Brian J. Sullivan
I remember doing my first “art” fair around 1981 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was at the Charles Allis Art Museum and was called the Morning Glory Art Fair. Commercially available canopies and display panels were not very common. At the time, I was selling smaller jewelry type items and was set up on a card table covered in blue velvet! I did several smaller shows with this setup before deciding that sales did not support my living expenses. I resigned myself to a “regular” job to pay the bills while I went back to school to earn my Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Illinois in Urbana.
Looking back, I can always remember being an artist, although at a young age I never called myself one. As a child I was always off somewhere creating things, building, inventing, or taking things apart. I remember going to rummage sales just to buy the left over junk so I would have sculpture materials. At the time I never realized that this was the beginning of and training for my life career as an artist! It was just something that I did. I loved to try to figure out how things work. I’d take objects apart just to see inside and usually never put them back together. I just naturally loved to play with things and still do today!
When I entered college and discovered that I could major in Art it simply blew me away. “You mean people actually get paid for this?” I asked the registrar. In the art department I was in my element, and I blossomed. I won many awards, accolades, and several scholarships. In 1985, I was chosen for the cover story of the Milwaukee Magazine as one of the most interesting persons in the city. In 1987, I was accepted into an international artist colony in the South of France. I feel very blessed and have been very fortunate.
Recently I have gotten back into the art fair circuit after a twenty-year hiatus. I have found that my old card table and blue velvet tablecloth won’t cut it any more. Now it takes serious cash to invest in a sturdy canopy and professional display panels. Currently I am working on an exciting new process I developed whereby I can do photo/image transfers onto etching paper. I can get beautiful and brilliant color, which I could not get with the conventional chemical transfer techniques. I can also build up multiple layers of both opaque and transparencies. The possibilities are endless. In addition, I am also bringing back the hot wax technique of encaustic and combining it with the transfers to create incredible depth. All very cutting edge and very exciting! The response has been resounding. I guess I can finally retire that old card table.