Life has a way of giving us a nudge just when we need it.
Sometimes I just get plain ol’ discouraged. One of my newest collages, “Rite of Passage,” which I felt to be one of my best, which I honored in a recent blog entry with a poem I wrote about it, has now been rejected not once but TWICE from juried exhibitions. “Thanatopsis,” which I created at the very end of 2014, also has been rejected from a juried exhibition. I have felt so dejected recently that I was ready to quit the studio/gallery and go running for the hills (literally).
Suddenly, Wednesday a week ago, after I had just received the news of the second humiliation of “Rite,” two young women from Delaware walked into the gallery. They were clearly enjoying their day and each other’s company. One of the women was immediately taken by “Thanatopsis,” which was hanging in a high, dark corner of my studio (indicative of my disappointment with it). Her first question to me was “Do you ship?” to which I responded adamantly, “Yes!” She then politely asked if she could take a photo to text to her husband (aw, modern technology!). He texted back almost immediately (in spite of being at work) that he loved it and to go ahead and buy it.
This is the way it’s supposed to work, or so I’ve been told repeatedly. A person sees your art and spontaneously buys it, without laboring over whether the colors are right or whether it’s a good investment. They buy it because they want it to be a part of their life on a very human level.
I have a friend who bragged recently about buying $12,000 worth of art on a cruise ship because of its investment value and because she then received a free additional cruise for the purchase. What a deal! But where’s the passion, the love, the heart’s fancy, the existential authenticity in buying art simply because a good salesman talked you into it?
That young woman from Delaware had no idea that her enthusiasm and appreciation of my artwork would have such a positive influence on me. It was the “sign” that I was craving, the affirmation that what I’m doing is worthwhile. I’m glad that “Thanatopsis” has gone to a good home. (Whether the collage remains in my physical presence or not, I still own the image; I can enter online exhibitions and make prints of it to sell.) This sale gives me the motivation to make more collages and to raise my prices, slowly but surely. I’m neither giving away free cruises with purchase nor a guaranteed ROI; instead, I’m providing a glimpse of another world.