Battling Post-Show Blues!

by Angela Bandurka

There is something that happens to me every time I attend one of my show's receptions that I've come to expect and am trying to work though.

In the interest of finding others who might feel this way and will just feel better knowing that they're not alone, I am putting it all out there. 

The months leading up to a show, I work hard at creating a new body of work, something that I feel good about putting out there, that is cohesive, and that makes me feel something (whether it's nostalgia, calmness or self-satisfaction). This is always fun, exciting and envigorating.

To prep for a show's reception, I create advertising - print media (which can be expensive to produce), facebook events and posts (free!), and email newsletters.

The day of the event is usually full of errands: getting wine and snacks (when necessary, and it usually is), making sure I have a stock of business cards and any bonus items ready (for this recent show I made calendars of my work to give to anyone who bought a piece).

Prepping myself for a reception is another thing that takes way longer than it used to. Most of the time is spent trying to figure out what to wear that fits in with the "brand" of who I want to be as an artist, and then because I have taken so long to do this, I am running behind, feeling less than attractive as I run out the door with the wrong shoes, no deoderant or some other fashion faux-pas.

Last night, as we were running out the door, my 8-year-old (whose Dad was meeting us at the gallery to get him) came up to me with a guilty expression, saying "Mama, I'm sorry but something may have happened to your umbrellas." He and a friend were using them as swords and ruined them both. "No time, kid! Get in the stinking car and while I appreciate you coming clean, we'll talk about this later."

At the reception, I hang around awkwardly, not sure where to stand or what to do with my hands as I smile at everyone and say hi. Hoping upon hope that I don't look too desperate or awkward. When I see a friend I run over to them gratefully, happy to have a moment where I don't look so painfully insecure.

By the end of the night, my feet are killing me because I put on heels (see "wrong shoes" above) and I'm hobbling to the car as fast as I can without toppling over. I get home and decompress by turning on TV and trying not to self-hate too much (OMG I can't believe I said that to so-and-so, and I should have talked to that one person more and People were just being nice about my art because I was standing right there and I am sad that so-and-so didn't come...). That monkey brain is the enemy!

Knowing that this happens every time, I try to remind myself that: A lot of my friends DID come, and that the reception was well-attended, and the gallery owner was so nice to me and was very complimentary! I also remind myself that I'm lucky to be a part of a gallery at all and that I'm fortunate to be able to create my art and do what I love. It also helps to know that the next day I'll feel much better and that this is just a result, most likely, of all the build up of prepping for the night.

Maybe next time I won't be as depressed afterwards. If it does, I'll have my cry, go to bed, wake up and start prepping for the next one :)