Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Friday for the Monkey Man

Downtown Raleigh, NC

Last Friday Susan and I ventured west of our studio in Snow Hill to Raleigh to meet Beth who has included our signs in her gallery space at Design Box, which is a workspace, art gallery and design shop all rolled into one. And last Friday was First Friday. I know that makes no sense so I'll explain. In downtown Raleigh, on the first Friday of each month all of the downtown galleries, museums, and art studios feature an open house event where art enthusiasts are welcome to drop in and take a look around. Many of the local restaurants, bars and clubs also join in by offering specials too. And there are a lot of restaurants and bars downtown y'all.
Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh
When we arrived in the warehouse distinct, I dropped off Susan in front of the Contemporary Art Museum to find parking since they have great benches for sitting outside. Parking was my next challenge, I later found out that there were several lots just up the street but I spent 20 minutes looking for parking on the street, something I'm totally used to coming from Chicago.
Art enthusiasts gather outside during First Friday's
On the street, there's so much people traffic. There's tons of pedestrians walking from venue to venue, mostly couples and groups. There's also lots of people like myself trying to find parking. Many driving vintage cars and scooters which I thought was very cool. This too reminded me of mine and Susan's days in Chicago gallery hopping on Friday nights, something we used to do when we were in college, you know, before we had kids. 
Art lovers easily get around via Raleigh Rickshaw Company

Oh, and here's something you don't see in Chicago on a Friday night, bicycling art enthusiasts. A group of about 20 cyclists all of a sudden peddled up in front of Design Box, parked their bikes and all wandered in. Another great way to get around First Fridays is by Raleigh Rickshaw Company which operates till 3 a.m. Remember my parking problem? This is a great way to get back to you car at the end of the night.

Slippin' Southrn signs hanging at Design Box

Once I made my way back to Susan we walked over to Design Box. Inside it was pleasantly crowded, we sort of had to weave our way through the crowd to try to find Beth, who we have never met. The gallery space is small but jam packed with many artists and interesting things to look at and buy.

Then all at once I looked up above all of the heads of the visitors and I saw my little signs, just before you enter their work spaces. This was the first time I've seen my work hanging in a store. Like old friends, each of them I knew personally. Peanut, Howdy, Hey Y'all, the Monkey gang was all here. And folks were really looking at them, studying them, touching them. I felt very pleased, I tried not to stare at them too much. I tried not to let anyone know that "I did them".  As if by me looking at them in some way, someone would figure out that I created them. Then I made my way past them. I tried to look interested in other things and other artist's work. And there were a lot of other artist work on the walls.

Barrel of Monkeys by Slippin' Southern
Then a woman approached me from behind and gently asked, "Excuse me, are you the Monkey Man?" I smiled and said, why yes I am, and then I extended my hand. She went on to explain that she had just purchased my Barrel of Monkeys and she just wanted to meet me and say hello. For me, this was the crowning moment of the trip. The thought that someone wanted to meet me was exciting and made me feel so complete. Like I was doing something right. Like, hey, this Slippin' Southern thing is actually going somewhere. Thank you lovely customer, where ever you are, you made my evening! I truly hope you enjoy your Monkeys.
Coquette Brasserie in North Hills
After our First Friday experience we left downtown and went to North Hills to have diner at Coquette Brasserie. I know we should have stayed with the whole First Friday theme but that's not how we roll, we always break with the plan and do something different. By now the diner crowd was thinning out, yet we managed to be seated next to a couple that had a 10 year old boy with them that banged on the banquettes like Ringo Starr during our entire dinner. Other than that, our diner was decent but I wouldn't go back.
Beth told me on last Friday that she needs more signs so we are definitely going back for another First Friday next month and I think this time we'll stay in the neighborhood for diner and drinks.  If you see us, ring your bike bell and say Hey Y'all! 

1 comment:

  1. On September 2nd you should come by for a free wine tasting at The Wine Feed. http://www.thewinefeed.com