Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A different kind of jet lag...
I have been home from Spain for 4 weeks and still I feel new thoughts, ideas and revelations from my time there, catching up with me, pulling at my sleeve and forcing me to adjust my life to make room for them.

The day after I got home from Spain was the deadline for my vendor application to the Fringe Festival, a Festival that I have drawn caricatures at every August for the last 24 years. (No matter where I traveled in the world, I always came back to Edmonton in August to draw at the Fringe.)

This year, the vendor fees went up again and after almost a quarter century, I finally felt the crushing frustration of living with a career that functions regularly on a "breaking even" mentality.

I just feel, after doing caricatures for 27 years, that I am finally done with the whole "pay money to set up somewhere to draw and maybe make some money, or at least break even." arrangement.

In Girona, I was so inspired by the vibrant little shops everywhere. I spent many hours walking down the narrow streets, enjoying the culture of cafe/street life that is definitely a part of Spain's magic.

As I browsed the funky little shops and cafes, I couldn't help but question the functionality of my little shop, back in "pretend cafe" that is actually an art studio. A place that confuses passerbys with its perpetual "Sorry we're closed" sign and the fact that it looks like a cozy cafe but "no, we don't serve coffee."

So, in my jet lag tiredness, at the very last minute, I decided I would not apply to the fringe this year and instead, I would take the $2000 + that it would have cost me to have a vendor booth there, and I would invest it into my own little shop.

I would now make it into a real cafe, one that sells espressos and lattes and some baked goods. I would try to give our neighborhood a little taste of that funky little shop/cafe essence that I experienced in Spain. I would also hopefully supplement my art income and possibly even be able to increase it to help with the ever escalating costs of raising 3 kids.

So, I have been busy.
Almost every moment of the past four weeks, I have been researching permits and licenses, looking for sinks and details about plumbing, shopping for supplies and equipment, making a million decisions and looking for that perfect coffee counter to serve the coffee from. There is still a LONG way to go to get actually up and running as a real cafe but its on the way and will be opening sometime this August.

I will still do my caricature gigs, and it will still be my art studio— where I draw my commission work/ paint and the place where I teach art classes (and bring in other artists to teach some classes and workshops), but now it will ALSO be a funky little place to come get a latte or cappuccino, a light snack, a slushie, or maybe buy a painting and/or get your caricature done.

And possibly just by chance, some of those hundreds of people that I have drawn for years and years, might come to my little caricature shop/cafe (which is only 20 blocks away from the Fringe) to continue to get their yearly caricatures drawn.
(my "mocked up" sign that will finally go on the outside of my shop.)