As the crazy old year of 2009 was going away I was feeling extremely exhausted.
When I look back it is not surprising I was feeling so tired. There were too many changes (and too much driving) in my life last year.
Last year stared with a totally new thing (like an old dog learning a new trick) - selling art on the streets. Only outside vendors would know how strenuous selling merchandise outdoors can be. And that was when the recession hit us real hard.
I started out at local farmers' markets to practice, then shifted to the actual art events. I burned out after three consecutive weeks of three art fairs.
Then I moved from Miami to Northern California which was very, very stressful. I had accumulated 'stuff' over the years, and I went into a shock to see how much stuff that I never used or needed, I accumulated. In the end I was crying out of the stress of dealing with so much stuff I didn't know what to do with.
I managed to leave Miami and come to the Bay Area. It's not that I don't like it here, but it has everything to do with settling in a new and strange place.
The Bay Area is sort of like a hundred clans stuck together with invisible borders. One need go only a few mile (or sometimes only a few blocks) in any direction, and the people, culture, attitude and even climate (and even gas prices) are totally different.
That was too much for me to digest. If that was micro-culture, there is micro-climate as well. In summer it would be hot and cold and hot and cold and hot. Climate changes by the minute and by the spot. It can be chilly in the shade yet when I step out of the shade, it could be sweaty hot. I was supposed to wear thin layers of clothing and carry a jacket with me to adjust to sudden warmness or coldness by putting on or taking a jacket off constantly but of course I didn't have the skill nor habit to do so when I first arrived. So I was always in a wrong outfit. When I lived in Miami I never wore socks and I was there almost a decade. So I had to get used to the existence of socks in the laundry.
In the summer I did the Seattle exhibition. Going to Seattle may seem to be a distance shorter than the length of a cigarette on the map, but it is very far, far away if you load the van with artworks and drive alone. I did that twice, for the opening reception and then the closing reception. I think the show was a great success, but it was a heavy load.
People in Seattle not only loved but also bought my work.
At around that time I got on the TV for the first time. I can best describe it as "sleep talking" because I was so nervous that I didn't know what I was saying during the taping. I don't feel that I was even awake during the show.
I now work in the amazing studio space in West Oakland. It's so big that I don't feel like calling it a "space." We shall call it a "field" instead.
In October I entered a financial pit and had to find a job. Considering how difficult the job market seemed to be in this recession, I was ready to apply for at least 100 jobs. I made a list of jobs to apply for and started applying, but after applying at only the first job opening , I was hired right there and then . So that was the end of my job hunting story which could be the most boring job hunting story in human history. How many people in this country apply for one job and get the job? That's a 100 percent success rate. As I read and hear about many people applying for numerous jobs over a long period of time and still have no work, I am happy I have work. And it's in Palo Alto!
One of the brilliant things about Palo Alto is its innovative parking regulations in downtown. This downtown parking system differs from any other city I have been to. Basically , as long as I comprehend the rules and follow them, I can park my car free of charge in the middle of downtown thanks to this system. All public parking is FREE after 5 pm so that all the restaurant goers can take all the time they need to eat, chat, and stroll. I think being able to park downtown with relative ease helps the downtown businesses a great deal. A bad parking system discourages patrons to visit ; killing businesses.
I found a job in Palo Alto because I wanted to be there often. I like Palo Alto. Palo Alto is made contemporary and classy. Of course it may have a lot to do with Palo Alto's financial wellbeing, as one of the "Silicon Valley" cities, but I think it also relates to the type of people who live or work there.
The cheesy country-girl type of deco is almost non-existent, which is why I enjoy being there. And most importantly, that's the type of place I want to target to sell my art.