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What I Learned from Doing Festivals – Part One

Hi everyone! It has been AGES since I’ve written to you here. I will admit that I had a bit of a writing slump this past year. I had a hard time putting words together. But I am back now and I have some things I am excited to tell you about!

For now, I want to talk about art fairs and festivals. Now, if you have been following me on social media, you will have seen that I have done a few this year. The most recent of these was the Colorado Black Arts Festival this past weekend. Three days in the hot sun, sharing my art with my community. This was my fourth year and, as always, it was exhausting and exhilarating.

During these things, I get to connect one-on-one with hundreds of people, a few minutes at a time. I get to learn what people value in my work and what they wish to see. Likes on social media don’t quite convey the same thing. I can see where eyes linger, breath is held and bodies react and I know instantly which pieces resonate with which people.

I also learn about pricing. If I put a painting up for sale on my website, I don’t get much feedback. I don’t know why someone didn’t buy it. When someone tells me, “someday I will be able to afford your art”, I get a better understanding of what is going on. In the beginning, I brought large paintings for high prices, thinking that with one or two sales, I would meet my financial goals. This thinking was not wrong, per se. It’s just that there is a barrier to entry for many people. Now, I take prints, posters and smaller works of art that I am happy to keep under $200. Sure, I now have to make more sales to see the numbers I’d like to see in my bank account, but I am building my patron base.

It being my fourth year at the Colorado Black Arts Festival means that people who go every year now look for me. They say things like “I hoped you’d be here this year”. Often, these are people who bought something from me the year before and are looking to add to their collection. This is incredibly valuable. Any business owner knows that your best customers are the ones who come to you again and again. Now I have repeat customers.

In watching the older artists, I learned the value of nurturing these relationships. A woman who has been going to the Black Arts festival for over 30 years told me that she sold 18 paintings in a single day! THAT is where I want to be.

Check out some of my photos and videos from the weekend. Feel free to ask me any questions about getting into festivals, booth setup, or anything that comes to mind.

SOLD!!
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Open House at Movement Ritual

Save the date! Come Move!
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Tuesday April 4th 2017
6:30pm – 8:30pm
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Movement Ritual is hosting an open house, join us for an evening of Movement, Art & Fun!

Get your ticket to secure a spot in the free movement class!
More details soon!
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Afro Triangle will be on site with new artwork.

 

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Vote for me – Small Business Grant

Hi everyone,

I’ve been taking a break from blogging for a while. I am far more visual than I am wordy, so at times, I just focus on the images. There are some new ones I want to share with you, but first, I have something to tell you about. I recently applied for a small business grant.

FedEx is offering to award $25,000 to the small business with the most votes. With that kind of money, I could create some great new products for you guys. I have some ideas for my Women Behaving Badly series that would help women and girls everywhere learn more about their place in history. So many women have contributed to the building of this country and our way of life. We should know who they are.

To that end, I want to print posters, informative postcards, collectible card decks (like baseball cards with stats and all), basically beautiful educational tools. Ideally, some would be for sale while others will be distributed to school aged kids. I want to inspire our young people, especially our young girls to enter high power, high paying fields like STEM, politics, business… fields in which the feminine touch is in short supply.

I am asking for your help. Please vote for me so that I can make my plans a reality.

 

 

UPDATE: The ballots have been cast and unfortunately, I have not been chosen this time around. Thank you to everyone who took time to vote (and help me troubleshoot my buttons). I will let you all know about any future opportunities that arise.

 

Women Behaving Badly at First Baptist Church of Denver

Women Behaving Badly is moving to the First Baptist Church of Denver! This series by Denver artist Adri Norris celebrates women who were leaders, activists, and innovators in a variety of fields. From  worker’s rights to Bluetooth technology, Title 9 to the Nobel Peace Prize, these women and their work profoundly shaped our modern world. This series strives to tell their stories of bravery, determination, and relentless rule breaking. After all, well behaved women seldom make history.
The collection will be hung in the hallway and on display every day from 7:30am to 6pm. This showing also includes two opportunities to meet the artist: Wednesday March 15th at 6:30pm and Sunday March 19th at 12pm. Whether you’ve been following the series from day one or are encountering the work for the first time, you don’t want to miss this!

Boulder Creative Collective’s Holiday Jubilee

If you live in the Boulder area and you are looking for some unique gifts for your loved ones:

Come check out the BOULDER CREATIVE COLLECTIVE‘s Holiday Jubilee!  Experience some freakin’ rad local artists, apparel brands + more in their awesome warehouse space in East Boulder!  Coffee + cocktails will be available for purchase.

RSVP on FB

Afro Triangle will be selling original drawings and paintings, fine art prints, portrait commissions and more. I’ll see you on Saturday!

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SOLD!

Good morning all! I thought I’d share with you some pieces I no longer have because I sold them last night. If your favorite is not on this list, come see me at Mini Comic Con at the Sam Gary Branch Library. I will be there today from 10am to 4pm.

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Rigoberta Menchu Tum

Who is she?

Rigoberta Menchu Tum is a K’iche’ political activist, an indigenous Guatemalan woman who promotes indigenous rights and fights for the rights of women in her country. After losing most of her family to the Guatemalan civil war, which lasted form 1960 to 1996, Menchu worked tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of that war to justice.

What did she do?

In 1982, she dictated the book “My Name is Rigoberta Menchu and this is how my Conscience was Born”, winning international acclaim and calling attention to the ongoing conflict in Guatemala, as well as the ill treatment of its mostly Mayan people. Menchu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for “her work in social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” She created the Rigoberta Mentu Tum Foundation, which helped indigenous Guatemalans in exile return home.

Why does that matter?

Rigoberta Menchu Tum gave a voice to the indigenous people of her country and paved the way for justice to be served. There is still a long way to go before the country is completely healed, but many people are dedicated to the task.

You may be thinking to yourself, “those look like shell casings….” Yes, those are shell casings that I glued to the piece to enhance the violence of the time. 30 years is a LONG time for a civil war.

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Shirley Chisholm

 

I may or may not be done with this painting, but I’ve been sitting on it for two weeks now, so I’m showing it to you. If you have any suggestions for how I could make it better, I’m all ears.

Who was she?

Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, educator and author who became the first African American woman elected to the United States Congress.

What did she do?

The child of Caribbean immigrants, Chisholm was an educator in early life, working as the director at daycare centers in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She was known as the authority on issues involving early education and child welfare. Running these centers got her interested in politics. She became a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly where she helped to pass legislature that granted unemployment benefits to domestic workers and introduced the SEEK Program (Search for Education, Evaluation and Knowledge) which provided disadvantaged students a remedial education and the opportunity to enter college. In 1968, she was elected to the House of Representatives, becoming the first Black woman to do so. While in office, she worked to expand the food stamps program and was integral in the formation of WIC, which provides food and milk for poor mothers. In 1972, Shirley Chisholm ran for president.

Why does that matter?

The programs that Shirley Chisholm promoted and founded are still integral in helping poor people today. Although she didn’t win her bid for the presidency, the mere fact that she ran as a woman and an African American paved the way for the diversity in the field today and the fact that we now have a Black president.

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Hedy Lamarr

Who was she?

Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian actress who became an Hollywood film star from the 1930s to 1950s.

What did she do?

Often cast at the sexy starlet with very few lines, Lamarr became bored with her acting roles, so she turned to invention to keep her mind occupied. She began with an improvement to traffic stoplights and a tablet that would dissolve in water to make carbonated drinks, but soon turned her mind toward World War II. She and her partner George Anthiel realized that the radio controlled torpedoes could be easily jammed and sent off course, so they set themselves to the task of creating a jam-proof system that was based on the way player pianos work. This system would allow a torpedo’s radio signal to hop frequencies continually, making it impossible to block. Although it was patented in 1942, the US Navy didn’t implement this technology until 1960 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Why is that important?

This technology became the basis for Wi-Fi, bluetooth and CDMA (code division multiple access) technology which powers our mobile phones, computers and gadgets, today.

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Sojourner Truth

Who was she?
Born Isabella Baumfree, Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist. She was born a slave but escaped in 1826 with her infant daughter.
What did she do?
When she found out that her five-year-old son had been sold illegally by her former master, Truth went to court and became the first Black woman to go against a White man and win. In 1843, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth and began traveling around the country, speaking out against slavery. She secretly published a memoir, “The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave” and spoke at the first National Women’s Rights Convention, which launched her lecture tour. In her speech, which later became known as “Ain’t I A Woman” she demanded equal rights for all Black people AND all women. She helped recruit Black troops for the Union Army and tried, unsuccessfully, to secure land grants for former slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed.
Why does she matter?
Sojourner Truth spent her life fighting for the freedoms that women and Black people enjoy today. She is an example of someone who saw the problem with her circumstances, both as a woman and as an African American, and rather than sit around and complain, stood up and did something about it. She led the battle to win hearts and minds, and with the help of those who shared her mission, was able to effect serious change.
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Women Behaving Badly-Leymah Gbowee

Hey all. I want to let you in on a little secret. For the past year I have been brainstorming and researching for a project that, I believe, will be the most meaningful body of work I have created to date. The show will be called “Women Behaving Badly – Because Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History”. I know, it’s a mouthful.

I am doing this series because as I’ve gotten older, I have come to learn of so many achievements women have had over the ages that I never learned about in school. Some of these achievements are still stitched in the fabric of our society, yet we have no idea who these women were or what they did for us. I want to shine a light on these individuals and tell you who they are/were, what they did, and why they matter. The plan is to span the timeline and the globe to tell their stories.

The first woman I painted is Leymah Gbowee. I learned of her when I was invited to do a live painting at the Afrikmall this past weekend in Aurora. The woman who invited me asked me to paint an African leader and Ms Gbowee’s name was on her short list. After reading a short bio on her, I knew I had to find a way to tell her story.

After participating in a program in Liberia to help those traumatized by war, particularly the child soldiers, Leymah Gbowee realized that it was the mother, who would be able to heal the country ravaged by civil war. She joined an organization called Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) which focused only on women and only on building peace. Through that organization, she led protests, sex strikes and sit-ins to convince the president to hold peace talks. She and hundreds of other women then went to those talks between warning factions and put pressure on them to end the war. Through peaceful protests, the war was ended in 2003 and Leymah Gbowee won a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.

I found her story absolutely inspiring and used my new collage technique to tell it as best I could.

 

 

 

To find out more about Women Behaving Badly and to join in the conversation check out the Facebook page I created for it. If you have any suggestions of women who should be featured, please leave a comment. The way pages work, each comment needs my approval so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t appear right away. The show will be in August at Coffee at The Point. I will let you know when I set the opening date, so stay tuned.