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IFAM 2016 experiences at Booth #554

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IFAM 2016 experiences at Booth #554

I wanted to write a little about the 2016 IFAM event that was held in August 18-20 19 at the Santa Fe Railyard in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Just behind the IFAM main stage, about 15 other artist shared the large tent which myself and my helper (Fenessa) would be located. I was assigned booth 554 a little 10'x10' booth along the east side of the tent. The morning started off bright a early around 5:45 a.m. at a nearby RV park where we set up our 2016 IFAM  base camp. We had packed our truck with my paintings and panels the night before because we didn't want to make too much noise in the morning.

Day 1


We arrived at the Santa Fe Railyard around 6:00 a.m. for our scheduled unload time. I was so excited I didn't know what to except from the day. I checked in and got my badge and began to walk toward the area where I assumed my booth would be. To my surprise the booth numbers weren't hung yet and it would be another hour before the organizers identified my assigned booth space. I can't blame them (IFAM) for being a little late with identifying booth spaces because it had rained the night before and the pieces of paper they were using to indicate booth spaces would have ripped off during the night. Several other artists were eagerly awaiting their booth assignments as well. This was a good opportunity to network with a few of the artist who were a mixture of new and old. 

After my space was identified, we started to bring in our homemade panels we made out of 2x2 and horse fencing. We secured them using metal rings fasteners and had the panels up within 30mins. After the panels were erected we began to unwrap my paintings and hung them accordingly based off our mock display that we did a week earlier. The paintings fit perfectly and the booth set was completed around 9:30 a.m. With 30 mins to go before IFAM 2016 officially opened I went to have my usual coffee break.

The morning roles by so fast. There was a steady flow of people walking IFAM. I took several opportunities to visit other booths to network because I figured today might be a little slow as far as visitors. Through out the day I had made contact with potential collectors and museum owners. What I really liked about the day was all the feed back I was getting about my art. I loved how each individual person liked different pieces and as we neared the end of the day i looked on to tomorrow with optimism.

Day 2

We started our day a couple hours later because we didn't have to deal with the set-up of the panel. The only thing we took down were my paintings which only took about a hour to hang. Once the day started we had many people coming in the booth and ask a lot of questions about my art. I enjoyed talking about the piece and it reminded me the different times in my life and the different feels and events I was going through at those times.

I had meet and lady name Elizabeth the day before and we had a good conversation about Gallup and art and around 11:00 a.m., on day 2, she came back to my booth with the same excitement she brought the day before. We talked again and she told me how she had visited my website and was admiring the paintings I had posted online.

"I just had to come back because during my first visit I had missed a couple paintings and I wanted to see them," she said. "I want to purchase one I just don't which one."

After some time discussing the background behind the pieces she finally decided to purchase a piece entitled "Navajo Man, Women, and Child". She said it was probably the Veteran inside of her that made her feel a connection to the piece. I'm glad that piece has found a home and I hope piece makes its owners feel the connection they have with it for years to come. I know that piece, as an artist, was a piece where I tried to create it as a piece driven by emotion.

Through out, day 2, we sold a couple more "I Pledge Alliagence to the Achii" prints and things were looking on the up and up. That was all about to change when we heard a rumor that the show was going to be shut down and run only 2 days instead of the 3 days scheduled. Turned out the rumor was true and we were sad to heard straight from the organizers lips that the event was being shut down due to insurance reasons. Truthfully, we were sadden and a little upset but what can you do. We had an awesome second day at IFAM and we were only looking forward to another great day with a great event. 



I can only say that I enjoyed the experience and plan on attending the event again next year.


Christian Bigwater