I invited anyone to join me for the day. For some reason I couldn’t convince a single one of them the Bayou City Art Fair was worth the trouble to get there or the time spent under a hot sun amidst crowds. I’m the only one here who waits all year for a few hours soaking up the creative energy, expressive humor, shocking secrets and dedication to excellence at the art fair. Truth revealed, I wasn’t disappointed to journey alone. I might hint otherwise. Driving was a pleasure because the baby music was squelched and I savored the familiar voice of my Arizona pastor teaching me the elemental truths about God’s grace. His words ran laps in my mind as I strolled from one artist to the next. I like being reminded that my existence hinges on the unmerited favor of God. On one hand I am unworthy, and the other I receive the gift of grace, it’s a good recipe for gratitude, it puts a skip in my step. I was also reminded what I have come to know for sure, every person on this earth has a great emptiness inside that can only be satisfied by God. Not one person is exempt. That’s the beginning of the ability to love far and wide. The source of it all.
With that in mind I enjoyed watching the people with a fresh sparkle. People are so interesting, and artists, well, they are a special subset of interesting. There’s an instant of eye contact with another artist, one word spoken to another and the knowledge that we share a similar slant on the world is established. We recognize one another in a crowd. My big camera is only a clue. I had interesting conversations with some photographers who have self published books, and I took notes on what to do next with my own project.
Some artists are highly suspicious of the camera and demand to know what the photographs will be used for, as if I could recreate their extraordinary talent. Sometimes I say, “I’m practicing composition”, other times I will say, “as a writer I use photographs to stimulate my thinking.” It’s all true. I have to wonder where the joy went in those with sour puss faces. They are showing out in public for goodness sakes.
I also have to wonder how much they sell in these shows. I didn’t see anyone carrying out a large painting, or a five thousand dollar sculpture. It’s no wonder they serve a lot of alcohol. I’d pay more entrance fee so the artists could be a little less worried about my thrill at photographing their self-expression. Only one artist posted “no photographs” and after I framed one he informed me, so I happily smiled, complimented his life size iron giraffes and showed him that I was deleting the photo. I didn’t really want it anyway. I might have looked at it side by side with the real thing and had a small wish for Africa, but I don’t need the comparison to know which I prefer. And I don’t have to wish too hard, in a couple months I’ll be back.
I lost myself in time wandering from one booth to the next. Hours passed by without once thinking about my phone or caring about my stomach. I realized a visual feast is my idea of complete satisfaction.
I am saving my favorite subject for its own post.