UFW: live portraits

As the event neared, I was emailed by the producers of Utah Fashion Week, who I had been in contact with, and was offered a space at the UFW Pop-Up Shops.

 They specifically wanted to me to paint people's portraits as part of the Fashion Week event. I could charge if I wanted, and they would announce it at the shows. They said it was a thank-you for the work I had done in making illustrations for promoting the shows.

Yes please!

I ran around gathering supplies, figuring out what to wear, taking frames off my walls, and planning in my head all night.
I set up a table at home, to figure out placement and what I still needed. I designed and printed my own business cards the day before. I went to playdates and practiced drawing my friends (they all turned out awful) and cut all my paper, ordered a water brush (recommended by Mats Meyer for live events).

The day finally came and carried my things into the Pop Up area and Emily Smith, (from Modest Goddess, Tan Lines Swimwear, and Mentionables), who was in charge of the booths, called from the other end of the space "Hi, whats your name?" I ran over and introduced myself and she said, "Oh yes!"
They had thoughtfully put me in the entry corner so I could have wall space, a corner to draw in, and a space for waiting customers to sit. She said the team had been talking about my work and how happy they were to have me there. I was blown away.

People would come in waves. There were many times that I would look at the painting and think "this is awful" and start feeling the room closing in. Then I would take a few deep breaths and keep going, reminding myself that so far, nobody cared if it looked exactly like them. I would do my best to finish each painting, without fussing with it too much, within a certain time limit (about 7 minutes). After a while, it didn't throw me off so much to have people watching me. They acted like I was an actual magician with a brush, so it wasn't so bad.

The best part was talking to people and other shop owners. Everybody was so incredibly kind and had wonderful visions for their lives. Each person gave me reassurance in one way or another, sometimes without knowing it. It was a stressful, but overwhelmingly positive experience. I would do this again in a heartbeat.

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