This past weekend I had the pleasure of hosting an art show. I invited three artists to share their work in my studio:
Kym Russell, a wonderful photographer with a knack for seeing and capturing the gorgeousness that most of us miss;
Ryn Clarke, an amazing artist who creates beautiful composite photography scenes;
Jackie Arrigo, a talented quilter who creates gorgeous mosiacs from bits of fabric. (Spoiler: she’s also my mom.)
While I’ve shown my own work before, this was a new adventure for me – and one that just felt right. Part of my vision for my studio has been to use the space to create community, whether that’s teaching, or hosting a group of like minds, or bringing other creative professionals into my space to share their passions. It was a tiny step in what I hope to be a long journey.
I wasn’t sure how many people would attend, so I hired my daughter and niece to assist. They’re both hard working independent young women. As you might imagine, they were invaluable – handling everything from prepping refreshments to welcoming guests to packing and ringing out sales.
I couldn’t have done it without them.
My favorite moment of the show came at the end of the day. As the last of the guests made their way outside, my daughter, who, how shall we say, “takes initiative”, ran to grab two of my mom’s pieces off the wall. I’ll be taking these, she said as she whisked out her credit card. Upon seeing this, my niece blurted out: We’re allowed to do that?! and made a mad dash to grab a piece for herself.
As the two of them were huddled in the corner making their purchases, my mom, who slowly realized what just happened, began to protest, stammering something about birthdays and Christmas and whatnot.
They resolutely ignored her.
I could not be prouder of these two young women. Both are in the phase of life where they have their own home, are discovering their tastes, and are choosing where and when to spend their hard-earned dollars. To have them want a house filled with beauty, to have their eye on something that is just the right color or size or style, and to have the autonomy to make such a decision without permission from anyone else, it does my heart good.
If you’re a creative professional, if you’ve ever traded your creative work for money, you’ve no doubt had the uncomfortable, squidgy feeling of having a friend or relative want to buy your work. You stammer or flush, offer to give it to them, or give them such a steep discount that it hardly counts as a transaction.
I get it. I’ve done it too.
But next time it happens, I want you to see it from a different perspective. See it from the perspective of a child proudly spending their allowance, or a parent beaming about their child’s accomplishment, or a young, independent woman decorating her first apartment.
The next time someone close to you insists on buying something you’ve lovingly created, heed my advice:
I hear you.
Still not easy, but you’ve reminded me of the first few times I purchased art at the local festivals, how empowering it felt. I still have them and love them, 25 yrs later.
Same! I have all but the ones a certain someone decided she wanted when we moved…