We recently had a booth set up at the National Space Symposium. We are usually the only artists that have a booth - the anomaly. We do a lot of work for the Space Foundation, which runs the symposium, including moving the large sculpture that goes on display for this symposium, so we have an exhibit in the hall during the week while we're taking care of their big glass sculpture.
So we set up our booth. As you can see, we have big space art (or SF art perhaps) on the back panel. We also have space art on the front of the display cabinet. We have a large solar system mobile hanging from the sky. We have some of our awards displayed - Lifetime Achievement for both Space Foundation, and the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. The back table has our portfolio with 48 images of space art, and of course, the huge back panel says ART on it.
Why is it then, and it never fails, that we get people coming through the exhibit hall, they stop, give us a confounded look and then ask one of two questions:
1. "What do you do?" --- Uhhh..... can you read the 18 inch tall letters on this panel here? ART? It has taken me numerous years to come up with some sort of answer that doesn't beg to have " , bonehead" attached to the end of it. So I detail out what we do - "Illustration, Spaceflight Mission artwork, Concept art, and also Glass Sculptures large for corporate lobbies, but also smaller for gifts, and awards."
This will prompt the second question: (sometimes, they skip the first and go directly to the second):
2. "What does this have to do with Space?" wow... ummm and again, the "bonehead" word leaps into my mind as I look around the booth at EVERYTHING being Space related. This year, I came up with this response. Tell me what you think.
"For all the companies here, not every one of them will need a rocket, but every single one will need artwork. That's what we have to do with Space. We provide the artwork that these companies need." (" , bonehead.")
Is it just me? Am I in an alternate universe? Can people really not make the leap that other types of businesses can be involved in what their own focus is? Is that it? They are just so narrowly focused on their own little piece of the space industry that they can't widen their scope for even an instant?
We get these questions multiple times every day of the conference, every year. I should say I expect it now, but each time it happens, it still stuns me and I have to pick my chin up off the table before I can answer. What would you say? Do these questions make sense to begin with? Am I too narrowly focused on my own? Are they clueless, or is it just me?