Many would argue with the above statement – they have teenagers who will work hard to find the dumbest question possible. For the rest of us, what do I mean? There are times in our lives where we have missed the application boat by a few hours, wanted to be in another spot in a show, wished we had signed up for 20’ instead of 10’. When you get to the show, just ask. I set up at one and the people behind me hadn’t arrived yet. I was one half of an endcap. I told the promoter that if they didn’t show, I could fill the space. OMG! She wanted to move them! It was perfect. I was an endcap artists all weekend long. My display never looked that good before. Things happen to people, you never know what is going on with promoters or other vendors.
This also matters when you are working with other vendors: always ask. Did you want some coffee? Can I hang off the back of your display? If you are willing, I can set my booth up so that we can sit side-by-side so that you can take a break and I can watch your booth and vice -versa. Never assume, always ask. It doesn’t bother me if the guy on the other side of my panels uses the hanging space but I really wish he would use my hooks instead of the crappy ones he made out of thumb tacks and stove pipe wire.
When you are scheduled to do a gallery show, i.e. guest artist; call a month ahead and ask. What do you need? What do I need? They get very excited when you do this because it is the sign of a professional. Communication is always a plus and since they spoke with you in April and you are supposed to hang in October…. Calling in August can be very reassuring to the business owner. Co-op galleries tend to contact you, but privately-owned galleries – they have enough cats to chase, don’t be one of them.
If you are getting something done by a vendor, say printing or casting, ask: “How could I have made this cheaper for you to do?” It is amazing the amount of information that a business owner will give you. They want to keep your business and they want to keep your overhead down so you stay in business. Foundries will teach you a lot about keeping your casting costs down, printers will tell you cost effective sizes or even excellent scanning services that you could utilize that they find easy to work with.
Ask anyone you can think of that is doing something you want to be doing. Now, the flip side. Answer. When someone asks you a question, give them the kind of help you would hope to get in return. Be the person you want to see in the world and help someone else find their way.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the Spokane Art School Artist-in-Residence, and not necessarily to the Spokane Art School.