In A Crowded Room
The last time we met along the way to my quest to become an artist, I was standing in a snowstorm in the Farmer's Market, the proud lessee of a parking space and a bunch of easels. The sponsor of the event was a local and much loved coffeehouse, known for comfy surroundings and an outlandishly decorated interior. Amid cozy couches and painted tables, friends, families, loners and pairs mingled, chatting together, reading quietly or absorbed in their laptops. In one corner, near the front windows, a brick wall. The new artist wall. If chosen, an artist could reside on that space for an entire month.
Free of charge.
They picked me. As the artist of the month. One month evolved into a year. Every month I went in and changed out the pictures for new ones. One day...a local and national magazine writer, Miss G, looked over her shoulder...and found me staring back. The result of our over the shoulder introduction, was a photo shoot with Mr. Bill, here in my studio. Out in my garden. The writer, Miss G, a whirring blur of focus and fun, pitched my story to a national magazine. Soon I found myself on the phone with a writer from New York. For an interview. What should have been a ten minute conversation, ended up over an hour as we went beyond introductions and connected in our love of writing. Later, after the article was published, a two page spread in Country Almanac magazine, she sent me clippings and assorted ideas for me to further my new endeavor.
The day the article appeared, I had no idea the magazine had hit the stands. A friend emailed me the news, late, on a cold and blustery winter eve. I was already in my pajamas. Pulled on a coat and boots and hurried to the closest grocery store. No luck. I stalked four more stores until I found the magazine. It was about 11 PM. I pulled the magazine from the shelves and flipped madly through the pages expecting to find a small half page story. When I landed on the two page article, I felt my knees wobble and sat down in the middle of the aisle. There they were. My Garden Pages, all dressed up on wooden easels, in the middle of my garden.
I held this moment quietly within my soul.
No. Not exactly.
I gathered up each and every copy of the magazine and weaved and waved my way through the store, stopping anyone who would look and/or listen. When I arrived at check out, the cashier looked at the pages and yelled, "Hey...that's you! That's really you!" Then she turned to the three remaining customers I had not frightened away, and in an even louder voice, hollered, "She's famous!" My entourage, two cashiers and cautious late night consumers applauded. It was quite a scene.
As I drove home, it hit me. Pajamas. I am wearing pajamas. And boots. And I just bought out ALL of the copies of the magazine.
Not a bright idea.
But...it was so much FUN. FUN. FUN. FUN!
I would like to tell you that being featured in a magazine propelled me into a fame frenzy. Into the world of the Rich and Famous.
That did NOT happen.
I was a little pajamed fish in a very chic and artistic ocean. I did not have a website. I had my work in two stores, on consignment. I did not have business cards or fancy brochures.
I was ahead of my time.
I had work to do.
I had very limited resources. I could only spend if I sold my work. I could only sell my work if someone could see it.
I was truly FOUND. But the job of being SEEN was mine. Galleries are not free and are relatively unimpressed with a magazine article.
If you love what you do.
If you ache to achieve.
If you yearn to be heard.
There are spaces. Just as in Monopoly. Not Park Place, or Boardwalk. Free spaces. Waiting for you to land. Welcoming places and spaces.
The local library. Quiet. A beautiful gallery. Free. For aspiring artists. I left a book for people to comment. They not only bought my work, they almost broke my heart with their words of good will.
I want to take you to some of these unusual galleries and tell you their stories. But they deserve more than just a passing glance.
So until next time, try to remember that if you are about to translate your dreams into reality, think BIG even you are a sprout.
Use your imaginotions.
Dive in with determinatude.
In other words.
Buy new pajamas.
Get ready for your close-up.