The Portland Pancakes Booze Art Show was held last night at the Hawthorne Theatre, and I was one of the presenting artists. It was my first time showing with this production, so I had no idea what to expect. The Pancakes & Booze is a traveling show with shows each month in cities across the country, the premise seemed very Portland-centric, so I decided to join in on the fun.
This is an non-juried show. Each artist pays $15 per piece of art hung on the provided panels, with a minimum of three pieces per artist. There is no commission. All sales are handled directly between patron and artist. Additional prints and originals can be made available in a box/display under your hanging work.
The afternoon prior to the event, you check in, hang your art, arrange your display, and then come back for the show. During the show, you mingle with patrons, drink libations, dance to the DJ’s beats (check out this remix from Dariio), and eat the occasional pancake. The pancakes were made in a separate room, and I didn’t partake, but I saw many pancake plates make their way through the gallery. The smell of maple syrup permeating the air. At the end of the night, you pack up your remaining items and head home.
Because I didn’t know what to expect – what the layout was, who the other artists were, what else was going to be shown, what the demographic of the audience was going to turn out to be – I decided to show pieces that I already had ready, instead of make net-new. I have also been heads down with the Dirty Little Secrets Art Gallery, and producing pieces for my upcoming show at Club Privata in May*, that I didn’t feel like I had enough bandwidth to create a new set of images for this show.
I went all out, though. Not only did I hang my latest pieces from the Seattle Erotic Art Festival Seduction party, and past juried selections from the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, I brought with me the entirety of stock of prints and originals I’ve kept from years of comic cons and other shows; some work dating back to 2012. I looked at it as a sort of litmus test for a new audience and their response to what I had to offer as an artist.
Though I had seen erotic images online from Pancakes & Booze shows in other cities, my display was the only erotic display last night. That being said, it was very well received. SO MANY people walked directly up to my art and stood for a long time, taking in what they saw. They walked away to grab their friends and partners and show them my art. They returned over and over to flip through the prints and originals in the box set below. There were smiles and nods and giggles and lots of pointing. Comments ranged from “that’s beautiful”, to “your art is really sexy”, to “you have inspired me to get pinup portraits done for my wedding anniversary”. The most interesting comment was made by a woman viewing my art with her partner. When I said “Let me know if you have any questions about the art.”, she did a double take on me, asked if I was the artist, and then said she thought that a man would have created this art. Her partner then showed her the “Boot worship” piece and said, “Really?”. She blushed and they left, but they also came back to look many more times after that.
I only made a handful of sales last night: two original watercolors and a few “Pussy Power” stickers. The watercolors were pinup/burlesque-focused and the women that bought them identified with the subject. Though many admired the more erotic pieces, none of those moved. Moving forward, if/when I do the Pancakes & Booze art show again, I will leave the more erotic items for the print/original bin and hang more burlesque/pinup images. I will also focus on creating more curvy body types.
Will I be back again? I think I will. Though it took a LOT of energy for me to enter that space alone as an unknown artist, I left feeling part of the Portland artist community. My art held its own, many of the artists felt exactly how I did, and we all formed a solidarity because of it. Putting your art out there for all the world to see isn’t easy, but it makes it a slight bit easier when you are among other artists doing the same.
Thank you to the Pancakes & Booze Art Show team for producing a great show, and thank you to the Hawthorne Theater for providing such a great space.
Check out the photo from @empwo of the art show in full swing: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bhi3cJaljw1/?hl=en&taken-by=empwo
*more on the DLS Gallery and the Club Privata show to come in future posts