After an exhausting but satisfying weekend preparing and showing for the annual YES Art Expo, I am recovered enough to post a few thoughts on my experience. There’s always a bit of je ne sais quoi with exhibit-and-sales events like the YES Art Expo — a bit of bustling and hustling, but it was also a wonderful chance to connect with visitors and fellow exhibitors. Here’s a rundown.
As with last year, I was placed near the entrance, almost squarely in the path of on-comers (thank you YES), with my neighbours being the bubbly Norma of Cara Carmina (she makes such cute dolls!) and the sophisticated Lisa Howarth of The Lonely Pixel (art photography). Nearby was Emily and Dan from e.d. Films, an award-winning animation studio, who had included their adorable and extremely well-behaved little baby boy for the show (committed parents and artists!). Another surprise was singer-songwriter Kyra Shaughnessy, whom I know from Montréal’s Permaculture Guild, and who was performing some sweet tunes throughout the two days.
Karine Jean-Paul of Kakou Bijoux had some beautiful jewelry treasures on her table (with yours truly now sporting a lovely specimen of lilac agate handpicked from her creations), while Sol Ines of Luca3 impressed with her hand-rolled beads of recycled paper. I also met Oscar Mendoza, a talented fashion designer, and chatted with the women behind Fancy Owl Studio, a skilled all-female digital arts collective.
While holding down my own fort, I had a few memorable encounters with passerby who gave me some positive words. One of YES’ mentors left with one of my geometric magnetic puzzles as a gift to his son, now living in New York, as a “reminder to keep the faith.” I wasn’t sure if he was referring to something religious or not, but I do believe my work has that intention of compelling people (hopefully) to “keep the faith” in our collective higher destiny.
Ian of IWoo dropped by to chat, and after hearing my spiel about my drawings, said, “You must be a spiritual person.” At first, I replied with an unfiltered “yes,” but not wanting to sound pretentious, added that I didn’t necessarily believe in labels, as I didn’t know what his definition of spirituality was; plus I know for myself there’s plenty of self-work to be done.
Nevertheless, spirituality to me are human values of compassion, love and equanimity, and an understanding of our deep interconnection with each other and all of existence. Easy to say, but sometimes hard to practice. I think we are all spiritual beings at our core, but have been raised in a distinctly unspiritual environment — yet that cannot change our essence… The matter at hand is to jog the collective memory.
I also had an amazing conversation with Masha, a participant from the YES Artists’ Conference, who passed by my table and felt an instant connection with my drawings and the philosophy behind them, a lot of it coming from Carl Jung (collective unconscious, yes!). Recently coming from Spain, Masha was telling me about how she felt there were other ways to act for change, other than protesting in the streets — a decisive step for certain, but not the only one. I agree; there’s a meme war going on for hearts and minds, and we need a multi-dimensional strategy to tip the scales, no doubt.
All in all, a positive experience. Thanks YES for organizing a first-class event!