Art Festival

15 Jun

Parking cost five dollars. That irked me, not because it’s an unfair price but because I’m not used to paying for parking. Suburbian children grow up spoiled when it comes to parking- there’s lots of it, and it’s free. I’m a suburbian girl, and when I go into the city now for what I anticipate to be a “free event” I’m learning to be a little less shocked and annoyed when I have to dig for the wallet just to park my car.

All parking annoyances aside, it was a beautiful day. The sun shined bright and clear, the sky dotted with just a few puffy white clouds- weather rarely seen and always enjoyed in the city of Buffalo. The first thing I smelled was fried dough- that delicious smell conjuring up everything quintessential about carnivals- black pavement, rides, crowds. All but the rides were present at the festival. Vendors selling over priced, tantalizing refreshments such as fresh squeezed lemonade, snow cones, Italian sausages, french fries- and fried everything- onion rings, oreos, twinkies, lined the street, interspersed between the art vendors. I spent my last and only five dollar bill on parking, so I contented myself with smelling and only smelling. As the smells grew stronger, so did the concentration of people. I soon passed over a small fleet of police cars and found myself on the main street blocked off for the festival. On my left and right, rows of white tents filled with all kinds of arts lined the street. The tents are like little, minerature galleries.

The first thing I think is “sensory overload.” There is so much to see. It’s too much to take in, andI don’t know where to look first. I decide to adopt the same approach I use  when reading the newspaper: scan everything  and then go back to the articles I find most interesting.

It doesn’t take long for that approach to fail. A splash of color attracts me. I gravitate toward it, contemplating as I move closer whether or not I wish to actually make a complete stop and take a closer look. The closer I get, the more interested I become. I do stop. (Each artists’s work has a distinct style, visible in every single piece. I find this fascinating, this unity permeating everything an artist creates) The painting is in orange and blue hues. It’s more like a collage, swirling with all different kinds of materials- not the kind of thing I’m usually attracted to, yet I can’t stop looking at it. A much smaller painting, to the bottom right is even more attractive. I’m hooked, intrigued, completely mesmerized. If I had $100, I would have bought it. It would have been impulsive and uncharachteristic of me, but there’s no doubt in my mind that if I had the money with me, I would have bought that piece home with me and hung it on my wall.

“Hey” The person I presume to be the artist greets me, interrupting my staring.

“Hi.”

“How are you?”

Gosh, he’s nice looking. longish, curly dark hair. English accent. Mid-twenties, perhaps? He doesn’t look like an artist, no grungy bohemian vibes, just khaki shorts and a  button up light blue shirt rolled at the sleeves. His face is open, honest, bright- like his paintings. Am I gaping? I suddenly wish I could think of something, anything to say besides: “Good, how are you?”

“Great,” he says, his face opening wider into a smile. He moves away to adjust a painting.

Why couldn’t I have said something even remotely interesting? I could have asked him about the art or if he had come from England…anything to continue some kind of dialogue instead of parroting out a response. I leave the glow of the tent of the beautiful man filled with beautiful paintings and continue on down the street.

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