the flat tire, japanese television,and the show
So, the weekend of the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibition is here, and things have been pretty busy.
As always, I waited until last minute to pack the dozen paintings, tent, and easel into my truck. Sounds easy enough, but it’s actually quite complicated, especially when you throw seven feet wide painting into the mix. And to add to that, I was always bad at all things Tetris. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever worked on a table puzzle, without smashing my fist against two pieces that probably weren’t meant to be. So, finishing that bit of packing at one in the morning, I awoke at six to head to the city.
As my faithful truck rounded the corner at Fifth Avenue and 9th, I heard a faint hissing, like the sound of locust wings descending upon Egypt in God’s wrath. I looked out my window, down at my wheel, and saw that a nail had snugly nestled itself between the treads of my tire.
Now, changing a tire is never an enjoyable activity, but it is somewhat less so when NYC taxis zoom by and homeless people stop to watch. And, changing a tire is even less enjoyable when your jack breaks apart, right in front of your eyes. As the sun beat down, as the horns wailed, as the other exhibitors finished setting up their tents, I searched for another truck owner who was kind enough to lend me a jack. Eventually I found one. As I changed the tire, I reflected on how small things like this can just epitomize, or symbolize, hardship. Late winter to spring is a trying time for all artists- between Christmas and June, the simple problem is that there aren’t many options for exhibiting. But, I remembered Twain’s quote in his autobiography, “The events of life are mainly small, but we are so close to them, that we perceive them as being bigger than they actually are.” And I thought of things that were on my mind from the past few weeks, and put them all into this context.
I hastily assembled my tent, hung my artwork, and pulled other odds and ends together. Two minutes later I had an excellent sale, and then an excellent portrait commission. A steady stream of people filled my booth.
Then, two beautiful Japanese women came to my tent with an elaborate video camera. “Kevin McEvoy? The head of the Washington Square Show directed us to you. We are one of the major news stations in Japan, and we would like to use your work for our program, and interview you.” Initially, I was nervous, but soon became comfortable and spoke with them for fifteen minutes or so.
And then, a while later, a wonderful couple came in, and bought the painting of the violin with the broken strings and the wine glass.
And then, another big portrait commission.
And, another work sold.
I submitted my painting “Alembic” into the judging of the show, which is carried out by the Salmagundi Club. Remember this painting, the one of the woman and the cello? It didn’t win any award. But, this painting has had the greatest success that I’ve ever had at any of these shows. I’ve never had more interest from the public- everybody stops and says something. No other painting, done by me, has ever received half this much attention.
I hope all this doesn’t come across as gloating. I’m writing this to say that I’m so grateful.