Friday, March 18, 2016
Pay it forward
If you read a few posts back, you know that I spent the better part of January and February getting ready for a gallery show of my Petal People. There were some speed bumps hanging the show, as there always are, but the opening was wonderful. The gallery took care of everything: hanging the show, the advertising, the food, beverages and they even hired musicians to play live. I felt very taken care of and appreciated. A lively crowd of people came and they oohed and ahhed and made me feel special and artistic. (These gallery shows are so bizarre to me because a part of me feels like I must be some kind of fraud, pretending to be an artist, having customers admire and purchase work as if it is so special and unique when it comes easily to me and seems like something anyone could create. Weird.)
I was both delighted and petrified as I saw one after another of my framed pieces have a "sold" sticker put next to it. I ended up selling half of my show during the opening and spent the following week back in my studio frantically creating more, like these:
I buy inexpensive frames that I sand and then paint with spray paint so I felt darn lucky for the crazy warm spring weather we had in early March that allowed me to go outside and paint a bunch more. I managed to make enough to replace everything that sold and give the gallery two extras. Since the show is up for two months, I need to have another spurt of making more just in case.
So all that is great. I am in it to sell my work, to make money off of what I love doing. But somehow when my work is appreciated by someone and sparks their imagination or creativity, it is almost better than a sale. During my opening reception, I talked at length to a guy, about 20 years old, from Brooklyn who was entirely inspired. I was touched that someone so young and urban would be moved by my work, which usually appeals to older people, and women, and gardeners. We started talking about his artwork and I told him ideas of something I had seen in his medium. We chatted excitedly, exchanging ideas in rapid fire, until another customer joined in and then another and soon we had become separated. I never got his name but I really liked his spirit and imagination and wished I had gotten his contact info so we could continue the conversation… I love it when people are generous with their enthusiasm, their resources, their ideas. This morning I opened up an email on Etsy and was so grateful for more of that generosity.
I have about 20 partially-made Petal People for the various markets where I sell them and this email gave me just the burst of adrenaline I needed to dive back in and get a few more completed. Hoping I can pay this generosity and appreciation forward in some other area of my life.