Sometimes it’s not about the sales. I take something away from every art fair. Maybe it’s the epiphany that led me on the path to a new body of work. Maybe it’s a new connection with a fellow artist. Sometimes it’s a new piece of information, like learning about Red Nichols (and his Five Pennies!), the jazz musician who sort of has the same name as my photo business. A few weeks ago I even reconnected with an old high school friend during a meet-and-greet for a gallery show at the Harris A. Berman Diversity Gallery at Tufts Health Plan; we had not seen each other for a very long time.
And then there’s the South Pacific.
I’ve been keeping an eye out for vintage neon signs for my latest photo project (see aforementioned epiphany) and took this shot outside the South Pacific restaurant in Newton. I had driven past the spot often but had never been inside. Still, I have a soft spot for palm trees and took a few shots of this classic neon sign. I listed the photo in my Etsy shop and waited for lightning to strike. It did not.
Fast forward to Newton Open Studios the weekend of November 3-4, where I was delighted to participate in such a well run show with so many talented artists. Someone was looking through my work on Saturday afternoon and ran across the South Pacific photo. It turns out that the restaurant had recently closed, but it had a storied past. She had fond memories of the place and bought the photo. Then Newton artist Lynda Goldberg, my neighbor for the art show, bought a copy for her husband who had whiled away many hours at the South Pacific. Sensing a trend, I made a few more prints for Sunday. Same thing: Sold a couple more to people with fond recollections of the South Pacific.
And then I had a brainstorm. Maybe there was a Facebook page devoted to the restaurant. There was and I posted a link to my Etsy shop Got a few likes, a lot of views, and another sale.
I never had the pleasure of eating at the South Pacific, and it looks like I never will, but I’m thrilled that my work resonated with those who did. Like I said, the art fair world is full of unexpected connections.