"Drink enough free wine, and you won't be able to see straight!"
As somebody once wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." I sold a print of my pig worth £495 but had a laptop worth £2,500 stolen!
It was my first time at the Parallax Art Fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall, which I found out about through Andy Skillen's website. He led the Brazil trip I went on in September 2016 to shoot the jaguar, and he's previously exhibited at the fair. However, I was only able to sign up a couple of weeks in advance, so I had to send a frantic stream of email enquiries to the fair manager before I was happy with all the arrangements. It was quite expensive to buy space as an exhibitor, but I wanted to show off my new 53 x 38" prints, so I decided to take the plunge!
When I arrived, the first problem was finding my prints. Genesis Imaging were supposed to send them over to a storage space on behalf of the fair. After that, who knows what happened. Using a bit of common sense (and ignoring what I was told by the staff!), I found them eventually and located my area. I'd only paid for a couple of metres of wall space, so I was expecting to have to rotate my prints every day, but I discovered that I'd actually been allocated a whole wall! I think they must have been struggling to find enough exhibitors, so I was lucky enough to be able to display all four prints at once.
The next problems was mounting the pictures. Only one of them could be hung on a hook; the rest had to have a wooden batten nailed into a thin wooden panel on the wall, so the technicians were a bit worried the whole thing would collapse under the weight! Fortunately, I managed to persuade them to help me mount two of them on the panel and got permission to rest the other two on a couple of chairs, so we were all set.
The fair started off with a private view on the Friday night, and there were lots of people there. I was on my feet the whole time, chatting about my work to anyone who looked interested, so I hardly had a moment to myself. I didn't make any sales, but the artist who shared the space with me Ellie Spafford had brought her mother along, and she was toying with the idea of buying one of my pigs!
The weekend started badly. I'd been chatting to Ellie a little bit, and I wanted to show her a few lizard pictures on my laptop. However, when I reached into my bag, it wasn't there! It had been stolen. My stomach lurched. I couldn't quite believe it. It had been on the floor between a chair and a glass panel only five feet away from where I'd been standing. Fortunately, everything on it was backed up - including all my pictures! - but it wasn't the best start to the day...
Things picked up on the following day, when Ellie's mum decided to buy an 80 x 60cm framed print of the pig. At least that paid for my hire of the space - if not a new laptop!
Overall, I enjoyed the Parallax Art Fair. The staff were friendly and helpful, I was lucky to meet Ellie and her parents and it was a good chance to see and talk about my latest extra-large wildlife prints. And I even sold a pig! Roll on next year...
Here's what the punters thought of my show: