Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
This diary would take some time to finish because the Main Event was ten days away when I started. Marianne is showing her art in July and August at Vernissage and is their featured artist for July 11 and August 1 ArtHop. Of course, a showing doesn't just happen, so here are some of the preparations.
I probably should show pictures during the preparation of all her art work, but I can't. THAT work took place over the course of years, as the title of her showing indicates: "A Retrospective, From Europe to Fresno, 2006-2019".
Instead, I started pictures with packing the car. Vernissage is only a couple of blocks away, but it would not seem right to just carry all this artwork over in shopping bags.
At the gallery, Marianne and the gallery owner Ma Ly planned out the placement for all the pieces and he got to work immediately drilling mounts. After drilling, he had to remove all paintings in order for his wife to paint the walls, so there was plenty of behind-the-scenes work. I was just delighted that I did not have to worry about this part.
On July 1, I helped Ma Ly with the final hanging. He and his wife Angie were heading out on vacation in France the next day, so he appreciated some last-minute help.
We also had to figure out the audio-visual element of the show. Marianne's interview on CMAC will be shown, if I can remember how to make it work. (I did. It worked fine.)
By the end of the day, four walls of the big room were properly hung and the show could begin.
Now all we had to do was wait. The artwork was all hung and, in principle, some might sell before ArtHop, but traffic at Vernissage is very light in the summer, so we are not holding our collective breath. We just want to make sure all Marianne's patrons, past and future, show up in July.
Finally, the waiting was over. Pre-show publicity went well and lots of friends promised to show up. The "Art Gallery" sign went out and the July ArtHop could begin.
At Vernissage, one room is hung with the work of eight or ten local artists. On ArtHop evening, wine, water and snacks are set out to lure visitors. For July and August, the other room was dedicated to our favorite artist: Marianne. The orchid had been renewed, the swamp cooling system turned on (no air conditioning), and we looked forward to sharing art with old friends and some new folks too.
Before the "crowds" arrived, I wandered through the "Resident Artist's" room and was reminded of how nice the selection of local artists has become. Ma Ly, the gallery director, deserves a lot of credit for turning the space into a quality display space for quality locals. Here are just a few of what is currently offered:
Marsha Price was organizing the ArtHop show for the vacationing Ma Ly, while exhibiting work of her own. She has a wide range of artistic skills, from painting to wire-built faces to colorful, three-dimensional flowers created from old wedding dresses.
Haley Coleman was showing her clean acrylics of local landmarks, and having fun posing for publicity photos from her husband. Nice work, nice people.
Myrna Axt had an assortment of her assemblage of found material pieces on display. I admit that her work has grown on me, maybe because her enthusiasm always comes through when we meet in these art shows.
I have become quite fond of the art community here in Fresno. Most need day jobs to put food on the table, but there is hope that enough artists sell enough to keep the Fresno art scene prosperous - enough.
As for our own artist, the show ran well. Goal #1 of getting exposure and chatting with new people seemed met. (I do admire Marianne's ability to confidently engage strangers and share her own enthusiasm for art.)
Friends and family came through for the July ArtHop showing, no small effort considering the triple-digit temperature and the non-air-conditioning venue.
Marianne's mother Magdalena, aka Mamo, came courtesy of sister Katinka. Six months short of 100-years-old, she enjoys these events as much as any of us younger folks.
Nancy and Ted drove down from Sonora and Adrienne and Tony came over from Los Gatos. Out of town visitors are especially appreciated! Cambridge Avenue neighbors were well represented too (Joan, Vern, Blain, Ethan, Steve, Nancy, Gene, Jeanne, Annie, Debby - thanks all.) And a half-dozen of Marianne's friends from her exercise classes made it too, as did John and Nancy, our Fresno Art Museum friends. Family (Babi, Magdalena) and family friends (Ildiko) filled out the crowd. I hope I mentioned everyone, even if I have pictures of only a few.
Commercially, this may have been Marianne's best show ever. She sold four pieces! Among them was "Walk, Walk" one of our favorites that has decorated our own homes for several years. Special thanks to art patrons Nancy and Ted, Ildiko, and Adrienne and Tony.
And so our latest art show came to an end. We were all pretty worn out, by the heat mostly, but happy. Friends and family had shared our part of the Fresno art scene. The sales validate the hard work Marianne puts in and that puts a smile on her face.
My favorite artist, ever.
Stay tuned for whatever July brings, besides Fresno heat.
John and Marianne
While doing the hanging, Ma pointed out "art work" on the outside of the big plate glass window. A few days earlier, a bird had flown into the corner window and left behind an almost-perfect image of his last moment. Kind of spooky, especially in the photo where I tried to enhance the image.