The First of Many

On the early morning of Monday, February 9, 2015, I said my goodbyes, got into my truck and drove my camper out of the parking lot for what would be an 8-month road trip.

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02_09Beginning

I was filled with excitement. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I don’t know if it will ever sink in that we were able to make this camper possible. Looking around me and having it settle in, I drove through the streets of Philly to begin my adventure.

I made one pit-stop along the way in North Carolina. It was a Walmart parking lot and a perfect place to get some rest. To think that if this was only two months ago, I would have had to spend hundreds of dollars for a hotel room or have had to bare the cold and sleep in my car. I can’t thank you all enough again.

The first night was a learning experience. I had to figure out how to get comfortable, how to turn things on, how to work my heat/AC… thankfully I was able to manage it all. I sat still and stared at the ceiling, thinking about how far I’ve come. I’m so grateful for everyone’s help. I would be lost without it. I could feel myself cracking a smile as I got myself comfortable for my first night’s rest.

After a total of 22 hours, I made it to Florida. The sun was beaming and I was so happy to make it when I did. (I heard Philly wasn’t as fortunate with its crazy winter coldness!) I first decided to go to the city of Okeechobee. Such a fun name to pronounce!

When you’re in a certain environment for a long time, you feel so inspired by different sights even if you’ve seen them before. The nature out here was beautiful. I found a bike path and decided to take a ride down it. The view was amazing. The wind moved through the grass and I breathed it all in. Like the blades of green, I travel where the world leads me. As an artist, I flow with the ideas that come to me from inspiration wherever I may find it. The lines of my work fall as my wrist lightly pulls away from my canvas.

02_12OkeechobeeBikeRide

I saw amazing creatures in Okeechobee. First were the pelicans hanging near the friendly local fishermen.  I gathered near and spoke to the men. They told me how the pelicans have had to change their ways of eating. They used to be able to swim freely and fish for themselves. Now with changes in the environment with pollution and water levels, plus the growing population of alligators, pelicans had to adapt. They try to swim near the edges of the water as much as they can without predators attacking, but it remains a challenge for them.

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02_12OkeechobeeGator

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Fascinating what techniques animals use to adapt to our ever-changing environment. I watched the pelicans for a long time and thought, “Am I becoming a bird lady?” If I am, it’s all for good reason.

I continued my sight-seeing for a little longer and then decided it was time to set up at the campsite.

02_12OkeechobeeCow

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02_12OkeechobeeCampsite

Yes, I had the smallest camper there. I was next to huge RV trucks and people who were professionals at reversing into tiny spaces. I felt so inexperienced (because truth be told, I am!), but everyone was really welcoming as they always tend to be down here in Florida.

The next day, it was time to get down to business! I had to prepare my prints and drawings, cut more matte, organize my tent, everything! My first fair was in less than two days and I had a lot of work that needed to be done. When the day came, I was somehow able to have everything set in time.

The 2015 ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival was held on February 14 in Jupiter, FL. In 2014, it was voted the Best Art Fair by Art Fair Calendar, so I had high hopes for how this would be and lots of interest in checking out some of the other artists at the event.

One artist at the ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival was a dear friend of mine, Jason Brueck. From his Alter Images, Jason creates prints, posters and t-shirts of his incredible modern art. It was so nice to see a familiar face. Here are a few samples of his work. Please make sure to visit his website to check out more of his pieces here: http://alterimages.net/

http://alterimages.net/

“Ride Em Cowboy” by Alter Images

http://alterimages.net/

“The Right Stuff” by Alter Images

http://alterimages.net/

“Catbird Seat” by Alter Images

The festival was a big success. I think with the combination of Valentine’s Day weekend, Presidents’ Day weekend and the reputable name it turned out to be a great start to my trip.

02_14ArtiGrasBooth

Now that the first fair is over, I have driven to Tampa, FL to visit a few old friends. (Everyone is really anxious to see my Scamp trailer!) My next event is the Scottsdale Arts Festival in Scottsdale, AZ and I can’t wait to share more of my adventures with you. Wish me luck!

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To share the experience more, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@aalexandrin) and cheer me on with the hashtag #GoAnastasiaGO!

  • February 14-16: Artigras, FL ~ Done!
  • March 14-15: Scottsdale, AZ ~ Next up!
  • March 27-29: Tempe, AZ
  • April 3-5: Deep Ellum, TX
  • April 9-12: Dogwood, GA
  • April 18-19: Fiesta, TX
  • April 25-26: Inmann/Atlanta, GA
  • May 2-3: Bethesda, MD/DC
  • June 6-7: (Rittenhouse Square) Philadelphia, PA
  • June 20-21: Manayunk, PA
  • July 24-26: Seattle, WA ~ New!
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February in Florida

Since my last post, I have participated in the Boca Raton Museum of Art 28th Outdoor Juried Art Festival and the Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival. What different experiences than what I’m used to in Philly!

I left around 4 a.m. the night before Boca Raton began to set up and camp out for the festival the next day. I probably should have expected it, but there were so many bugs! With the humid weather they were everywhere and I wasn’t prepared at all. All of the participants were worried about the chance of rain predicted, and we prayed to the art gods for it to not as we set up our tents.

Boca Raton Tent
Boca Raton Tent 2

It’s difficult to narrow down my audience. It seems that my art appeals to people in the 18-50 year-old range, which makes it challenging with traveling because I’m not sure if the younger crowd that likes my work resides in one area versus another. In Florida, I’m aware of the demographics. People come here when they want to retire and enjoy the beautiful weather (hey, who can blame them?)

Beautiful Florida Weather

Boca Raton wasn’t what I expected unfortunately, and it made me worried about the art fairs to come. As an artist, it’s all trial and error. There’s never a set practice that will be stable to do. There’s always different competition, different atmospheres and different customers. This isn’t an easy career, but even with hard challenges, I’m always sure that this is what I’m meant to be.

During the week, I’m still cutting matte unfortunately. The house is empty a lot of the times, but it makes it a lot easier for me to work on the 93082403820 things I have to do. The next weekend was Dunedin, and I had hope that this would be a better turn out than Boca Raton. To my joy, it was.

Dunedin Tent

It was a bit windy and I struggled holding a few things down, but with some help from other vendors and friendly advice, I managed to “hold down the fort!”

Dunedin Tent 2

I met amazing people during the Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival. It feels so great when people tell me that my work inspires them. The ultimate goal of my work is to do just that: to inspire people. I want it to speak to them in a way they’ve never been spoken to before. I want people to follow their passions just as I do, because we only have one life to live and time is precious.

Along with some of the fantastic people I’ve met, I ran into something that I thought was the most peculiar thing…

Dog in Stroller FL

Maybe it’s a Florida thing to put your dog in a stroller? They were treated as if they were people. Better than animal cruelty I guess!

Dog in Stroller 2 FL

I wonder if people do this in other parts of the world. Or maybe it happens in Philly and I just haven’t encountered it at all. I’m thinking about starting some kind of photo collection of dogs in strollers. Just something to keep me amused and to document my time here!

Next is the Las Olas Art Fair (Part II). February has flown by so quickly. (Don’t forget to follow my adventures via Twitter @aalexandrin and use the hashtag ‘#ArtinFL’ to send me any advice or best wishes!) I’m kind of glad it has because I miss my cat, Mr. Grey so much! Maybe I should get a stroller to put him in.

Mr. Grey

And of course I miss my love, who sent me these beautiful flowers on Valentine’s Day.

Adam VDay Flowers

Before I end this post, I want to bring up all of the controversy in Ukraine. As a native-born Ukrainian, seeing a woman speak out like this says so much. I wish the best to everyone there and hope it all settles peacefully. Please click the photo or the link below to watch this woman get her brave words out in the middle of a riot.

I-Am-Ukrainian-Protest-Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvds2AIiWLA