There’s a lot that goes on both before and after an art exhibition. Naturally first the artist needs to make the work. Then there are the submissions to apply for shows. Yeah, a show is booked. The date for installation arrives. The show is packed up and taken to its’ destination. Unloaded and hung. Invitations go out. The big opening night happens. People come to see the show. The show continues for a month or two. Then it needs to come down. This is the part that most people don’t think about. Read this to find out through photos of taking down and taking the artwork back to the studio. With a short video of the show to start with. Videos and all photos are by James Cowlin.

U-Haul at First Studio Gallery

The underbelly of an art exhibition, taking it down and bringing it back to the studio. Not something most people (except artists) may think about. In my case, I live in Oracle, 2 hours from Phoenix. We rented a UHaul in Oracle, drove up to Phoenix. Here’s the truck in front of First Studio Gallery, first thing on Saturday morning. Isn’t the mural on the building fantastic? So we’re here.

Next step, start taking down the art and packing it up safely (in plastic, under blankets). There are 23 paintings in this show, ranging in size from 8’x8′ to 24″x24″. So it’s no small task to get this done.

Three hours later we’re all packed up and ready to make the trip back to Oracle. Here I am in the driver’s seat. Just a fake photo though, Jim did all the driving.

Safely home. We have 30 minutes to get all the paintings into my studio, gas up the truck and get it back to UHaul. A frenzy of activity.

A view in the studio after unloading. Looks a bit overwelming to me.

Another view from the opposite side. What you see here are 2 sections of my 72″x72″ painting, awaiting unbolting before it can be wrapped in plastic and stored.

A week later, all are neatly wrapped and labeled. The smaller paintings are stored in the rack above and the onters on a platform just off the floor—necessary due to flooding that happens thru my front door when it rains. In the foreground are some works in progress. Now I can finally get back to the real work—painting!

Oh, and by the way, in 3 weeks I’ll be repeating the process for an upcoming show at Olney Gallery, back to Phoenix. Only this time rather than 23 paintings, I’ll be bringing 15 small paintings which will fit nicely in the back of our Subaru. They’re also a whole lot easier to handle. Which begs the question—why do I paint so large?