I was surprised I slept as well as I did the night before my opening. I know I spent at least an hour awake, attempting to find a comfortable position; my mind raced with anticipation and apprehension. I felt like a child too excited and nervous to sleep before the first day of school. I’d been waiting for this day for months—the gradual enthusiasm building each week as my beautifully patient friends and family kindly listened to my repeated declarations of excitement and my irrational fears of utter failure. (Thank you, friends, for being nice to me.)
I would love to seem nonchalant and enigmatic; as if I always know exactly what I’m doing and the entire artistic profession is well within my comfort zone. I wish my calm exterior alluded to my confident expertise and I was completely above the swelling giddiness that fills my heart, and the waves of figurative butterflies that fill my stomach—but I’m not. Do you see my face?! I’m totally not that cool.
The day before my exhibition opened, I was asked if I would give a brief guided tour of the show to explain the concepts, technique, etc. behind several of my works. I gladly agreed, but I was terrified. I love making art and I’m genuinely proud of it—however, I’m always very nervous to speak publicly about my imagery. I make art because I struggle to properly articulate my evolving assessment of cultural ideals, sociological reactions, or conceptual imagery. I have a tendency to over-explain (here is my exhibit: A). I find myself in awkward long pauses, and repeatedly relay on vocal fillers. I almost feel split in two—with one of me embarrassing herself as she tries to sound coherent and respectable in front of a crowd, while the other objectively looks on in horror—as she hears every flawed analogy and painful pause.
In reality, my talk went fairly well. I found my comfort zone, and tried to be just be as me as possible. I was flawed but relatable and approachable. I’m also so very grateful to all those who attended my opening. The weather cooperated and people were able to enjoy their cocktails and cookies in the stunning museum courtyard. I had the joy of speaking individually with many of those who were kind enough to attend, which allowed me to meet other interesting creatives, and receive a unique glimpse into their individual interpretations of my work.
As an artist, I have found exhibition openings tend to have an allure similar to that of Christmas morning—the exciting moment one spends weeks looking forward to, waiting patiently for the day to finally arrive. While the event itself is fantastic, the excitement dissipates quickly and life returns to its familiar routine. I did feel a sense of relaxation flood over me as the opening successfully concluded, but I didn’t feel any sadness. I still have several upcoming events, in conjunction with this exhibition that I’m looking forward to. Since I still have several artistic projects in the works throughout the rest of the year, the usual melancholy that accompanies the end of an opening hasn’t arrived. It doesn’t feel like an end, but a fantastic beginning to a wonderful new year.