Wednesday, November 7, 2007

sink or swim

for the past three weeks, my personal output of art has been nill. i have been working on commissioned works and just have not had any ideas for my own pieces. money has been short which of course leads to stress. then there are days like today.

angela and i went to st. louis to sell some of her bags to a local green store, home eco. on the way to the city, we stopped at our local cafe for a quick coffee. while there, the cafe received a phone call from a person who had met me there nearly two years ago, inquiring about my contact info. strange, since i haven't worked there for so long, but she knew that i still frequent the shop and was using some investigative skills to track me down. i just happened to be there when she called so they just gave me the phone. this person, moira, has always seemed to take an interest in my art, ever since my first show at picasso's two years ago. she had invited me to participate in a contest that i dropped the ball on, and so i assumed she thought i was flaky. which i guess i am sometimes, so no feelings hurt. then, nearly two years later, i am talking to her about an upcoming bike race, tour de winghaven.

she is offering me the opportunity to design the poster for the event. this may not sound like much, but it is huge. she wants me to paint a picture that will then be used for promotions for this race, which is on it's way to becoming quite a large event, entering into the arena of international cycling events. posters, wine labels, print ads are just part of what this image will be used for. on top of that, i get paid for the job and am allowed to keep the original. this is amazing. now, i am not a cyclist, so why the excitement?

well, it is simple. every person i know that is a cycle enthusiast claims to feel a transcendental experience at one time or another on a bike. it is a form of meditation. in fact, everyone i know who cycles seems to become some sort of junkie for it. which is something i know a little about. so, on this level i can connect to cycling. it is much like painting. a solo effort that challenges not just the body but the mind and spirit of a person. at any rate i am excited for this job. i already started working on a large scale piece that will develop into something that i will consider for the job.

the other great thing about this is, i get to have a sort of art show in conjunction with the race. there will be literally thousands of people at this event and it's surrounding events, most of whom will be interested to see what the artist who designed the poster is up to. this is a great chance to introduce my work to a whole different group of people than have ever seen what i do.

i also met a great opportunity while in the city. across the street from home eco, in south city saint louis, there is a great corner building that is for rent. the location and size is perfect for a gallery. so i ent to an ajjoining italian imports grocery store that is ran by the same man who owns the space. i spoke to him briefly about the possibility of a gallery and he seemed sincerely interested. he also makes the best meatball sandwich i have ever had from any restaurant. turns out he is the president of the neighborhood business association and they are looking for artists to bring into the neighborhood. it is nice to know that people are starting to see the benefits of having local artists. we bring business and a sense of self, of culture, wherever we are.

historically speaking, anytime a large group of artists move into an affordable area, the neighborhood is quickly transformed into a hotspot. look at the bowery in new york, chelsea, lower east side, northeast portland. all of these areas were once rundown and thus affordable for artists to live and work. no they are some of the most prized real estate in the country. well, apparently people are getting the hint that art is a necessary and vital part of life, and not just for artists. so i am going to work hard at making this work out and this time next year i may be running my own gallery.

i also scored one more commission for some coffee bag paintings for a local minister. what a strange day. here is an example of a coffee bag painting. painted on recycled burlap coffee bags. this one is a portrait of a dear friend, kevin francis xavier callahan.