“Tulips” watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen
I don’t remember the painting I first showed for the public amusement, but it was likely a landscape daubed out in oils. Possibly 38 years ago a small group of us asked the owner of a neighborhood tennis shop if we could set up a display of our paintings in front of his store. The idea was to simply give a little color to the sidewalk, not to sell anything. But when we went to collect our paintings that evening, mine was gone. Someone had had the temerity to buy it!
Fast forward to 2015 and the Fremont Festival of the Arts is celebrating its 32nd year as one of the largest Art Fairs in the country. The expectation of a crowd of more than 350,000 people is a far cry from the 10 or 12 who had nothing better to do that day 38 years ago. Of course we didn’t offer food, wine or music to entice a crowd, and our friend the tennis pro didn’t offer free lessons either.
Through the early years I explored the idea of art fairs to gauge any interest people might have in what I produced. You gain an insight into the public which is not always complimentary on either side. First of all, by necessity, your own skin becomes tougher, and you realize you are not as good as you thought you were when you left home. That’s the good thing. The bad thing is the evil thoughts you direct to people who loudly proclaim “Oh, I could do that.”
The last art fair I did many years ago was in Walnut Creek, on the hottest day of the year, leaning against a brick building with no umbrella. Around noon I transmitted a call to Dr. A to “Get me the hell out of here—NOW!”