guess is that she had been through their booths too. I was actually happy that she was trying to educate her kid and didn’t find it offensive.

  35. During an art show that I participated in, I had included a drawing of a dragon to introduce a series of dragon drawings and paintings I’ve been working on. A very “proper looking” older couple was spending a lot of time looking at my dragon. They finally came over to me and said they had a question. They wanted to know, and they were serious, if I had photographed the dragon when I found him outside to use as reference for my drawing! The drawing was of a fire-breathing dragon!! It was so hard to keep a straight face! After they left, one of the other artists who heard them was laughing and came over to ask me “did you photograph the dragon to use as reference?” I said “absolutely, every time I come across a dragon in the wild, I always photograph him”.

  36. I’m a weaver, steadily working at my craft for nearly 35 years. Several times a year, I do Open Studio events (some mine only, some with up to 50 artists’ studios participating). People are fascinated by watching me weave, nowadays at a large computer-assisted production loom, and many ask questions of all sorts. The most amazing one ever — and it actually has happened three times — was “What are you doing?” I couldn’t get my mind around how someone who was watching me do it could not know what I was doing. My first two responses were “weaving”, which clearly didn’t remove the puzzlement of the questioner. Once I figured out the disconnect, and said “making cloth”, there was a glimmer of understanding. But only that; I still had to explain what cloth is.

  37. Where do I start, one of my student bought her mom’s boyfriend to look at a sculpture I was working on at the time. The man told me that for a colored artist I was talented. I asked him if I looked like a box of crayons and that him using a term like that to describe me was offensive, he was kind of pink and I asked him how he would feel to be compared to a pig. I was invited to show my art and sell in a really prestigious women group who main goal is to get women college educated. The last day that I was there an older woman came in my booth, looked at my art and asked me if I didn’t regret going to college and having a better career. I told her that for her informations, I did go to college, graduated magna cum l’aide and that to top I speak 5 different languages and that I will give her the choices in which one I was going to curse her.

  38. I used to allow myself to become annoyed at all of the ridiculous things people say to artists. Now that I am older and (sometimes) wiser, I try to turn everything into a joke.

    I have become rather well known locally for painting desert wildlife, especially jackrabbits. The question that I get asked the most frequently is “how do you get the rabbits to hold still for you?” (You would be astonished at how often I hear it). My response? “A carrot on a stick.”

    I think some people think I’m being serious. Which makes it even funnier.

  39. Yes, I had a painting printed upside down and backward in a weekly Japanese paper! After almost 60 years of art stuff, I have too many funny stories but this is my favorite. // When my mother was in her 80s, I mentioned to friends on the internet that she was going to a workshop on spinning and dying. The were all impressed with her attitude and wondered where they could get a similar class. I explained. At 94, Mamma is still spinning, uses natural wool and is definitely not prepared for dying!

  40. I’ve been painting and working very hard at selling my art for 14 years with very little success, so I have a basement full of unsold work. I am constantly asked to donate work for charities and I oblige. An acquaintance asked me for a donation to raise money for the sport she was involved in so her team could travel. This woman was very well off and led a life of leisure. I declined and said “I’m sorry, I don’t have any work I wish to donate for this at the moment”, to which she replied, “what do you mean? You have a basement full of paintings you cannot sell”. She also never purchased one of my pieces, though she said she “loved” my work…

  41. I have been an artist (full time self employed) for almost 30 years. I hand paint snowmen and scenes on glass ornaments to honor families, especially weddings and births. I have ALWAYS gift boxed the ornaments. The glass ornaments are 3 1/4″ and the boxes are 4x4x4″. A lady stands in line for quite a while, advances to the front and says “how many of these ornaments can you fit in that box?” It had been a long weekend outside in 90+ degree weather. My husband does not miss a beat. He reaches under the sales counter and pulls out a hammer (he used to stake the tent we were in) and says “as many as you’d like!” She only bought one.

    I was home sick as a dog with a horrible flu, my husband agreed to do my best show of the year without me. I do the personalization. He said he would explain I was not there and see if they would purchase anyways. A while into the show, a lady approaches him and asks if he will write on the bulb in her hand. He explains to her (and everyone else in line) that I am not there and why. He also tells her he doesn’t even have a personalization pen. She walks away. He keeps waiting on customers. Back she comes with a different bulb. She asks him, “can you write on this one?” He says no and explains again. She walks away. He keeps waiting on customers. She walks up for the 3rd time and says “Can you write on this one?” He says give me the bulb. She hands it to him. He says, I can not write on this bulb or any bulb….you need to leave my booth. She says in a huff….Sir, you have lost me as a customer! My husband replied…Lady, you never were my customer! The next women steps up and says “Can you write on this one?” Everyone in line laughed and laughed….

    My guidance counselor in high school insisted to my parents that I needed to study business, as art would not support me in the future. I appreciate the business background that I have thru high school, college and 15 years of accounting as a career. But I really have to congratulate my husband for being my cheerleader when my accounting job was eliminated and he insisted I make art my career. I can still hear him saying….Have Faith…You can do this!

    thank you for this forum!

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Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

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You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

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