This was my first exhibiting and selling artwork to such a large
and mixed crowd which is also notoriously known to be unsupportive and unappreciative of the arts.
I had planned to invest in the bazaar a year ago thinking I would have enough time to produce artwork. However, I didn't create anything until a month before the ISNA Convention, and as each day passed I felt regretful for investing $550 in the booth especially since I was unemployed at that time.
Well... July 3rd-July 5th came and went. And, Alhamdullilah, everything went far better than I had ever hoped. I made contacts with organizations such as Islamic Relief, CAIR, MPAC and also everyday people who were interested in future commissions.
Here are a few pictures:
What worked was creating custom artwork on site. I had lots of fun painting for 13 hrs a day (no joke) especially since I'm such a slow (lazy) painter. Speed painting produces a form of adrenaline that I wasn't aware of.
Customers really enjoyed having their names painted in Arabic. This was quick and easy for me as well, and it helped my with my Arabic spelling!
Ok, so did I really do?
I sold 8 paintings that I had already made for the show, and I must have (this is an estimated) painted ~ 18 custom paintings rangings from sizes 5" X 7" to 12" X 24" PHEW!! I not only broke-even, but also made profit! Alhamdullilah. My customers included pregnant moms, newly weds, children, and even college students who wanted to give their friends unique and humorous weddings gifts.
The painting has the young chap's name in Arabic and underneath is written "Bengali Tiger." We tried are best to spell Bengali tiger in Arabic ...was it spelled correctly? Notice the "ra" has tiger spots :)
The best thing about the Bazaar was getting to know my neighbors. My surrounding neighbors and I quickly became a family. We helped each other by providing change/ supplies, watching each other's booths, and exchanging smiles to uplift our weary faces. I became good friends with the 10 y.o daughter of a Islamic clothing vendor from NJ.
So, in conclusion...ISNA was a success, and I couldn't have done it without lots of help from my mom. Alhamdullilah. An acquaintance from ISNA who has quickly became a great friend made the observation that the first painting I sold at the bazaar (also the first paint to be sold in my short art career) was.... BISMILLAH
I pray Allah gives me baraka and guidance in my endeavors and that I don't deviate from the path I want this to take me.