"Vendor"? "Artist"? How about art-vendor?

The 1st time I was labeled "approachable" by someone, I though it was really nice.  The 2nd time someone called me "approachable", it was one of the best compliments I've ever had and I now consider it a prized characteristic I'm grateful to be associated with.  

I've participated in more than 100 events selling my photographs, many of those events have been at art festivals from Florida to Ohio, South Carolina to Maryland. In those 100+ events, I've discovered the true value of being approachable as well as the disgusting nature of ego slime.

Artists have a reputation for being aloof as much as they do being creative.  And it may be no surprise to hear that some artists are extremely arrogant and live on a mountain of ego they've built themselves.  Enter the "Vendor vs Artist" argument.  

We can't just pick and choose the events we're in - we apply for them and hope to be accepted.  Once accepted, communication starts to flow between the applicant and the event organizer.  In that communication the applicants may be referred to as "Artist", "Vendor", "Exhibitor" or "Participant" typically.  I've heard some artists adamantly insist they are artists, not vendors and that "vendors" is really a derogatory term reserved for those who sell cotton candy or popcorn.  Some people vend software, some vend medication, sure some vend cotton candy or popcorn -- and some vend artwork.  Sheer arrogance.

Vendor and Artist are not mutually exclusive.  In fact when you are participating in an art festival you can and should be lots of things.  You are a precious artist, sure, a delicate genius.  But you are also a custodian, a sales person, a moving company, an accountant, an interior decorator -- rarely are you actually creating at an event unless you do demos.  But you don't have to be explicitly an artist or a vendor, unless your ego won't allow you to be. #Unapologetic

Below are 3 definitions from Websters Dictionary:

ven·​dor | \ ˈven-dər , for sense 1 also ven-ˈdȯr \
variants: or less commonly vender \ ˈven-​dər \
Definition of vendor
1: one that vends : SELLER

art·​ist | \ ˈär-tist \
Definition of artist
1a: a person who creates art (such as painting, sculpture, music, or writing) using conscious skill and creative imagination the great artists of the Renaissance
an artist specializing in watercolors
b: a person skilled in any of the arts
ar·​ro·​gant | \ ˈer-ə-gənt , ˈa-rə- \
Definition of arrogant
1: exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner an arrogant official
2: showing an offensive attitude of superiority : proceeding from or characterized by arrogance

I am proudly a vendor -- an art vendor.  I am an artist because that's what that system refers to me as.  I'm a photographer.  I am not so limited as to be only one thing; to pound my chest about it and give the sense I am superior to "vendors" -- but those artists exist and it is a gross encounter when I meet one.  One recently inspired me to register the domain "ArtWithoutEgo.com" which points to my primary website, hiltabidel.com.  I want to be approachable.  I want customers (I don't insist on calling them art patrons) and other art-vendors to feel comfortable when they walk in my booth; to know I'm a real person they can talk with, ask questions to, share an experience with, without any concern of being talked down to.
To the arrogant artist who may be reading this.  Get over yourself.

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