I AM A CARNEY… (proudly stated)

by Chrissy Doolen

Chrissy Doolen in the studio.The older I get the more I realize not only have I always been an artist, I truly love being a carney as well! Its an added extra bonus.

My definition of a Carney is someone who travels from place to place setting up a tent to sell their wares and loves almost everything about this experience.

I recently had a friend send me a shop name to check out on Etsy. He said he thought of me when he saw the site and wanted to share it with me. I promptly looked up that site to find a very one themed adorable line of products. At that very second a light bulb went off, once again, to do this would make me an unhappy being.

The marketing, easy to spot, was perfect, clean and very catchy, after all I have a marketing and business background from my college days. The product was repetitive and trendy. At that second I realized I am not in this to make a hip something that catches on for a little while that I can sell and make money. I am a true maker, which goes hand in hand with being a carney, at least in my eyes. I want to touch each piece I make. I want to know who it goes home with. I need that connection.

My husband is after me all the time, that will sell better make 6, you need to work smarter not harder. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to sit down and reinvent the wheel. But repetitive non-heart making may as well be a design job that leaves someone else to make it for me. I did not start this journey to be the next James Avery, although when I started this journey, I had no idea of that! … I want to do and be one thing… ME!

I want to hold and create each piece in my hand, I want to set up a tent at an art show meet amazing people and share my heart and art with them. Not everyone likes what I do, I now get that too! But the ones that do, well it is an unexplainable feeling…. to have someone spend their hard working money on a little piece of wearable art that I created is beyond the scope of a humbling experience. To be able to share my story, my self with these people who walk into my booth and talk with me about what I do, well, it has allowed me to meet some of the most sincere and wonderful people. I don’t want it to end!!! EVER!

Vivian Mora, Lauren Luna & Chrissy Doolen

Vivian Mora, Lauren Luna & Chrissy Doolen

Being a Carney is fun, if you put aside the struggles… to get enough product made in time for your next big show, hauling heavy stuff, long distance driving, staying in cheap motels, suffering in the heat, cold, wind, rain and thunderstorms. Its sort of like being on a hamster wheel, you do it over and over again questioning yourself… why? The truth is it is agony and a rush. Driving to a new place, trying to figure out where your tent will be, setting up ( usually in unbearable heat)… we all love fall! Most of us carneys look forward to doing these things with other carneys. (Misery loves company?, maybe so…) It gives us time away from our normal lives and our studios, gives us time to recharge and be inspired. It gives us time with wonderful friends we have met along our art journey. It is the excitement of getting to share our art with new amazing people…. those people that will humble us by spending their hard earned money on our art. It never gets old.