A long time ago, my parents bought me an easel for Christmas.
(Sadly, I cannot find the photos from that Christmas)
IT WAS A HUGE gift (aka expensive) and I was shocked and thrilled to have my own artist easel. At the time, it felt like it was my parents endorsing my change of career. With their blessing (and their gift), I would transform myself!
In the years since this easel joined my life, it has moved MANY times and I have painted MANY paintings with it. (About 1200 paintings!!)
Yup. I DID become a full time professional artist.
On May 22nd, when the BIG WALNUT STUDIO FIRE HAPPENED....I rescued it and brought it home. IT WAS SAD. Part of me wants dto just throw it in the garbage with all the burnt paintings. it was too sad and too smelly to bring INTO the house...so....
for WEEKS on my front porch.
The truth is, after more than a month of airing out....it still smelled bad....and it looked just terrible. IMPOSSIBLE even.
I was beginning to resign myself to throwing it out.
But that just seemed so sad.
We had been through so much!
So a month in, I tried again....I febreezed it, and put baking soda on it, and let it air for another few weeks....sadly it still smelled....
I just figured it, like all those destroyed paintings, was part of my past. I mean, why not just start over???
Why put in the effort to revive something that was in such bad shape?
Why couldn't I let go of the past??
The truth is I couldn't stand the thought of throwing it out!
I mean, it was a gift from my folks, and it was the ONE constant in my career - in all the locations, in all the good times, in all the hard times....I had this easel!
So I thought I would spend some MORE time trying to fix it.
I started scraping at it, trying to get the layers of black char off it....it was 30 degrees and hot, and as sweat dripped into my eyes, I realized, that there was many layers of paint on it....enough that some areas could just be PEELED.....
So I started peeling off the layers of paint.
It was very satisfying. As I stripped back the layers, I saw paint colours that I used in the beginning of my career.
It was strange to remember these paintings from so long ago, and remember how I wondered then "Will I ever make it as an artist?"
So...I spent another day of striping...
I then put 3 coats of varathane on it.....BUT left one area black and burnt. I then moved it into my NEWEST studio....
See the top of the easel arm?
I left it black (with 3 layers of sealant) to remind myself of the lessons I have learned from the tragedy of the studio fire:
1. It's okay to hold on to the past sometimes. Don't rush to start over and throw things away, sometimes you can USE the past to help you build your future!
2. Sometimes, when you are stuck on a problem, you need to just hold on and a solution will eventually reveal itself! Time is a great healer, and a great teacher. LET IT TEACH YOU!
3. I also learned AGAIN, that a lot of hard work, a lot of time, and a lot of determination WILL yield results!
I feel like these lessons will help shape me going forward, and that is why I wanted to see that burnt area...to remind myself! I hope that works! ;-)
AND SO NOW, TRUELY, the second chapter in my painting career can START! THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES!!!!
Thanks for joining me!
Hey hey hey!
Well I DID it!!!!
Somehow, despite the fire at my studio, I was able to put together a booth of paintings for the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair in just under 6 weeks! It's a summer art-show MIRACLE!
Ok....it is true that more than half was from my galleries - so it took no additional painting work....and YES....a 1/4 of the booth was fire burnt discounted pieces....BUT STILL.....I got a lot of work done - locked in my dark basement for that last month....
HERE is a little re-cap of my weekend.....
It all starts with promotion....and this year the TOAF was hot on their new 'branding'.....so we all had to try to work it into our promotion....which was HARD given the bold (one might even say OVERPOWERING) imagery of the new TOAF "brand"...but I think my many posts did an okay job......
For the show I painted some new pieces....a few are still left....check my NEW IN 2018 tab above to see what's left to buy!
I have done this show 11 times, so it is very easy to compare the years....I TRY not to....BUT.....
This year was a bit of a strange show for me comparatively.....and I think part of my disappointment was from having so many of the pieces I painted SPECIFICALLY for the TOAF audience - DESTROYED in the fire last month.
Honestly, I was LEGITIMATELY shocked that the pieces BELOW didn't sell over the weekend.....Let's hope these guys get some LOVE this week after people go home and measure....
IF YOU WANT TO SEE ONE OF THESE GUYS IN PERSON....you can email me and make an appointment to come to my new studio!!!!!
OKAY ON WITH THE SHOW.....
Day one.....was quite a day.....it started with some serious hubbub...
I posted this photo immediately to my social media with the heading "look.....all three levels of government have come out to TOAF today!"....but then husband told me it was too political...so I took it down....but I still think it is kinda funny....
I am sure that Mr Ford can take a joke....RIIIIGHT??
It's a compliment for him....but maybe not for her....
ANYWAYS....Here I am in my booth:
The walls were organized by "kind" of art...
1. borrowed back from galleries
2. BRAND NEW
3. Fire ravaged
I was thrilled for the SECOND TIME in 11 years to be in the running for the Mayoral Purchase Award....but lost out again...always a bridesmaid.......still....had a long conversation with our Mayor about my work. He seemed to really like it:
So...all and all a VERY exciting day....
BUT THEN AT LUNCH....
There was this....
Deep fried mac and cheese balls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The best balls I've had in my mouth in YEARS!
You know, I've done this show - in this approximate location 3 times...and it is funny how the view has changed every year....SO MUCH CONSTRUCTION!!!
Day 2.....not quite as star studded and exciting as day one....lots of selfies and posing though for very sweet artist friends that visited....
All and all a VERY VERY quiet day for me....I enjoyed my lunch with the birds that day.....squatting on the cement.....trying to be zen......while birds flew around me like a dead carcass ready to peck....
ALSO just outside of the square was a pop up show called "Torontopia", that was run by my friends at The Spacing Store...so even though I did not have any of my limited edition prints with me....I DID have them in the pop-up:
ON THE LAST DAY...
.....and the HOTTEST day.....
I moved things around....
I ALSO put on my BRIGHTEST outfit....to give the impression that I wasn't TIRED and SORE and a little grumpy.....I think it worked!!
It also invited a lot of chit-chat - and set me up with a number of one liners.....encouraging people to stop staring at my melons....and telling them that I looked like the gayest picnic ever....
You know I love some SHTICK!
Mid way through the hottest day.....some selfish a-hole decided to let their dog crap and then WALK AWAY.....
Thankfully it wasn't right in front of my booth....
Thankfully it wasn't also RIGHT DOWNWIND....
....and it wasn't baking in the 33 degree weather.......so it filled my tent with the pungent odour for HOURS!!!!!!
I finally covered it in some garbage that another jack-wad had just thrown onto the ground.....
Sometimes people are a real disappointment.
BUT what can you do??
Sometimes people are surprising too....like this confident gent....
This photo was caught by the DELIGHTFULLY TALENTED Sherri Rogers...whose work I CANNOT get enough of.....
PLEASE go and check out her instagram and her site!
She is allllll the way from the West coast....and has great stuff...
AND SPEAKING OF GREAT STUFF.....
This client that really gets the cheeky-ness of my art took "Not My Cup of Tea" home....and put it with some of his other art....I LOVE this juxtaposition....
I am hoping to have more in-situ photos from clients of new paintings in the next few days....
I LOVE to see where my pieces end up!!
So....that was a wrap to the weekend.
It was good weather, lots of chatting, loads of cards given out...and hopefully lots of emails and calls THIS WEEK as follow up!!!
I want to thank all the volunteers that helped all day long....and the organizers for putting on a great show. Thanks to all my great neighbours, and my artist friends who were also at the show....and to those who visited and showed their support!
THANKS to all my clients - old and new that came out for support! It really means a lot -- especially given how the last month has been! :-)
I ESPECIALLY am thankful that husband was there to help me out over the weekend...I am not sure why he sticks around...but I am SOOOOO glad he does!!!
I move into my new studio and begin new work for the fall and winter.
IT IS GONNA BE GREAT! Stay tuned to my website for all the news - and my instagram for all the silliness......
So....it has been quite a month! I am working hard to get back to business as usual! The thing is, it isn't just business as usual. After the great burning trash heap of a month that we have had.....I am still struggling to get my business back to a pre-fire state. I feel like July will give me some time to decide HOW I want to move forward with my art career. BUT UNTIL I CAN TAKE A SECOND TO THINK ABOUT THAT.....I am in the midst of Toronto Outdoor at Fair prep...
As you may know the big show is this upcoming weekend!
Toronto Outdoor Art Fair runs
Friday July 6, 10-7pm
Saturday July 7, 10-7pm
Sunday July 8, 10-5pm
BOOTH - C232
(in the south- east corner of Nathan Phillips Square)
(see map below)
This month....I am also working to replace all the items I lost in the fire, so that I can move to my new studio - in this building:
But I AM excited about the beginning of something new. For some time I have been snapping photos of signs that I LOVE. And for some time, I mean....all my adult life! I have been to The American Sign Museum, and the Neon Museum...and I LOVE them both....they are serving as inspiration for a new body of work.
THE NEW pieces are going to be signs....some close up - some farther away....I am then going to re-design the sign to say something else. Something funny. Maybe thought provoking? But certainly 100% Rob!
I am going to call this series "Sign Language".
The first few are going to be liberating the text from MOVIES.
Now...why the change up??
1.) Because I love signs and fonts!
2.) Because I love all things RETRO and vintage!
3.) Because I love humour!
4.) Because I love pop culture and movies
5.) Because I FREAKING WANT to!
I thought the first one needed to blur the lines between my Toronto themed "Urban Landscapes"...and the new "Sign Language" series...So....I am pleased to show you the FIRST of this series....ahead of TOAF this weekend.
FIRST.....here is a little glimpse into the painting process:
THIS....is the final painting:
It's "Honest Ed's" as you've never seen it!
I used a famous quote from "Casablanca"....that really sums up my feelings about this great institution, and the loss of it.
I think it is a GREAT start at this new series, and I am EXCITED to get into my new space so I can get NEW works started!!!
Look for more in this series SOON!
What do you think?
You into it?
COME SEE IT THIS WEEKEND - LIVE!!!
I totally stole that tile from David Sedaris!
But It really sums up the feeling that I've had for the last few weeks. As you know, I had a fire that destroyed a LOT of my work. Paintings and prints that had taken me a DECADE to create/produce.
It's put me at a real disadvantage financially, but also put a real crimp in my show season. I have 2 more shows to get through...less like a phoenix and more like a slightly charred bird with a broken wing and singed feathers....and a limp....
The fire took my art and supplies and my booth and my tent and it really felt like it had also taken my desire to paint.
Weird, I know.
I have been hustling to get enough work together to show at my upcoming shows, and now that I am down to the last 5 "sellable" fire damaged paintings....I need to get back to work.
BUT I REEEEEEEEALLY HAVEN'T WANTED TO!
I KNOW that while I paint, I am often in a very serene, almost meditative place. I am not thinking about all the crap that NEEDS to be done, I am just thinking about the colours on my brushes. That is something I am truly grateful for! So...I forced myself back to work...because sometimes you just have to force yourself to keep moving....
So...last week I went into my basement and worked on a brand new painting. Truthfully, the process was PAINFUL! It is from a drawing I did about 4 months ago....that I loved at the time....but now it feels different. Kinda like I was moving back in time, not forward.
Here is the painting I worked up:
In the end, this piece is fine.
Am I IN LOVE with it?
But it has lead me to a painting on my easel right now that I like more! Yesterday I forced myself to do an hour of painting....and then 5 hours later, my husband came downstairs to ask if I was okay...I HAD LOST ALL TRACK OF TIME!! (HUZZAH!!!!) I was in the zone! This new painting has caused a lot less anxiety and stress for me....
(I'll show you it soon!)
So, it feels like my *MOJO is returning!!
*Mojo is thee "magic" that is created when I can paint JOYFULLY!
It's a great feeling that I hope keeps dragging me further and further AWAY from the fire, and into a new and exciting chapter....
I know it's a process! And once my July deadline comes and goes, I will get to really dive into the healing process and I will be able to reflect on what and HOW I want to rebuild!
UNTIL THEN....I have 2 NEW NEW NEW drawings that are ready to paint...and a tonne of work to do! Both the new paintings are slightly different - so that is exciting too!
I am EXCITED to get to work on them....
JUST WAIT for what's next!!!!
(and thanks for reading this, friend!)
I didn't know how to title this post....I wanted to call it CONTROL....but I thought that "Trial by fire" really gave the headline some zip! ANYWAYS.....here we go....
“This is a story about control. My control (issues). Control of what I say, control of what I do. And this time, I’m gonna do it my way!”
YES! I am channelling my inner Janet Jackson! As you know, 10 days ago the studio I share at Walnut Studios was ravaged by fire. I was 1 studio away from the “heart” of the fire, so my things got pretty burnt. This is what was left of my studio:
In the direct aftermath I went into my space and took out all the prints and paintings that seemed like I could “fix”.
(Silly, silly Rob!)
A day later, I started sifting through the wreckage....and over the course of the next 2 days, I realized that it was way worse than I had originally expected.
I guess as part of the process I needed to see the devastation with my own eyes, and then needed to exert “control” over an uncontrollable circumstance.
I have spent the last week using Febreeze, baking soda and dryer sheets to combat the smoke smell. I have cleaned and primer-sealed some pieces....and done everything I could to take CONTROL of the damage with varying levels of success. I have been social media-ing and talking to the press, and generally just begging for money on behalf of the entire studio. It has been humbling and hard for me to do so. I like to think that I can CONTROL that too! AND YET.
So now, a week later – everything is catalogued and I am left to ponder the devastation. In all, I was able to “save” only 9 paintings, and about 25 small paintings --- which means I lost about 110 original paintings that I had in stock…..Pieces that took me YEARS of work. That is the sad part. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful - even 10% of my stock is still better than some of the Walnut Studios artists fared. So that is why I am having a ONE TIME – FIRE SALE this weekend:
I will be selling these very few slightly damaged works at 50% off at The Riverdale Art Walk this weekend. As well as showing some NON-SMOKEY pieces that were at Blue Crow Gallery!! I gotta be honest though…..I have really struggled with my ego on this whole sale thing...I mean, what will people think? What will clients think? What will my galleries think? The truth is, I cannot CONTROL how others will perceive me and my level of professionalism. I just gotta get through a lousy situation and get back on my feet…..with as much humour as I can muster. Me finding the funny in this is NOT to lessen the horrible loss from this event, but rather to cope and to help find the GAINS in the loss!
People have been mostly wonderful, and supportive, and it has encouraged me to keep going! I am proud of my Walnut Family for really doing together through this, and I hope we call all RISE LIKE THE PHOENIX (I promised I wouldn't say that....and yet....)
I am still waiting for details on WHERE I am going next....hopefully it is with my Walnut community....I DO KNOW (or I hope) that in a year, I will mark this moment as a turning point in my 15 year old visual art career. It will be BF and AF (before fire and after fire)as in....THINGS are gonna be amazing AF!! (yup – I meant to do that! ;-)
And so…I am in CONTROL....and am getting my show face on…and I look forward to seeing you this weekend at The Riverdale Art Walk (INDOORS). THANKS MY FRIENDS! FROM THE BOOTM OF MY HEART!!!
**here is a link to a GoFundMe campaign
** More fundraising efforts for Walnut Studios as a whole and for artists who lost work due to smoke damage in the South Studio will be forthcoming. Let's help rebuild an important part of Toronto's independent artist community!
Well....its almost show season!
I am excited - and CRAZY CRAY CRAY BUSY getting new work together!
I am also trying to expand my 'empire' -- mostly into the USA!
OK..... SO....FIRST UP....
DISNEY THEMED ART SHOW
La Bodega Gallery, San Diego, USA
Saturday May 26th, 2018
I won't be there.....but I am excited about this new adventure in the USA! Go visit them at www.labodegagallery.com
WHY COME? - I won't be there - but it looks like it's gonna be a FUN show! (and its California - so DUH!)
RIVEDALE ART WALK 2018
BOOTH #1 -- INDOORS
The Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre,
870 Queen St E, Toronto, ON
June 2nd and June 3rd, 2018.
Riverdale ArtWalk is a FREE two-day, public fine art exhibition showcasing established and emerging artists in Jimmie Simpson Park and Community Centre in Toronto’s flourishing Queen East arts district. The first outdoor art show of Toronto’s season, the Riverdale ArtWalk is a great place to connect with artists and buy that perfect piece for your home!
I will be selling my NEW clever word play paintings and I will also be featuring my city/landscape paintings! EXCITING! I will also be selling my limited edition giclees. It is indoors - so I will not be grumpy....and will be DELIGHTFUL to chat with! ISn't that enough reason to visit???
ETSY: MADE IN CANADA SPRING 2018
Saturday June 23rd, 10am-6pm
Campbell House Museum, 160 Queen West, Toronto
I will be selling some of my word play paintings and I will also be featuring my full line of giclees postcards and merch! THIS IS THE ONLY SHOW THAT I AM SELLING A FULL LINE OF MERCH AT! WOOT WOOT!
(ALSO I AM INDOORS - so my good attitude will be in full effect!)
AND THEN.....IN JULY....
THE TORONTO OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITION 2018
Nathan Phillips Square,
100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
July 6th - 8th, 2018.
July 6th, 10am - 7pm
July 7th, 10am - 7pm
July 8th, 10am - 5pm
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition is Canada’s largest, longest running juried contemporary outdoor art fair. Founded in 1961, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition was established to put contemporary visual artists and makers at the front and centre of their works, in direct contact with the public, to nurture artistic excellence and artists’ entrepreneurial spirit. This free public event showcases works by over 340 contemporary visual artists and makers, ranging in medium from painting, photography, and mixed media to jewellery and ceramics, and attracts 115,000 visitors each year to Nathan Phillips Square.
HERE'S THE MAP:
I will ONLY be selling ORIGINALS at this show!
(NO limited edition prints)
I will be showing BRAND NEW WORKS....I'm excited!
IT IS THE BIGGEST OUTDOOR SHOW IN CANADA....and it is a great way to see original art....you don't wanna miss this BIG BOY! (I have a great location - although it is outdoors....so fingers crossed!!)
So there you go!!!
THAT is my lineup for the summer fun!
Lots going on, RIIIIGHT!?
I hope to see you out at these events!!!
NOW BACK TO THE EASEL TO PAINT!!!!
HEY FRIENDS AND ART LOVERS!
So...I am in the midst of a busy season of commissioned work.
It's EXCITING - and a little stressful!
Why stressful?? Well, the truth is a commissioned painting takes double the amount of time as a regular painting. HOWEVER, they are also pretty rewarding. To have a client get EXACTLY what they want is WONDERFUL! I usually put too much pressure on myself for it to be PERFECT....which is the stressful part! BUT....in the end it is ALWAYS worth it! So.....here is a recently finished commission.
For this one, the client had already purchased this painting from my "Mixed Message Series":
The painting was inspired by The Wizard of Oz.
She was one of 5 pieces I did themed around Oz. I modelled all the artwork after traditional still life oil paintings...in a colour scheme that is a little more 'adult' than most of my work...here are the rest in the series:
So the client wanted a companion piece for "Clean Sweep", but wanted it themed around Alice in Wonderland.
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! I started with writing down some ideas....to make it work in my 'mixed message' series, it had to be punny...it was a challenge....it was a lot of research and brainstorming BEFORE even painting!
In the end, the client decided on "To a Tea"....
I started to work on a drawing that had text to match his previous painting....and came up with this drawing...
I wanted it to have a still life oil painting look....and wanted it to have a number of key Alice in Wonderland elements...obviously it was a tea party....but I also put in a pocket watch and a Queen of Hearts playing card.....
WHAT? GENUIS??? STOP IT!!!!
Once I got approval from the client on this rough drawing/direction, I started painting!
I kept my painting from the other series close by - so i kept in the same range of colours. I wanted these two to work together PERFECTLY!! I put in more yellows, and some pinks BUT kept the blacks greens and teals in the same range....I sent a photo of the 'final' painting the client for any last suggestions....and then finished this little beauty up!!
HERE is the final piece...I am thrilled, and so is the client!
So, YOU TOO could have your own tailor-made painting!
If you LOVE my style....and you know what my final paintings look like....you can always commission me to do something that fits your life and environment perfectly!
YOU can choose the size, the colours, the theme.....you just have to TRUST in my vision....and WHAM-O-BAM-O there is the art piece for you! One that we work on together for YOU!
Send me an email today!!
These are fun times! LITERALLY!
I am working on the silliest work I have done to date!
The new pieces are LARGE versions of my classic 6" x 6" Mixed Message series paintings....I haven't shown them YET....but I am excited for people to see them!
As you know, I am really not a wildlife painter, so getting the chance to paint animals has been super fun! It's good to try a new thing! I think the large pieces are some of the most successful pieces I have done in this series. I hope you can check them out next week at Noodle Gallery -- which is a BEAUTIFUL space in Caledon:
HERE ARE THE SHOW DEETS:
Studio 216, 1402 Queen St.,Alton Village, Caledon, ON.
February 21st to March 25th, 2018.
Sunday, March 4th, 1pm-4pm.
A group exhibition of whimsical artwork...and here are the other artists you will see at this playful show:
Be sure to check out:
Bernice Lum, Kukucaju, Dudemanart, Eric Allen Montgomery and Robin Davis Studio
ALL SUPER FUN AND WHIMSICAL STUFF!!!
As I keep mentioning, I have completed OVER 40 brand new pieces for the show....and I am thrilled!
In addition to animals, there are some more landscape-y works available at this show! This one is called "Trailblazer", and was a LOT of work....but I am happy with how it turned out EVENTUALLY....here are a couple in-process photos...
AND HERE IS THE FINAL IMAGE:
In the end it was A LOT more work than I expected...I couldn't get it working for several days! At one point, I even thought I would just quit....BUT THEN....as soon as I stopped looking at my reference, I GOT IT!
That was a great lesson!
It is great to have your plan, drawings and reference for the final piece, but at some point you need to put it ALL away and paint how you are feeling!!
I hope someone snaps this beauty up!
Remember, you can see this big boy LIVE and in person at Noodle Gallery starting this upcoming Wednesday February 21st!
Or come up - AND CHAT WITH ME - at the big artist reception on
Sunday, March 4th, 1pm-4pm.
It is a really fun show, and it in a really great space
In the words of Charlie Brown....GOOD FRIGGIN' GRIEF!
It has been MONTHS since I blogged about something.
Is it because I have nothing to blog about?
NO. I have several things I have wanted to share!
Is it because I am a lazy mole-man** ?
**Mole-man behaviour occurs when I don't leave my basement for weeks at a time - sometimes painting in my actual pjamas! This phenomenon is also known as "Wiarton-Willie-Fever" - also known as the "Punksatony-Phil-Flu".
Maybe partially.....but honestly .....blogging just takes time I don't seem to have in a week....and I am not sure it helps my career in any way!! But it's a new year....so I thought I would try again!
Now....I would LOVE to promise you that I would get back to regular blogging (3 times a week)....but that would be a HUUUUGE lie! And I do not want to lie to you, you're my friend!(Or you're a spybot that is going to direct me to your off-brand Viagra pill site!)
Okay so since it is January, and almost "Let's Talk Day"...I thought I might talk about my own mental health a bit...
The truth is, I find January/February/March the HARDEST months. I am not sure if it is the winter related, or post-Christmas-blues, or end-of-year-taxes-sadness....but I genuinely find it hard....and I can be prone to depression....so I really need to WORK HARD to not fall down the rabbit hole of "poor me"!
I have talked fairly openly about my sensitive nature and how I find dealing with rejection challenging - in these old blog posts...
I have talked about loss and grief a lot as well (especially in my OLD blog!) Time and time again, I have also talked about ”the power of gratitude to heal and enhance your life” and about "running your own race".
But honestly, I find I still battle with this "compare and despair" mentality. Normally, I just need to write down my feelings and I can stop myself from getting caught up in it....so that's what I am doing here today!
Honestly, I blame social media for igniting the fires of doubt and then depression! Well...I guess FIRST, I have to blame my own insecurity...but THEN I blame social media!
I have been working as an artist for a LOOOOOONG time now, and now that I am at a certain point in my career, I really notice those who have surpassed me with their successes in the industry. I try not to, but I am bit weak! Ok.....so I blame my insecurities THEN my weakness, THEN social media! BLAME BLAME BLAME...ugh.
I then look at those who I helped when they were getting started, and notice those who have incredible things happen in their career, while I am still battling it out in the mud and rain in a park...
Then.....once I have headed that far down Poor Robbie Avenue,
(you don't wanna go there - it is a dark, sinister tree-lined road)
I look at the kids coming up who get INCREDIBLE opportunities, that I had to work like a MOFO to get....and I feel a sick feeling of "WHY YOU??" I get angry and envious....which is no doubt because I am a perfectionist....
BUT....my long suffering husband said something recently that helped me re-frame things....
He KNOWS I tend to compare my failures to other peoples successes.....and so he suggested that instead of focusing on the small percentage of my peers that "out success-ed" me, that I can look at the number that have not made it this 'far'.
Not to revel in other people's losses, but to help me focus on my own gains. I can then look at the newbies who get the opportunities that I don't, and instead of feeling jealousy, remember how hard it is to make success last in this career and focus on THAT sense of accomplishment.
I am calling it the "Elton John -I'm Still Standing" technique...
Don't you know that I'm still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
And I'm still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind
I'm still standing. Yeah, yeah, yeah
I'm still standing. Yeah, yeah, yeah
Next time you get that awful feeling...and I KNOW I am not alone in this, just channel your inner Elton:
This winter (aka depression season) to keep living my own truth...to run my own race, to live laugh and love with gratitude. To be honest with others, and compassionate to those who need it. And to NOT be caught up in the number of followers I DON'T have on Instagram! Because that isn't important!
THAT seems like something I can do.
The Bitch is back!
(That's another Elton reference for those under age 30!)
Let's all do it!
And remember....if worse comes to worse.....
...and gosh darn it......people like you!
It's rare in the art business that you meet people who like your work enough to take a chance on you. Rarer still is to meet people that share your enthusiasm for building things TOGETHER!
The idea of building together is something that is very important to me. I grew up in the theatre world, where there was always a "we're all in this together" attitude! Everyone was working towards the same goal, and was mostly respectful of each other's part in it!
In the art world, it is often a bit dog eat dog. Your peers are often your competition. Galleries and retailers are often out to exploit your work or care very little about helping artists build and grow. It has always been the most frustrating part of the business for me!
I am fortunate that the galleries and retailers that I am represented by NOW have great enthusiasm for my work. I work WITH them, and have a relationship built on MUTUAL RESPECT and honesty.
I know that the people I work with will treat me well, because I will always treat them well. They will promote me, as much as I promote THEM! More than just honesty and respect, I now only work with people who are NICE!
Right Tay-tay??? WHY? The thing is, there are loads of people out there who are just out for themselves, and good for them, I guess. But I can't be involved in their biz-ness. I have been jerked around by a LOT of people in my professional career, which is too bad....but hd also taught me to trust my instincts and seek out people who are good at what they do, and ALSO good people.
Now why am I going on about this?
Because I was in Hamilton for the SUPERCRAWL as a guest of The Hamilton Store. During the day I got to spend a fair amount of time talking to Donna (the owner)....who is a complete delight! (and Mark who works at the store, and is also delightful!!) And we had a talk about the kind of relationships Donna has with her artists and vendors. It is remarkable. I count myself lucky that I get to be there!
As you know from my MANY MANY blog posts, The Hamilton Store (and Donna) are FANTASTIC! The store has so much MORE than just GREAT Hamilton gifts. There is a HUGE section of local edibles that even TORONTO people would fall in love with!Honestly such a nicely curated store!
NEXT TIME YOU ARE IN HAMILTON....YOU MUST MUST MUST go in!
And please say hello from Rob!
Also this past weekend I was talking a lot about WHY I was in Hamilton....considering I am not a Hamiltonian. I kept explaining that although I LOVE my own city, I also love Hamilton. They have been very nice to me, and the clients I have met appreciate my work! I think they also appreciate that I am not one of those jerky Toronto people...who want to change them, or put them down. I like Hamilton for it's faults and it's challenges, as much as for it's renewal and it's can do spirit!!! My friend Cindy Scaife and I even got a mention in the Hamilton Spectator:
THAT is what it is about!
I think if there was just a little bit more of that in the world...we would ALL be better off!
Thank you again Hamiltonians for your support this last weekend, and I look forward to coming again! And thanks to Donna and Mark and the rest of the staff at thehamiltonstore.caThe Hamilton Store for being so FREAKING FANTASTIC to work with!
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Rob is a professional artist, lover of vintage stuff, part time smart @ss and compulsive pancake eater!