Kinda Bittersweet


Last year's Open Studios

For the past 4 years, I've had this really great studio space in one of the prime Boston art buildings. It's been good to be there, and the building always drew big crowds for the events. I usually had a couple hundred visitors for each of the monthly "first friday" shows, and for the semi-annual Open Studios, I'd usually get about 1500 people over the course of the weekend.

Since getting the space, though, I've moved out to the far suburbs; my drive in to the studio went from 10 minutes to an average of 40 (much more in bad traffic). I also have a studio at home, so needless to say I wasn't going downtown a lot. In fact almost never. For the past 2 years it's basically just been a showroom. I've met a lot of great people there, and usually sold enough during the events to more or less cover the overhead, but I've also been thinking of leaving for a long while. I dragged my feet on this, but it's finally time, and Wednesday is my last day there.

I was actually worried I'd have trouble getting out of the lease. The management company requires 3-year leases (nice work if you can get it), and I still had a way to go. There's always been a 6-12 month waiting list to get into the building (it's popular), but with the economy on the skids, I was thinking most artists would think twice about signing a 3-year $800/month lease. It actually did take the landlord a couple months to get a replacement for me. But in the end, it all worked out.

So for 2 weeks I've been taking things apart, boxing them up, and dragging them back home. After many Jeep loads, and one mondo pickup truck load (thanks Loren!), it's almost finished. Couple more boxes and a quick sweep tomorrow night and it's an empty room.

And a big thanks to my wonderful partner Sean, whose idea this was in the first place (it's all your fault). 4 years ago, I had only shown my paintings to a handful of friends and family members, and being a "real" artist was just a dim fantasy. For my birthday that year, Sean secretly got me into a group exhibit in Boston, and then gave me the choice between participating in that show or getting this great studio space he'd scoped out.

We took the difficult option. It was a huge amount of work, and an enormous learning curve. I made some big blunders, but I also started getting a few wins. Putting my paintings out in front of a couple hundred people every month (and actually making sales) started giving me the confidence to think about quitting my day job and painting full time, which I eventually did.

So, it was a great chapter in my life, and laid the groundwork to take a step I'd secretly dreamed about. But, this chapter's also closing, and it's time to move forward. Everything changes.

And of course thanks to everybody who visited me there... I'll see you online!

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