Hey there Blog Pals! Look what I just found, a post I had written a month or so before Surtex.
Normally I would say something shiny must have caught my eye to draw my attention from this and cause me to forget it, but in the month leading up to the show, it doesn't even take shiny objects. Could have been anything. Piece of dust, a hiccup, a loose eyelash, who knows.
Anyway, here you go, a couple months later:
I've been traveling to New York for the Surtex show every May since 2000. So long now that many of my family and friends have stopped calling it Zyrtec or Syntax or Snorkel or Merkin, and actually remember, and can say, its correct name. Not all, but many.
As my annual pilgrimage Eastward looms nearer, I am reminded of some of my favorite little moments from past shows. Not the kind I usually share with you here on my blog, but those odd little private moments that most likely, only I appreciate.
Just last year, this memory is still quite fresh: I found my Happy Place, for about 3 minutes until I was called back to my booth.
I cannot disclose the ultra-top-secret super-hidey don't-even-try-to-find-it location, but oh my word that was an amazing bagel.
Or there was this pearl from 2006. Next to my booth was an alcove left empty for the fire-extinguisher. At some point during the show, a folding chair appeared. This particular day was bustling and noisy, but this gentleman managed to sleep rather soundly in the hard little chair for about 45 minutes.
You get extra points for today if you remember my little friend Ibbs. He is actually a useful and practical Bucky neck-pillow that I take with me on airplanes. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
But that face, gosh how it makes me smile when I get back to the room after a long flight, or even longer day at the show. I just can't help it.
And speaking of long days, the following is still in the running as one of the longest in my entire life:
3 or 4 years ago, on set-up day.
Sloshed through the streets with a hand-truck in some kind of crazy out-of-nowhere monsoon, after finding out the main Manhattan FedEx office where I'd shipped my displays had recently moved from its convenient location across the street from Javits Center to 11 blocks north.
Crossing streets that were literally underwater. Actual rivers with cars driving through them.
Soaked to the bone (you should have seen the looks on their faces when I splashed through the door of the FedEx office like a soggy dish-rag).
Dried off some during the long hours that followed, setting up my booth.
Exhausted and starving at the end of the day, I could not decide which desperate urge was stronger, so I multitasked.
I am not sure I have ever had a more satisfying slice or a more comforting, refreshing bath.
This time of year, the old Interwebs is bursting at the seams with Surtex advice: new exhibitors looking for it, and seasoned ones giving it.
Although he may not appreciate me sharing this here on my blog (but here I go anyway) I believe Husband-Guy has the all-time-best-bottom-line-Surtex-advice-ever.
A few years ago, it was that usual last-day-afternoon-lull after what had been a very busy show for us. We finally had a moment to breathe, and he left the booth to walk around and take a peek at the rest of the hall for the first time. When he came back, he said, "I have 2 pieces of important advice for anyone exhibiting at Surtex: 1. Always have a smile on your face, I don't care how miserable you feel, and 2. Never, ever sit in your booth like you're sitting on the toilet."
Since then, I have been too often reminded when walking the aisles exactly what he was talking about. It's impossible to never be caught off-guard while "on-display" at a trade-show. You can't get lipstick off your teeth without making a horrible face. People yawn. Heads itch. Clothing scoots out-of-whack and requires adjustment. All this happens under those bright lights in a 10' cube, we've all had that sheepish look on our face at one time or another when we realize it's happening.
On busy days with no time for an actual lunch-break, I've been approached more than once having just stolen a bite of something big, chewy, messy, or God-forbid all those things at once, from behind my booth-table. Actually, doing so pretty much guarantees that the incredibly important person (or group of people) you've been dying to meet with will pop in at that exact moment.
And many will falter, just for a second: you take a deep breath, lower your head, rest your elbows on your maybe-too-widely spread-apart knees, and forget where you are, even if just for a split-second. You may not notice in your periphery that someone is passing your booth, and if you could see the look on their face you would be painfully aware that it says,"ew, that guy looks like he's sitting on a toilet." and you can be sure that they do not want to see what fabulous art you are showing on your now might-as-well-be bathroom walls, they are going to dart away quickly, trying their hardest to erase that image from their brain forever and ever.
The highs at Surtex, or any show, are supercrazyhigh. The absolute exhileration of making deals, brainstorming projects and collections, compliments flying every which way - the excitement is amazing. This is why we pay the big bucks, it's what we've been leading up to all year. There's nothing like it. But between those highs are moments that can feel endless and tortuous in comparison. For those of you new to the show: be prepared with incredible endurance, patience, and thick skin that you never imagined necessary. Really, you'll need it. I don't care who you are, you will.
But don't forget to enjoy those moments, those odd little private moments that most likely, only you will appreciate.
Don't forget those during this busy preparation time, either. Stop and breathe. Take a walk. Smell the flowers. Listen to music you love. Light a calming candle. But if you do, never, ever, ever, EVER do this:
(yes, you're really seeing that).
And that, my friends, is the single best piece of advice I can ever give you: "don't set your art on fire" (unless, of course, you are a conceptual artist and fire is part of the piece itself and you have all safety issues under complete control - other than that, don't do it).