Monday, April 26, 2021

First show I attended in 2021 - Strawberry Swing at Powell Gardens

Just over 60 vendors were set up, just a short distance from the main building of Powell Gardens.
Do you know how just bizarre it is to sit down and write about attending an art show of any kind? That seems like a hundred years ago that I did any sort of review like this. This won't be over the top, just a small review, but here you go!

Now, small disclaimer, I DID attend a small pop up event for Strawberry Swing a few months ago, which was also a bit surreal. I don't know about you, but going anywhere there are large groups of people still gets me on edge, and upon getting to Powell Gardens, I was more than a bit overwhelmed by how many people, (thankfully almost all wearing masks) showed up to shop at the show. In fact, talking to one of the vendors, evidently people had already shown up in large numbers while vendors were setting up.

It didn't take long for me to start missing doing shows, the tents, the work going into creating displays, setups, all of that, and the familiar buzz of conversation between vendors, amongst shoppers, all on a day that held a great constant early breeze, warm sun, and blue skies.

There were a LOT of jewelry vendors, and a lot of t-shirt/lifestyle product sellers. As far as original art, there were maybe 3 or 4 artists in the show total, of which one, I picked up an art reproduction from.
The food trucks that had shown up early also seemed to underestimate how many people would be in attendance, as they ran out of food by 1pm.
The factor of getting out to attend a show was an overwhelmingly positive experience, as it helped me on the whole aspect of understanding what a show in this sort of Covid time period could play out like.

Now, understandably, Strawberry Swing is held outside, which allows for a lot more room for attendees to spread out. But it also appeared that people were just happy to attend something that gave them some level of normal interaction, engagement, and pursuit. As normal as it can be these days. 
So many little bees bumbled about, legs covered in pollen, all about the blossoms in bloom.
It certainly did for me, and I did take time to speak to a few of the vendors, and for the most part, they all seemed to be in good spirits (though to be honest, many, including myself, have presented a "show face" when interacting with people in public).
I picked up three things from the show, a resin cast pin of the word "survivor", a geode sample, and a hilarious and awesome bit of artwork back, to remind me of the little possum I got out of traffic a few months ago.
The "survivor" pin by Godfrey Riddle, whom I met at the show, and for it being his first show, he had a great setup and some cool offerings for sale. The geode I picked up from the vendor, Glo.Bowl, and the awesome possum art I got from illustrator Matthew Hawkins. All three are great additions to the studio display (I've already got the possum framed, and the pin put in my collection case, now to find a similar display option for the geode!).

Strawberry Swing has announced a series of smaller pop-up events to happen over the next few weeks, which I sincerely hope works out for the vendors that do them.

I myself, do not have a show until Labor Day, when NakaKon is aiming to rejoin other shows, and re-open it's show. I also have a LOT of work to get done before that show comes up, but I am excited and hopeful that things will keep going towards a positive future.

WHICH, on that note, I am on TikTok now, and my Etsy store is up and fully running, you can click on the icon links right below this post to be taken to any and all of the social media and sales outlets I have. I want to thank those of you that picked up stuff from Etsy here recently!

Also, here is the latest episode of my podcast, where I cover some stuff on "Stress". Just crossed 2,300 downloads, which is crazy for my little one man effort. Thank you if you do listen to it!

Until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist

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