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!
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Rob is a professional artist, lover of vintage stuff, part time smart @ss and compulsive pancake eater!