34: The Art Festival Circuit with Painter Margaret Baker

34: The Art Festival Circuit with Painter Margaret Baker

Posted by Nicholas Ribera on

Margaret discusses her paintings that evoke warmth and nostalgia through found photos. She explains her preference for vernacular photography and the emotional connection she feels to these lost moments. Margaret highlights the joy of giving new life to forgotten photos through her paintings. She also shares the reactions and interpretations of viewers, emphasizing the personal stories they create. Margaret discusses her experience with art festivals and the importance of understanding her target market. She shares her strategy of focusing on quality shows outside of Florida and the benefits of selling out at these events. Margaret also discusses her commissioned paintings and the importance of saying no when the project doesn't align with her artistic vision.


You can listen to the episode here (or wherever you listen to podcasts) or read the transcript below:

A Conversation with Margaret Baker:

Chain Assembly (00:03.147)

So today I am lucky enough to have with me Margaret Baker. Margaret, I first met at an art market in Lakeland, the Lakeland Art Crawl. And before I actually met Margaret, a mutual friend of ours named Lucy told me I needed to be on the lookout for Margaret's work. And we happened to be neighbors. I ended up buying a small piece from Margaret and commissioned her for four other small paintings. And Margaret is probably


my favorite painter in the Florida area. I'm also a dog sitting a Yorkie at this point and that Yorkie loves to set off all the other dogs. So, hopefully the noise canceling is gonna time block some of that.


Margaret (00:34.574)

Hey, thank you.


Margaret (00:49.054)

Yeah, that's sweet.


Chain Assembly (00:50.319)

Anyways, well, Margaret has a wonderful style that is incredibly nostalgic and warm and like... I don't know this, I know this word doesn't make sense, but I like to describe your paintings as chewy. I just kind of want to like, I just want to like put it in my mouth and sink my teeth into it like a, like a starburst.


Margaret (01:03.726)

Chewy?


Margaret (01:09.306)

What they're warm like I they're definitely sentimentally warm like that's usually people are like these are really comforting and When I have them all hung like when they're all together people are like these are really Comforting. Well, yeah. Yeah. Yeah


Chain Assembly (01:28.243)

I guess I would say chewing because you have some, you usually have wide strokes, wide, fat strokes, and that makes it feel huggable, I guess. I don't know, it's weird, but anyway, how would you go ahead, you describe your art for the listeners.


Margaret (01:43.671)

Yeah.


Oh, that's always that's always fun. Um, it's I Most of the time I move fast. So yeah, my brush strokes when I'm when I'm gathering something it's they are pretty Pretty fat and looser Although what's weird is when they're you're far away. It looks tight to me It always looks like more photoish than I want it to be then when I'm hanging it in my booth I'm always like, oh, these are so messy


and then I'll step back to take a photo of my booth and I'll be like, oh, these look pretty good. Yeah. But my work is, it's mostly nostalgia. I started painting from references from vernacular photography, so found photos. A lot of it comes from my own family albums. I always tell people my dad left me about 10,000 slides, like 25.


Chain Assembly (02:20.493)

haha


Margaret (02:44.806)

seven moving boxes filled with 25 reels each containing 100 slides and them all from the 60s and 70s some from his childhood like old photos and old negatives and stuff he was a he was the keeper of the family photos and you know it he was annoying and so a lot of the photographs are these


unstaged moments that I like and when I started looking through them, I didn't, it was hard not to be instantly connected but then it was like I miss that and so that's what I kind of try to portray in some of my paintings is sometimes it's that longing. But I also paint a lot of found photos because I used to collect old photos as well. So I look for stuff you know you can only paint your family.


for so long before you're just like, ugh, this is emotionally draining, and you move on. So, it's how it paints stuff.


Chain Assembly (03:49.567)

So I've also just finished digitizing about a thousand slides from my mom's stuff. Because she's in a nursing home now, so we had to severely reduce the amount of clutter as we prepare to sell her house. And digitizing all those slides with this little Kodak scanner thing I bought has been fun, but I think the most fun part is being able to throw them away afterwards. But I have them all in the cloud so she can view them on her tablet, which is nice.


Margaret (04:19.082)

My dad digitized a good chunk of these, and yet I can't find myself throwing them away. It feels like, well, one, because the negatives are proof, they're the originals, and they're just beautiful the way they are. I feel like I'm going to do something else with them when I'm done. But when you come across...


these photos, because people buy and sell these photos. You can go on eBay. You could, instead of throwing away your old photos, you could literally could have sold them on eBay. There's a lot of collectors of vernacular photography, people that have their own kink of things that they like. They literally are like, you know, sell me stuff with, you know, vacation volcanoes in them or something.


Chain Assembly (05:06.027)

So what's that term you're using? Um, what? Photography? I don't want to say it wrong.


Margaret (05:11.158)

Oh, vernacular. So vernacular is the amateur photography that we all do or did. I don't know if we all do it anymore because we can make really great photos with our digital phones. But we, you know, it's just it's not a professional, it's a novice. And it's the type of stuff that makes its way to thrift stores and estate sales and stuff like that. And it's got its own uniqueness, a lot of flash photography in there.


Chain Assembly (05:13.707)

OHHHH


Margaret (05:40.746)

weird compositions. You know, it's not well photographed and that's kind of the beauty of it is because it caught that hidden moment. So there's a lot of collectors of it. I've run across a lot of people who paint vernacular photography like I do. And it's...


Chain Assembly (05:59.455)

So I have found a pretty good use of the ones that I scan because I'm working on a tarot project right now, which is, I'm kind of like, I'm reinterpreting tarot cards to each be a fake Italian movie poster from the 70s. So a lot of the photos were ones that my dad took in Italy in 1979. So those have taken, it proved to be very useful as references.


And on top of that, I've also been using some other photos from the British Museum and public stuff. But it's also been fun going back using photos that I took in high school. I'm like, oh, that perfectly works for this situation.


Margaret (06:27.82)

Yeah.


Margaret (06:41.366)

Yeah, it's weird, right? And people hold onto these photos. I don't know. I think the saddest is when I pick them up at thrift stores, you know, cause you go to thrift stores, and you find somebody's family photos, and you know, they're dead. I mean, like the stuff that I'm painting, my son is not gonna keep. It's gonna make its way to Goodwill at some point, or the landfill. But I love that idea of


taking something that is a thrown away moment, a moment that is lost, it is forgotten, and has been made its way to the edges of a thrift store, and now it becomes a oil painting. Somebody buys it and hangs it in their home, and it's going to continue on for a while. I love that idea, and I love it when people buy something I've painted, and I'm like...


Like I painted a series that was this, I picked it up at the Coop thrift store here in Orlando. And it was these black and white photos of this kid at a lake. And he was like, he's a fat little kid and he had a inner tube and he was like on the lake. And it was like, you know, it was two other women with him and there was pictures of him in the lake and then him by the shore and then him with his mom or his aunt or whatever.


painted a series. I painted the almost thing. I bought four of the photographs and I painted three of them. All three of them have sold. And I love this idea that this kid, this lost, you know, he probably, the person who's in that photo probably doesn't even remember the moment. Probably doesn't even remember the photograph, right? It was, you know, who knows? And, but you know, now they're painted and somebody, somebody bought them and has hung them in their, in their home or office or something. It's kind of, I love that idea.


like lost but now found.


Chain Assembly (08:39.723)

I feel like your work is kind of the personification of an idea that I often come across, which is the more specific the imagery or concept, the more globally it becomes accepted. So like you're doing these incredibly specific moments, but people who grew up in the other side of the country will see that and identify with that. Is that something that you see, like people looking at your work and then bringing up their own story that associates with it?


Margaret (09:06.406)

Yes, which is what I, which is when somebody comes in, because I've had people who have like beelined into my booth and like I had this one that was, it was from a photograph of my mom and she was giving me a like, I'm a toddler and you can't really see me. I'm just like leaned over in the sink and I had this woman beeline into my tent and she was crying. And you know, it was one of those situations where it was like.


she recognized that mom moment. Like I feel like I paint a lot of mom moments and it just it kind of made her emotional because she had just lost her mom who had passed and I get a lot of those like people who are just instantly like or I get people who are like that looks exactly like my uncle such and such or that looks that's my uncle on that ugly couch with the dogs on the couch you know which is fun.


But I love it when people, because no matter what your work is, people are going to make up their own stories about it. You know, I can, I can wax poetic all day about my own painting and like my motivation behind it, but it really doesn't matter. It's what somebody, you know, but they see it and they see something else. Like I've had people, I usually can tell the kind of area I'm in when they, you know, by the artists they compare me to. So I'm like.


I'll take it. I'll take whatever others seek out, but it's, you know, they're, they're vocabulary of relating and so, yeah, I love that they people make up stories.


Chain Assembly (10:44.377)

I would say first and foremost, I equate your style with Edward Hopper. Is that something you've heard?


Margaret (10:49.942)

Oh, that's sweet. You know, if, okay, I don't want to get myself in trouble. If I'm, okay, if I'm in an area, like, because I've only been doing these shows for, I guess, the last five years, but like in the last couple years, I've done more of them outside of all around. And if I'm in like a college town, I get bigger, I get bigger comparisons. So I get like...


Edward Hopper or I can't remember who they compare me to, but it was like, you know, actual artists where I'm like, oh, that's really cool. Thank you very much. But a lot of the times I get, and this is going to be the more like not near college towns, I'll get Norman Rockwell, which is not my style. But I don't, the reason I know that they, you know, from, from just like layman, the reason that that's the.


Chain Assembly (11:36.907)

Mm. Right.


Margaret (11:47.318)

artist that comes to mind is because it's just, it's homey and it's relatable. So he painted homey and relatable things. You know, as an artist, she was like, you know the artist that you want people to say? Like if you had said, and I had this happen to me, I was in at a show in Tennessee and there was another artist across from me and she was an art teacher. And she came over and she


Chain Assembly (11:50.558)

Mm-hmm.


Chain Assembly (12:00.135)

Mm.


Margaret (12:16.686)

and of Alice Neal. And I was like, oh, you hit the artist that I wanted somebody to come marry me to. I got really excited. I was like, that's the first time anybody ever like, named the artist that I really like. It was kind of sweet. If you'd said Mary Cassatt too, I would have loved that.


Chain Assembly (12:19.739)

Oh! Wow.


I'm out.


Chain Assembly (12:27.444)

Beautiful.


Chain Assembly (12:33.899)

I'm going to go ahead and close the video.


Chain Assembly (12:42.068)

Oh, yes, yes. Picturing a child in a park in Paris. Yeah. So let's talk a bit about your journey at Market. So where did you start? How far have you gone? Because you mentioned you did one in Tennessee. And I know you're headquartered in the Orlando-Gainesville area, if I'm not mistaken. And you've been doing it for five years.


Margaret (12:46.447)

Yeah, or sitting in a chair or something.


Margaret (13:06.544)

I'm in Orlando. This last year, last November, I now have a studio in Lake Mary. So I'm really proud of that. We just signed a two-year additional lease, so I'm here for a while. So that's where I'm based out of. But the first show I ever did was Arc Crawl out of Lakeland.


So it was the one that was when they were, they just moved. I haven't seen the new location, but I think it was 2018 I did. That was my very first show and it was the one day show. And I had the white pop-up tent. I had the mesh walls, the white mesh walls. I spent money on those.


So my like my initial setup was probably about $700 Expense wise and my whole thought process was If I can set up the tent like I could care less whether anybody bought anything Or or whatever all I want to know was could I set up that tent and put those walls up by myself? And I did and I like I didn't sell anything at our crawl 2018


And I was so, I was ecstatic. I was driving home like, I set it up and I broke it down all by myself. Like I was so proud of myself. Um, you know, so then I, I did, I set it up in my driveway. Yeah. So it was, it was, um, yeah, I was, I mean, it was, it was embarrassing how proud I was. Cause I think I only had like eight paintings. Like I had eight paintings. That was it. Like, um.


Chain Assembly (14:36.961)

Do you do any practice in your backyard?


Chain Assembly (14:43.261)

Okay.


Margaret (14:55.594)

And I think the next year, like ArtCrawl in their application, they're like, you need to have enough work to fill the tent. I was like, I felt, I felt targeted. I felt, but they did such a good job because you didn't have, you know, like to apply when you apply to art shows, art festivals, you almost always have to have a booth shot and it has to be a quality booth shot. And that's really hard to do. Um, when you're just wanting to see if that's even something that's viable.


Chain Assembly (15:04.632)

I'm sorry.


Margaret (15:24.406)

So like the whole premise of Art Crawl being one day and it being supported by the Polk Museum of Art and the Ellen Chastain who runs it. I mean, just so supportive of the artists. You didn't have to have a booth. You didn't have to have a booth shot. They actually took booth shots that year. I don't know if they still do all this, but they literally took photographs of the artists in their booth. So you could use that as a booth shot.


like they would take a picture of your booth for you. And they did so much promotional material that like other stuff came from that. Like I didn't sell anything at that festival, but I met connections that led somewhere in the future. And have continued actually to lead somewhere. Like I've been contacted by people who was like, I saw you at ArtCrawl and I met a different festival. And they're like, I wanna buy your work.


So that's always awesome.


Chain Assembly (16:24.747)

So that was, I guess, I assume our crawl was in November again in 2018. Okay. So if, so you started pretty late in the year with that first market, how, how would you estimate? And I asked, because I know I have kind of my own journey. How would you estimate say 2019, how many markets you did? And then how did that compare to 2023?


Margaret (16:29.347)

Mm-hmm. Yep.


Margaret (16:51.737)

So 2019, I probably, okay, so I did.


I did, I think in 2018 I did Art Crawl and I also did, where I live had Winter Springs Art Festival, again sold zero dollars. So it's always, you know, keep going though. And so 2019, I don't remember, probably about five, five festivals. I didn't do anything like, I was so proud of, I got into images. So when you know when you do art festivals, you...


A lot of times you needed to apply for an art festival six months ago. Like you want to be in the art festival. You need it. And so like that was the other thing with art crawl is like, um, it was something I was trying and there was like a two month, like it was like a month and a half or something, you apply and then you find out and then you go. Um, and I think I did the next shows that it was like a big show that for me, it was images in New Smyrna beach.


It's put on by the Atlantic Center for the Arts. It's in January. I'll be doing it this year as well. And that one was like what I feel like my first really big, like, ooh, like a big art shows three days. I had to set everything up myself. I had my big. Oh, wait, no. After our crawl, I'm sorry. After our crawl, I did the land art festival, because that one's also in November. Later in the year, it's right before Thanksgiving. I did the land. That was the big that was my first big art festival.


where I felt like it was like a real art festival with like other artists and professional artists, you know, people who do this for a living. That would be Deland. Like I was, that was one I was really proud of. It was also the one where I realized I needed to get a better tent because it rained. And I had like an easy up tent or ABC canopy and the tent had like bowed with the water.


Margaret (18:53.27)

And you can put like pool noodles or something in there to get the water out. But I was like, I'm going to keep doing this. And, you know, even though I think that the land show, I maybe sold a thousand dollars of paintings, not like a lot. I made expenses and a tiny profit. I was like, I'm going to keep going. And so I bought a, like the professional tent. So I bought the big trim line tent.


which was a lifesaver. And then the next, like right after that. So I think in 2019, I did like five shows. It was enough to keep me going. And then in 2020, I did images and I won an award and I did Mount Dora and I won an award and then COVID hit. And I didn't do anything till 2022 when we met at our crawl again in November of 2022.


Or was that November of 2021? No, it was 2021 we met.


Chain Assembly (19:57.357)

So one thing I specifically want to ask you about is you made the delineation of a professional art market. And I know that those exist out there. Art crawl is the most art-centered event I've ever vented at. I always do more market markets rather than art markets. Generally because I feel like the audiences that go to those are not going to be interested in what I make.


Margaret (20:15.904)

Right.


Chain Assembly (20:21.607)

I don't do anything traditional. I'm all digital. I primarily make products with my art. Also, usually the vending fees are like three, four hundred dollars for events like that. But it seems like that's where you've been focusing on is those more high-end, maybe high-end is not the term.


Margaret (20:32.834)

Yeah.


Margaret (20:37.09)

Well, it's the same... Well, no. So whenever I apply, and this is just something to know, is you always feel like you're sending out, I'm buying the worst lottery ticket ever, is what I'm doing. I'm spending 50 bucks, and it's a lottery ticket. Are you going to get into the show? Because there's a lot of work involved. But the reason I kept going, and the reason I saw doing those types of...


Chain Assembly (20:54.96)

I'm sorry.


Margaret (21:06.054)

art festivals for myself, like ones that focus on fine art or just people who make art and not necessarily products, right? They were making paintings or ceramics and photos and stuff like that. The reason I focus on that is because what I found, even when I didn't sell anything, is that I got a really good glimpse of my target market.


Margaret (21:35.966)

You know that idea like I made this painting, I'm gonna put it online. Everybody's gonna love this, I'm gonna sell this. That doesn't happen. And even if you have a great following on Instagram, you know, people are following you all the time, you can post work. You are not really knowing the people who are really attracted to your work. And when you're out there in front of the people and actually, I mean, yeah, you hear a lot of stupid comments. You know, comments where you're like, you gotta let it roll over you. But you also...


Chain Assembly (22:03.403)

Mm-hmm.


Margaret (22:05.038)

get some really great insight about the type of people who are like that literally come into your booth and are like, or even for products. Like I love this coloring book. I love the golden girls. I mean, you have to get that. Yeah, everybody. So when you're like, that's invaluable information. And so that's what's kept me doing the markets or the festivals and why I kept applying even when I didn't make any money.


But it's a different, I sell paintings, I sell oil paintings, and every market's different. So whenever I go out to, like somebody tells me, oh, you need to apply to this show, this is a really great show. The first thing I'm gonna wanna know is like, what do you sell? Like your great show is not my great show. And like, yeah, your great location. And so the thing I learned about Delann, like the first year when I did Delann Festival, I was like,


Chain Assembly (22:55.805)

Good point, good point, yeah.


Margaret (23:04.542)

It was the first time I actually sold paintings. Like people actually bought multiple paintings and I got a good idea of like, okay, so the people who kind of are attracted to my artwork are between this age range. A lot of them, like I do better in like ecology type towns or larger type art festivals that are put on by arts organizations like.


the Atlantic Center for the Arts sort of thing. Like I do better with those than I do going to some of the other festivals, which are put on by maybe different types and they're looking for different types of work. Yeah. So it's, I really like it. I shouldn't like it. It's really hard and it's really expensive. And again, it's like, you're like, I just apply, I'm applying for the summer right now.


Chain Assembly (23:50.964)

Yeah.


Margaret (23:59.954)

So I'm applying to the summer to outside of Florida shows. And it's a crap shoot. I have no idea what kind of shows I'm gonna get into. I have no idea if my business is gonna continue past April. Like I have shows, I have good shows up until almost May. And then I have no idea what my rest of my year looks like. And if you're a Florida, if you strictly do Florida,


you pretty much have the summer off and then you start applying towards, in the summer, in the summer is when you're applying towards those fall shows. Or if you're trying to apply to something that's really big like the Winter Park Drive Festival, that's when you're applying in like August, you're applying for that March show. I mean, like a lot of these like really big shows that are, they are very expensive. They have really long lead times and you have no idea if you're gonna get in.


because the judges are always different. It's really high stakes. There's a lot of people applying. And so sometimes just getting in is like, you know, that's where you celebrate even though you have no money in your pocket. Yeah, so.


Chain Assembly (25:09.407)

So one thing that I, I guess I could say get addicted to. So like markets are not a big percentage of my business income. But one thing that I always get addicted to is like coming home after a long day at a market, $1,400 richer. And you're like, well, that was nice for one day's work. So I definitely feel that like draw and need to wanna apply for more things, but.


I've over the years started editing out markets from my schedule. Do you find that each year you apply to more or you apply to less?


Margaret (25:51.054)

So this year, so if you were to ask me last year, last year, this time last year, I would have said that I was trying to only do no more than eight shows a year, okay? And that changed when I did a couple shows outside of Florida in the summer. And it was kind of a fluke that I even applied to. It was like, I don't even know how the hell I got accepted, but it was so...


such a great experience that this year I flipped it and I'm actually trying to stay busy and do more markets or more festivals during the spring and summer and not do any in the fall. So that said, I've also edited out some of the festivals that I've done in the past that have just been, they're the ones locally.


that are big festivals. Being on the I-4 corridor and in central Florida, we are really positioned to have a lot of great shows. There's a lot of shows down in St. Pete where you are and a lot of shows in Tampa, a lot of shows in the central Florida area up and down the I-4 corridor, a lot of big name shows. And I just had to say, I don't have the ability to do...


Margaret (27:17.162)

Then the one I just turned down was Mount Dora. And I was like, I'm doing images at the end of January, and then Mount Dora is always the next weekend. And that's always such a stretch for me because what I make is painting. So if I didn't make a lot of paintings, I can't just make an oil painting. It won't even be dry by Mount Dora. So I was like, inventory-wise, and I was like, you know.


Chain Assembly (27:40.595)

Right.


Margaret (27:43.89)

I don't know why I'm stressed. So instead I started to focus on just quality. So I'm trying not to do.


Chain Assembly (27:49.567)

So when you do a market, do you bring everything you have or do you leave some stuff back?


Margaret (27:54.958)

I, so this year I will be bringing, I'm not bringing the same, I have a couple large paintings that I probably won't be taking, but I had this really unique experience where this last July I took everything I had to Colorado and I sold out just about everything I had except for these three paintings. So that was like, that was like really, that was awesome. That was the like.


Chain Assembly (28:17.639)

Oh wow, wow.


Margaret (28:22.826)

Like I said, that was a show that I couldn't even believe I got into. And it made me realize like, okay, instead of trying to focus on maybe some of the small, like the ones that are local to me, I should aim to maybe try to go for the bigger shows that are outside of Florida. And, you know, if you get any, you get in, otherwise you just donated 50 bucks, you know, your application fee to these, this organization, but it's, it was definitely worth my time. And at first I thought it was maybe a fluke.


And then I did another one outside of Florida and Tennessee, and that one was really great. I was like, that was one I took a, Lucy came with me to help. And I was like, this turned out to be kind of profitable. So that was, that was nice. You know, that was a nice feeling. And it kind of solidified my, my business. I'm like, Oh, you know what? I'm going to whittle down some of the more regional ones that I've been doing. And maybe.


Chain Assembly (29:06.303)

Mm-hmm.


Margaret (29:21.27)

look at, so I started looking at some of the really big shows and going I'm gonna throw the dice and see if I get in and if I get in great if I don't I'm out 50 bucks.


supporting some organization.


Chain Assembly (29:36.232)

Do you find that your target demographic is different in different regions? Like, for example, you mentioned you do a lot of like college town things here in Florida. You find that there's people interested in buying your work. Do you see like in Tennessee and Colorado, it was the same type of people buying stuff or was it like maybe older people who have like nostalgia for their childhood versus their parents' childhood?


Margaret (29:55.97)

Well...


Margaret (29:59.69)

Gosh, no actually, you know, no, I my demographic is not older people It's actually it's younger Younger than me. So there's I call it a collective nostalgia It's how I describe it is that like A lot of the stuff that I work off of is stuff from the 70s 60s 70s, you know, sometimes it's earlier like 40s and 50s, but it's that


period that's just on the cusp of like analog. You know it's everything was still analog and then you know before digital started to come in. And I feel because everything's digital now, this is how I'm explaining it to myself, like explaining the people who buy my stuff is, it just feels like there's this collective nostalgia for when things were analog. Even though like they couldn't, they don't have a connection to these photographs. So I really have like the person who buys the work goes


I bought it because it's my, you know, reminds me of my family. It'll remind them of something or they feel a connection to it. But like some of the younger people that buy my work, I think it's just like a memory. It's like a nostalgia for something that when it was slower or whatever, you know, it's not things weren't moving as fast. But the from region from region to region, I've only done a couple outside of Florida and two different types of demographic.


Chain Assembly (31:20.425)

So you say...


Margaret (31:29.614)

um, the one area, very wealthy area. So that was a different demographic, but for the most part, I rarely have older people buying my work. Like I don't, I, I'll have people commission me for an older person. That's like, oh, that's, this is going to be a present for grandma. This is going to be a present for my mom or something like that. So if I do a custom piece, um, that's usually the case. Uh, but.


for the most part, like if I just painted something because I wanted to paint something. That's usually people my age or younger by my work. So under 50.


Chain Assembly (32:07.151)

So let's move into a conversation then about commissions. Twiggy wants to ask you a question, it's my dog. So let's move into a conversation about commissions. Looking at your business as a whole, what percentage of income would you say is commission based?


Margaret (32:23.514)

It depends. I think I told you it was about 30%, 35% of my business's commissions. Like, right now, I'm not in any galleries. I sell primarily at these festivals. And the reason I like that is because the people who buy from me are buying directly from the artist. And so I actually get to meet the people and I get to learn about my people who are attracted to my work.


And I get immediate feedback on my work, which can be invaluable. And a lot of times just getting out there with my artwork, even when I don't sell anything, turns into something down the road. But commissioned wise, I...


I probably hand out 500 cards at a festival. And if I hear... I will hear from somebody probably...


Chain Assembly (33:15.211)

Triggi stop.


Margaret (33:22.642)

I don't know. I might hear from somebody a year later. Sometimes I hear from them immediately. Sometimes it'll be that same person sees me again at a festival, at a different festival, same person who picked up a card and they're like, oh, I remember you. I need to contact you. Then they reach back out to me. So, you know, I try not to do too many. Like, I think when I first started, I did a lot more commissions.


because I felt like I needed to sell art. And so it's really easy to say yes, yes to everything. So, you know, hey, can you paint my dog? Yes. You paint my mom? Yes. You know, it was a lot of yeses. And then 20, I think, 2022, where was it? 2023. I can't remember. I think it was 2022 is I had to start saying no.


Chain Assembly (34:01.971)

Hehehehe


Margaret (34:19.286)

because I wasn't enjoying it. Sometimes it can be somewhat, you may get something from someone and you go back and forth on commissions and it's not gelling. It's not gonna be an enjoyable experience. And that's been a really big learn. Like I had one where I did this commission and I wasn't feeling it, like at all. I was like, this is gonna be a stretch.


but it was a good amount of money. So I was like, oh, okay, this is a good chunk of change. And the client, she was very pushy. Like, you know, she would just like, it was morphing into something I really didn't want to paint. And it ended up with me just returning her deposit, which I, you know, I say it's non-refundable, but I'm like, I don't want to work on this. And that was a really strong realization of like,


Oh, that's a good amount of money. I don't want to do this. This is not going to work out well. Like neither of us are going to be happy. Like she was sending me pictures of her. It was a picture in the...


Chain Assembly (35:40.063)

Mm-hmm.


Margaret (35:40.522)

Oh, hey, sorry. And she started sending me like their schoolbook, their school year pictures from the 70s, like I could paint in their faces from these photographs. And I have some skills, but I don't I don't have that kind of skills. I don't I don't do a lot of digital manipulation. I should learn that. And so, yeah. So commissions are, you know, yours, yours were great. Your commissions were great. And they're actually one of my favorites.


Chain Assembly (36:08.174)

Oh.


Margaret (36:08.542)

Because you also had such great photographs, but they were, you know, they were taken with such love and, you know, they were fun. Like you were like, oh, I want them to be on that paper. And that was my jam. So.


Chain Assembly (36:19.839)

Thank you, thank you. It took us at least a year before we could hang them up because one of the dogs passed in between me asking you to paint it and us getting them. And like he wasn't even sick when I asked you to paint them. So it was very fast. And so it just, it took a while before we were ready to hang those up and see all the dogs together on the wall.


Margaret (36:27.838)

Yeah.


Margaret (36:41.858)

Yeah, that is whenever I'm doing pet portraits, there's only been a few yours. And then I was, I gotta tell you, like when you were like, yeah, that dog, because I think I had started, I was almost done with them and they were about ready to ship them to you. And like, yeah, the dog passed. And I was like, I was kind of excited that I was finally painting animals that were not gone. So I feel like a lot of times I'm painting the deceased and I always


Chain Assembly (37:07.648)

Sorry.


Margaret (37:11.802)

I feel bad about that a little bit. Like I just painted this and I really loved it and I'm glad the client loved it. And it was one that was my jam. It was just like, I loved everything about it. It was like from the nineties, this photo. But the two people in the photos both had died. They had passed. It was a painting for his mom. And so I knew it was gonna be emotional with the painting.


That often makes it harder because you're wanting to capture that essence that they feel about the person or the dog or whatever. There's a lot of pressure for doing that. So I'm glad I captured it. And then, you know, I'm sorry that the dog passed, but it was, I liked your project. So I'm glad. I'm glad. I'm sorry they made you cry.


Chain Assembly (37:53.675)

I'm going to go to bed.


Chain Assembly (38:02.719)

Thank you. So in regards to these clients, do you almost always find them at these art fairs and art markets or do you get leads through your website or Facebook or what does it usually happen?


Margaret (38:20.243)

Yeah, no, the only leads I get through my website are scammers. It's the same scam. No, my website is kind of just a landing page. I've had people that have reached out to me who've seen my stuff on Instagram. But the reason that they even made their way to Instagram is because they saw me at a festival or somebody. I had one, and this is why I like doing the festivals.


Chain Assembly (38:24.116)

Hahaha


Margaret (38:46.03)

I'll have people, like I had a gentleman, this was a couple of years ago, who just kind of reached out through email and was like, you know, can you paint this picture of my wife and her dog? Both of them were alive. He's like, it's a birthday present. And you know, he paid me, I deposit, and I'm like, okay, so I get it painted. And I never followed up with him, like, where did you hear about me? I just assumed he probably saw me at a festival and it-


And then this woman was like, you painted this painting for my friend Mike. I gave him your card. I picked it up like a couple of years ago at a festival and I gave it to him. And you know, he reached out to you to do the painting. He loves that painting. And I'm like, that's amazing. You know, like he didn't even see my work in person. It was just like somebody thought enough when they saw my work and was like, I'm gonna pass this on to people I know. I'm gonna take your cards and pass it on. I almost never get anything off of Facebook.


Chain Assembly (39:28.383)

Mm.


Chain Assembly (39:37.931)

Awesome.


Margaret (39:42.926)

I like my Instagram is linked to my Facebook and I keep it there. Like you know, some people who like try to friend me, they're actually just looking for my face. So I leave it open. But my website, I pretty much just have as a landing page, so you can find my about, you can find my CV, you can find, you know, recent artwork that literally comes from Instagram. I've linked my Instagram to my, my website. So if you're looking at the recent pictures, they're going to be the same ones from Instagram.


Chain Assembly (40:00.327)

Mmm.


Margaret (40:13.427)

And that's about it.


Chain Assembly (40:13.631)

So do you have a personal Instagram or just a business Instagram?


Margaret (40:20.238)

I have so many Instagrams. So I have one that is one where I just post, I post photos of my family. So after my parents died, it was pretty hard. So I posted our stories. So that's a weird one that I have.


Chain Assembly (40:22.921)

I'm going to go to bed.


Margaret (40:43.758)

And then I used to post for a lot of different companies. So I would help out like other, like little nonprofits and stuff, and I would help them post. But right now the only one I have is the Marker Baker Art Instagram and Family Remains, which is where I post about our family. Like our, like, you know, my dead family. My mom and my dad, my brother. So.


Chain Assembly (41:09.407)

So I find myself using Instagram less and less as time goes on. And I find myself using TikTok more and more because I try to replicate what I do as a consumer. And as a consumer, I find myself rarely scrolling through Facebook or TikTok anymore, but I scroll through TikTok a lot.


Margaret (41:28.73)

Yeah, I think it's, I don't have TikTok, right? But when I scroll on Instagram, I'm watching TikTok videos. Like it's so dumb, you know, that like, I'm like, yeah, I don't have TikTok, but I wait for the week later and I'm scrolling, you know, I'm still watching the same TikTok creators. I don't do that. I used to try to post, like I think,


Chain Assembly (41:41.054)

Hehehe


Chain Assembly (41:44.874)

it


Margaret (41:56.282)

five years, five or six years ago when I started this, like I was trying to build a following. Like, you know, you feel like you have to build a, like that was a thing. Oh, you have to build a following. Oh, you have to post like, you know, on a schedule. And I even took Instagram classes, which is why I helped out some like small businesses that I knew with their Instagram, their social media, because I'd taken these, these classes. I don't use it on my own. I find every time I do a festival,


Chain Assembly (42:04.282)

Right, yeah.


Margaret (42:25.818)

My Instagram bumps because people follow me from the festival and that's actually been a little bit better than, well a lot better than Instagram. So like I made the mistake of paying for advertising once like a year or two ago from Instagram. That's certain death. Like you pay for, if you paid for advertising and you don't continue to pay for advertising,


just strangle your account. You might as well just give up and start over. And so now my posts, every once in a while, they'll like get seen by more than 8% of my followers.


Margaret (43:11.058)

But most of the time, you know, they're strangling my account. Like I think they were like, oh, you're going to enjoy these couple hundred likes of this, this picture. But that's it. That's it. That's all you get. So now I don't, I don't post on Instagram. I feel like post like when I feel like it, or if I'm doing an event. So I post, I use stories more on Instagram. I've thought about setting up a store, but I just, I haven't done that either.


Chain Assembly (43:30.985)

I know like-


Chain Assembly (43:35.443)

I know in general, I feel like... So thinking about how my wife uses Instagram, we pass by a restaurant that looks interesting. Her first thing she does is look them up on Instagram to see what kind of events are happening, how recently they've posted. That way she'll know how active they are in social settings. And based on that, it makes me think that I should be having a post every time I'm gonna be at a market, every time I'm working on something, I should do that on Instagram. But...


Margaret (43:54.398)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (44:05.151)

The problem is, I don't think anyone who follows me cares. Like, no one wants to see what I'm doing as like an active traveling person. It might make sense for you when you're going to a lot more markets.


Margaret (44:15.514)

Well, no, I don't post about like this is the life of like there. I literally now because I linked my Instagram to my website and it's so because it was so cumbersome to load like photos onto my website of like recent artworks or whatever. So that linking between Instagram and there. So then what I used to do is I used to put post like work in progress.


or like, you know, here's how my studio looks today, like those little snippets of life. I don't do that anymore. I just post finished paintings because I know it's gonna go to my website. And then in my stories, I always make sure to have my upcoming events. It drives me, it irritates me to know, it's like posting that somebody died and you don't put like what they died from because now I'm gonna spend 20 minutes looking up like what did they die from?


So people will post like their event, but they don't say like where the event is or when the event is. And like artists that I follow, and I'm like, I want to go see your artwork. Where are you? And they'll just post like, I'm gonna be at this place. And they don't like put the city or the time or the day. And I'm always irritated. I'm like, why are you being so exclusive? Like, I just wanna, you know, it's an event. So.


I got in the habit of I always post my events. In my stories I'll post like, I am in booth 182 on Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach. You know the weird thing that's happened? People have come to see me and they'll say, I follow you on Instagram and you posted where you were going to be and they show up. They don't buy anything, but they showed up.


Chain Assembly (46:05.867)

Yeah. Mm-hmm.


Margaret (46:06.21)

You know, just to tell me that they were like, oh, I didn't even know about this event, but I saw you posted it and you posted where it was, where your booth was, where it was near, what day in the time of the event. And it was like those silly, stupid things. I was like, oh, yeah, that's really helpful, isn't it, to know where I am. So I do that. I do that religiously in stories, but that's it.


Chain Assembly (46:30.315)

It's good to see that feedback. I honestly don't know how Instagram stories work. I don't think I've ever posted a story. I've shared stories that I've been tagged in, but I'm just, I mean, I'm sure it's easy to figure out. It's...


Margaret (46:43.855)

Well, you do TikTok so you can post your TikToks to stories. That's all they are.


Chain Assembly (46:48.887)

Oh shit, that's a good idea. No!


Margaret (46:51.662)

Yeah, you're just supposed to, but the other is like the reason I, I mean, it's kind of old now. I mean, we're talking about something that was five years ago and I feel like there's always a new social media and there's always a new thing. You know, like, you know, like everybody's moved over to this other thing. And if you're like, I have a Facebook, which really right there tells you that I must be close to 50 because I have a Facebook.


Margaret (47:18.99)

Nobody like my son will not have a Facebook. That's just insane. You know, he won't even have an Instagram, I'm sure in the future. He's 10, he'll not have any of that. It always feels somewhat outdated, like posting to the like any advice that you had from last year is gonna be outdated today. So I just try to keep it current, like you say, cause I do the same thing. I'll find artists that I like and I'll go to see, are you even still active? Are you still alive?


And I'll look at like, okay, he posts once every month or so. And I'm like, okay, still alive, just busy. I try to post once a week, but like those weird things of trying to keep a schedule and answer no, I don't do that anymore, but I do post my stories. And if I actually know that those process videos you were talking about, like, you know, the things like where you're making your art, I feel like those are, unless you're wanting a bunch of artists following you, those are great for stories.


like just giving context. So I know, like I follow people who post their process.


Chain Assembly (48:23.623)

I know that's a huge thing on TikTok. I, for a long time, was doing time-lapse of my watercolors. And then I realized that the videos that do better on TikTok are not time-lapse. It's just like three seconds every 10 minutes of your painting so that it feels like you're not doing it quickly. It's still at the normal rate, but it's just edited down really fast. And that's why I'm doing this.


Margaret (48:47.646)

Oh, and do you cut off right before the end so that the person has to watch it all the way through again? Ha ha ha.


Chain Assembly (48:54.503)

No, no, but like I haven't done that because it's like thinking logistically how I'm gonna do that. Am I gonna record the whole thing as like a two hour watercolor painting and then actually edit it down on the computer? Or do I just like every few seconds pull out the camera and record another three seconds? If I do it all as time lapse it's a lot easier because then I have the thing done at the end. It's just tedious.


Margaret (49:18.778)

Yeah, it is really, isn't it though? Like I've tried, I think when I first started, I did, like, if you scroll my Instagram, if I haven't hidden them, I'll have like a video that I posted of me like painting. And I have like the setup on my phone, you know, all set up in another camera. And I was like, this is not what I wanna do.


Chain Assembly (49:36.468)

Hehehe


Margaret (49:44.262)

I love that experience where you don't know what you don't want until you're actually in it and you're like, oh, I don't want this. And that was one of the, like I've already, I've already spent the money on, you know, this thing that holds my phone, you know, for the tripod and I've already spent the money on the ring lamp and you know, then I do it and I'm like, oh, I don't, I don't want all this. Like I can't, I can't maintain this. And what I also noticed with some of the festival artists is that they don't even, they don't even maintain.


Chain Assembly (49:49.983)

Hahaha


Margaret (50:15.799)

They literally don't have any social media, which always blew my mind. They didn't have any social media because they're not looking to sell their work from social media. They're looking to sell it in person. The show that I did in Denver, that was a huge show. That was the first time I've ever met people who made enough money. They only do four shows a year. That was one of them.


And when they were leaving, they were leaving with a huge chunk of change. I met one woman from Brooklyn and she's like, I...


Chain Assembly (50:45.515)

RRRR


Margaret (50:51.762)

She's like, I only do four shows. This is one of them. And I, this is like, you know, one fourth of my income for the year. Okay. And she's like, I fly in, I rent a van. I bring, you know, bring my artwork. I rent a tent. I set up for the show. It's a three day show. And she's like, that's, and when she left the festivals, she left a lot more money than me. Like there was just people where I'm like, I cannot believe the sales, you know, because there are people, this is their full-time job.


Their full-time job is just doing these festivals around the country. And they are making six figures, easily. I mean, if I ever, if I, I will never get into that Denver show again, but if I ever do, I will bring more artwork. That's definitely one.


Chain Assembly (51:35.411)

But that is the trajectory that you're trying to model yourself after, right? Like that is kind of your ultimate goal is to just be market focused. Or festival focused.


Margaret (51:40.066)

Oh hell yeah. Yeah.


Pretty much these, the festival focused. Like while I physically still can, like it's not a thing, cause you're battling the weather. It can suck. And I've driven home from shows where you don't sell very much and the weather was awful and you're driving with music off and you're just dead eye stare as you're driving home, you know, thinking about your life choices. And then there'll be the time where you like,


Chain Assembly (51:51.199)

Mm-hmm.


Chain Assembly (52:10.905)

Hehehehehehe


Margaret (52:12.898)

Like you said, you go home with 1400 bucks and you're like, hey, that was a really easy day. That was really enjoyable. I enjoy having money in my bank account. Yeah, there's the inconsistency of it, because you don't know how a show is going to go. And actually, as like the pandemic, you don't even know if the show is gonna go off. I had applied in 2020, it was going to be the year that I was supposed to go to Nashville. I had gotten into Madison.


Chain Assembly (52:18.729)

Yeah.


Margaret (52:42.51)

Wisconsin show, which is a really hard one to get into. I got into one in Minnesota. Those were all ones that were going to take place in 2020. They all got cancelled because of COVID and riots. But COVID, everything got cancelled. But I have a show coming up that's over by the beach in New Smyrna. The weather could be awful. It could be cold. If it's cold, there's probably not going to be a lot of people. Or if it's really windy.


they might cancel the show. So like you could be, I could be making, like right now I'm making a bunch of artwork for the next five shows that I have coming up and they're all kind of big shows. So I'm hoping I do well with them. But the reality is it could get closer and that show can get canceled. Or the weather might just be bad, right? So if it's overly hot, people won't come out. You know, I've been at a show where there was flooding.


It's not pleasant. And so yeah, I'm focusing. I am selling my, like putting my, like that's the focus I see from my business. Oops, sorry. For the next, enjoy that. For the next year is festivals. I don't know, you know, cause even if I get sick, it's not, setting up a tent is hard. Hanging, you know, dragging all your artwork. I fill up my car with.


Chain Assembly (53:50.855)

It's okay.


Chain Assembly (54:03.994)

Mm, yeah.


Margaret (54:08.538)

I drive a CV, I fill it up with artwork in my tent, and I set everything up myself, which I'm always proud of myself to do. There's always some guy at the end who's like, oh, you needed some help? And I'm like, no, I got it now. Thank you.


Chain Assembly (54:27.333)

I know what you mean. I've passed out at a market before and luckily it was like 10 minutes from home so my wife came and saved my life. But it was just...


Margaret (54:36.666)

Oh, there, I think there's literally been artists that have died, you know, doing a festival because it's so, it's so hot. But yeah. But like when I.


Chain Assembly (54:40.711)

Wow. Yeah, I believe it. Well, for me, it was just cause I wasn't hungry all day. So I'm like, oh, maybe tomorrow I'll weigh a few pounds less. That'll be fun. Stupid. So I just didn't eat.


Margaret (54:53.894)

Oh yeah, no. I did that where this winter, there's the one down in St. Pete mainsail that's over in Vanoi Park. That one's at the end of the season in Florida, so it's like mid-April, and I'm doing it again this year. But when I do set up, it's usually kind of hot. It's like, it'll get up to 90 degrees and you're setting up at like noon, noon and you have to be out of the park by six. And that one is one where I will stop.


and go sit in my car and crank the AC so that I don't keel over. Because you can feel it too, because you'll start moving really slow. And you're just getting really like, I would just feel like I was getting kind of emotional. Like it was, you know, you feel like you're going to cry because you know, I'm putting the tent up and like, oh, you know, and I'm like, this is so hard. And I'm like, why am I emotional? And it's like, oh, because you need to go get some water and you need to cool down.


So those are ones where like sometimes it's set up. It might take me three or four hours to set up just because I have to go sit and cool off before continuing on. So, yeah.


Chain Assembly (55:59.723)

So with that in mind, let's talk about your new studio. Is this kind of be like, do you see this as a potential as like selling art on your own terms? Like people come to you as a destination and you get to set up the whole environment yourself or is it just for you to do work privately?


Margaret (56:14.502)

Well, well, it's so that's my dream is like so when I found it, so where I used to, I guess I still do, I volunteered for this, the Lake Mary Museum, which is a little historical museum in Lake Mary. And there is this old section of Lake Mary. Most people don't realize it even exists. And it's, you know, like all these little buildings from the 60s and the 50s in this area.


So I was volunteering at the Lake Mary Museum and I happened to see this like for rent sign, just like one of those handwritten for rent signs outside of the building, like office for rent. And I called it and really nice friendly woman, but it was this, it's 500 square feet. It's in a nice area. Like I considered the nice area is quiet. And it was just the right size for myself and my partner. My partner, he has his day job, but he likes to


help out with the playwrights roundtable and to put on shows for the Fringe, the Fringe Festival here. And so, and he writes his own work. So he had been looking for an office. That's the whole reason I started by looking for when I saw this office space and I thought of him. And then when she was like, it's 500 square feet. I was like, oh, we could, maybe we can split it down the middle. I know it's really big. I know I'm really proud of myself. Anyway, we could split it down the middle.


Chain Assembly (57:16.378)

Oh cool.


Chain Assembly (57:31.248)

It's pretty big for an art studio, yeah.


Margaret (57:38.934)

And that's kind of what we did for the first year. And then this year, I've kind of just, my artwork is just kind of taken over. My thoughts on it, it's big enough that I like, I need to paint it, paint the walls and put in like a hanging system. And that was my thought. It was like, this is a potential of, you know, having open studio.


I could have open studios or I could have like a little group show or if another artist wants to use the space as an open, you know, a weekend art show to sell their work or even subletting out part of the space to other artists for as a workspace. Because I was used to work out of my kitchen. I took over like the kitchen nook area of our kitchen.


And that was kind of a pain in the ass because I'd have to move everything. Like anytime anybody wanted to access the garage, which seemed like as soon as I pushed out my easel and got everything in position, that's when somebody had to get to the recycle bins and like, yeah, and you don't have to push everything back in. And now it's kind of nice. Like I left today to go get my kid. So like I dropped my kid off at school. I go to this. It's convenient. I drive to the, it's nice. I call it going to the office. I go to the office.


and I work until I have to go get the kid. And it's that piece that I think I was missing of getting out of the house because it's really convenient when you're home. And I might be the only one, I'm sure, where I will go make lunch and then I'm like, I'll just watch one episode. And then like, oh, it's time to go get the kid. But I'm still watching episodes. So now I actually work a lot more.


Chain Assembly (59:16.436)

Hehehehe


Margaret (59:23.922)

and our house doesn't smell like linseed oil. Like when I walk in, it doesn't smell like, you know, there's an oil painting in your face when you walk in. That's been really pleasant. So I hope it continues. I hope I can continue to afford the place, but I would like to turn it into a gallery. I'd like to be able to turn it into an open studios. It's just, you can only do so much. Like you only have so much time.


Chain Assembly (59:50.411)

Does Lake Mary have an arts area or like an art walk?


Margaret (59:55.906)

Um, where I am, so the reason I started volunteering at the Lake Mary Museum is because they have their local artist exhibit. So they invite, you know, they invite people to apply. It's local artists. And that's how I got involved with the Lake Mary Museum because they had a little group show for local artists. And I did the group show and it's just a quaint little place. It's like a...


small building, but they had, they used to have an art festival and I guess they still do. It's just, it's not the same as it was. It's more of a kind of a buy sell type thing. It's not, it's not as prestigious as it once was, but through the Lake Mayor Museum we've have the local art exhibit and then we also do a paint out, like a little like sketch paint out one day thing in the


So like where I am, I'm really close to a park. And then like, what's really interesting is like that area has started to get built up a little bit where like we had the brewery, we had like, you know, Citrus City Craft Brewery moved in. And then there's been some like gastropubs that have opened up. And then I just discovered this, there's this like gourmet donut place that's like a block and a half from my studio, which is not good. But they're so, they're so,


Chain Assembly (01:01:23.226)

Yeah


Margaret (01:01:24.814)

There's the good thing, I met the guy, but they're so exclusive that they sell out almost immediately. So like the couple times I've shown up there, they've been out of donuts. It's a good thing, but it's starting to get that little bit of like interest. And you know, some interesting stuff's happening in Lake Mary, so I hope to stay for a while.


Chain Assembly (01:01:40.171)

Mm-hmm.


Chain Assembly (01:01:45.507)

Yeah, sounds like you're on the cutting edge of a burgeoning scene there. Does that make you feel like you should buy a property versus rent?


Margaret (01:01:53.027)

I hope so.


Margaret (01:01:59.682)

Oh God, no, oh, buy a space up there. Oh, I would never be able to afford that. That's like, no, that's hugely expensive. Yeah, no, no. Like the, no, no. I feel like the, no, no. Like the cheapest property in that area is probably 500,000, 400,000 is the least expensive home. And then...


Chain Assembly (01:02:03.86)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:02:08.696)

Oh, okay. In my mind, I'm always like, okay, the artists go where it's cheap, then it becomes popular, then the developers take it all over.


Chain Assembly (01:02:22.719)

Okay.


Margaret (01:02:24.87)

Like the office space I'm in is nothing special. It's like a converted garage of this little 60s strip mall. I like it because it has parking. I did have a client come pick up their painting at my studio and it was like a surprise for her husband. And when he showed up, he was like, I wasn't sure if we were coming to pick up our painting or buy weed. So like, it's not that great of an area, but yeah. I was like, yeah, I don't have weed.


Chain Assembly (01:02:49.351)

Hahaha


Margaret (01:02:55.082)

But, yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:02:57.227)

So through all of this, is there any one particular person that you've been maybe consciously or subconsciously modeling your business plan after?


Margaret (01:03:09.258)

Uh, not so when I started like back if you Margaret from 2018. Okay. So if you ever, did you ever give the fringe down there in St. Pete, right? There the fringe festival. It's like a theater festival. Anyway, the one up here has a visual fringe aspect of it so that you could. They have artists and you pretty much anybody who applies, they all go up on the wall.


Chain Assembly (01:03:23.195)

Yeah, I think so. Yeah.


Margaret (01:03:35.338)

and you could volunteer at the Fringe. You could sit at the table with another artist and sell artwork. And so when I did that, like back in 2017, somewhere in there when I was like starting, I would look for artists that I wanted to know, because you'd be sitting next to them at a table for like a couple hours. And so when I looked down the volunteers sheet, I'd see like, oh, okay, Doug Bringle, you know, like I wanna know this guy, or like Chris Carr, I wanna know this guy. And I would...


sit next to him. And so the one guy that I got the most amount of information was from this photographer. If you've seen his work, Chris Carr. He does puddle reflections, I think is his trademark. He does a lot of festivals. And he literally gave me the most, like I picked his brain. Like we sat at that table and I think I must have just, because I was like, oh, I have somebody who is one.


Chain Assembly (01:04:26.944)

Hehe.


Margaret (01:04:32.914)

was selling his artwork. Like he was literally selling it but totally different. He's doing different festivals than I would do. Doing different things that I would do because he's a photographer and I'm a painter. But just some of those like practical things like if you do festivals it's like buying a home. You're not going to have it all but it's really nice to get like some of the like where did you get your walls for your tent? Where do you buy those?


What kind of tent weights do you have? You know, what kind of fan do you have? Like what's something, you know, what's a wall covering that you got? Or how do you transport your stuff? Or like, what's it like when you set it up? So I didn't model, but I got so much information from him. And he's, if you go to his Instagram, or he used to have like on his website, yeah, Chris Carr Photography, he actually put out like a...


Chain Assembly (01:05:07.607)

hehe


Chain Assembly (01:05:25.107)

I'm on this website right now. Yeah.


Margaret (01:05:31.074)

information about doing festivals, like as beginning artists doing festivals. So that was really helpful. So I don't know if I modeled it. Now, I pretty much every time, like I loved, when I did like first real festival, like what I consider a real festival, my favorite part was meeting the people. Like it was like meeting your tribe.


Most of the artists are really cool people. I'm not their target audience. I'm not Chris's target audience. I'm not his target audience. He's not my target audience. But I love meeting the other artists and getting tips and information. It's nice to meet somebody who's like, I made this crazy left-hand turn just like you.


I decided to go this way, this is insane, I travel all over the country or I do these shows and I never know how they're going to be and I put myself out there and I make stuff and put myself out there. Like meeting you. You know, you make stuff, you put yourself out there. That's really, that's what, actually, sometimes that can make a show, especially if it's a really bad show. Like it's a show where...


Chain Assembly (01:06:44.915)

Yeah.


Margaret (01:06:56.142)

it's like, you're like, oh my god, this show is so dead. It's nice to be able to walk around and meet other artists. You know.


Chain Assembly (01:07:02.691)

Yeah, I've been in those situations where you're like, I'm coming home with 20 bucks, but I still had a good time somehow.


Margaret (01:07:10.362)

Yeah, usually something comes from it. I've never, I think only once have I, and most of the time you're like, I guess you can lie to yourself. Maybe I do lie to myself, but I think I've only had one really bad show where I was like, well, that was a learning experience. You know? Like, I know what to avoid in the future. And I've been really lucky that I've only had maybe two that were like that where I'm like, oh.


Chain Assembly (01:07:29.422)

Hehehehe


Margaret (01:07:39.742)

Never again, never again. These were my warning signs. I'm not the artist for a show that has their open date all the way up to almost the date of the show. So that was the thing that I realized, applying to a show whose deadline for the application is like one week before the show, I'm not their target artist. My work isn't gonna sell there.


Margaret (01:08:09.634)

no shade or anything on any of the artists I do. It's just my artwork's not gonna work there.


Chain Assembly (01:08:09.843)

Admit it's the-


Chain Assembly (01:08:14.503)

I've noticed there's also been a big increase in people scamming on Facebook, pretending to be the organizer and saying, oh, just send me your money and I'll make sure I get you in. I've seen that happen a lot lately. So, yeah.


Margaret (01:08:25.23)

Yeah. I imagine. I don't do markets so much. Like I imagine that's got to be a lot of the markets because the markets are like you're doing them weak. Those are the ones that I don't do a lot of markets because that's not my, that's not where my target audience lives. Because like the things that I'm selling are, you know, it's the people are going to spend $40.


Chain Assembly (01:08:31.45)

Mm, all right.


Margaret (01:08:53.922)

you know, like if most of the stuff's 40 and I'm bringing out my, my $1,200 painting, um, my $1,200 painting, it's not going to sell unless I get really, unless I get really lucky. And that was, that was the shows that I realized that didn't work. And, um, like I was at one where I was next to a lady selling orchids and I was like, and I saw her setting up and I was like, this isn't good because all weekend,


Chain Assembly (01:09:01.768)

Right, right.


Margaret (01:09:22.262)

all you saw was those, you know, $30 orchids walking past my tent and all the other artists that were there were watching it too. And you know, we're all looking at our print bins, you know, like I'm selling my prints for 25 bucks. I can't compete with the orchid lady. Like most of the time you're not competing with artists. Like if I do an arts festival, I'm not competing with anybody. There's nobody I'm competing with. But when you have somebody who's like,


selling stuff for 40 bucks and you're selling stuff for two, you're, you are kind of, you know, there's like, okay, there's no competition going to go happen here. Like I'm going to see your stuff all weekend selling and nobody's going to be buying mine. So like if you're ever in that situation where you have like, I don't know, it gets hard. I imagine it's the reverse too. Like if you had to, you know, if you're selling for that and you're between people who are selling high dollar stuff, it's never, that's not, that's not a great situation either. So.


Chain Assembly (01:10:20.295)

Well, speaking of being between people selling high price items, that's a terrible segue. Coming up next, you're going to be at the Gasparilla Art Festival first week of March. And then you're doing Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival mid-March. And then main sale coming up in April. That one's in St. Petersburg.


Margaret (01:10:33.469)

Mm-hmm.


Margaret (01:10:38.994)

Yep. Yay. Yeah, I still can't.


Chain Assembly (01:10:41.575)

Yeah, I feel like I put too many S's in Saints Petersburgs. But yeah, so tell me about those three events. What are you looking forward to? What are you expecting? Which ones have you done in the past? Or all of them, I guess.


Margaret (01:10:46.366)

Same to you.


Margaret (01:10:52.634)

Oh, I've done mainsail. I've never done Gasparilla and I've never done Winter Park sidewalk. So I never applied to Winter Park sidewalk festival before. I live near Winter Park. I do the Winter Park Autumn Festival, which is done by a totally different organization, same area. And to be honest, I psyched myself out. I never applied to Winter Park sidewalk art festival because I know it was really prestigious. I knew that it was really hard to get into.


Chain Assembly (01:10:56.572)

Okay.


Margaret (01:11:22.102)

and they don't, I think they only take like 10 or 15% Florida artists. So the one that, yeah, so the one that happens in the fall is put on by the Chamber of Commerce and they only take Florida artists. And the one that's put on in the spring is an arts organization and they, they're running all over national artists. So it's, it is really hard to get into.


Chain Assembly (01:11:27.592)

Oh wow.


Chain Assembly (01:11:45.359)

That's interesting. So I guess they're kind of presenting it as like they're curating this for the customer So I guess that makes it feel more gallery ish in that regard


Margaret (01:11:52.506)

Right, right.


Margaret (01:11:56.698)

It very much so. So the shows that I've applied to do have a gallery-ishness to them. Like Gasparilla is a big, that's also a really hard festival to get into. It's also very prestigious. It's also one that I never applied to before this last year. And mostly because I forgot. That's one where like the application was like eight months ago. So if you're not paying attention, some of these applications can...


slip by and then you're like, oh, now I don't have anything in March. But the Winter Park one, I was over the moon. Same thing with Gasparilla. I got those two acceptances and I was like, it's like winning the lottery. You know, like I haven't sold anything. I have no expectations, but it's like, you accepted me. You know, it's, it's what people don't realize when they're walking these festivals. It's like people were juried in.


So when you're walking around Mainsail, you're walking around Gasparilla, just know that all of those artists were juried in. So they had to present their artwork in their booth. They might have even written their artist statement and that they were in a, so there will be like 200 artists, but there were probably 1800 that applied nationally, some of them internationally.


that applied. And so there's a lot of competition for those shows. But the reason there's a lot of competition for those shows is because they're really high ranked shows. So usually there are people who literally travel to only the... It's kind of like going to Art Basel, it's not at that level, but it's that same idea, right? So people are paying to be there. They were juried into those spaces for the potential of...


those art buyers who literally only come to that show.


Chain Assembly (01:13:53.619)

Well, congratulations on that. I'm excited about the future of Margaret Baker's art. And I'm also excited that I get to have some originals. And if any of the listeners wanna see some of your art, they can visit you at Margaret Baker art, sorry, margaretbaker.art, and you're on Instagram and Facebook as at Margaret Baker art. Yep, all right, well, thank you so much for talking to me. It was a wonderful conversation. I feel like we could have gone on for another hour.


Margaret (01:13:59.643)

I


Margaret (01:14:10.908)

Yes.


Margaret (01:14:14.522)

Yep, that's it. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:14:21.323)

I had to edit down the questions I had, but you were wonderful. So thank you again so much.


Margaret (01:14:21.595)

Yeah.


Margaret (01:14:25.718)

All right. Well, thank you. Thank you so much. It's good to see you again. All right.


Chain Assembly (01:14:29.695)

Good to see you.



Outro

Chain Assembly: Art for profit sake is recorded through Riverside FM, distributed through Spotify for podcasters, and edited on Adobe Audition. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you learned anything useful or found this podcast helpful, please rate and review us five stars. If you want to learn more about me or my art, head over to ChainAssembly.com.

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