Back when I was living in Waconia... before I ever had an art show or knew how to get one... I spent a lot of time looking for other artists online. I found comfort in asking others how they got started... or what inspired them. The internet is a magical thing... it seemed more mysterious back then... before facebook and before internet networking was really a thing at all. I found people I admired and I would email them and ask about their work and show mine. I met a few great people that way. The above photograph was inspired by a photograph done by someone I met that way in fact. His name is Don. He teaches art in New York and he does these fantastic photographs by drawing with neon lights. There are others I know that do that now... but back then... he was the only person I'd ever seen do it. He also does neon sculptures that are fascinating and playful... you can see them here if you like:
He encouraged me in my painting and once he even sent me paints and cray pas. He pushed me to always keep experimenting...
That same time of my life I "met" a photographer in Philadelphia. I loved his urban snapshots. He is also a painter. And I am lucky enough to own a few of his pieces... Anyway... this was all before I knew how to show or even thought much about showing at all. I was very intimidated by the whole process... one day... I got an email from Jonathan and he told me he was opening a gallery... and he'd like nothing more than for me to be the first artist to show with him. So... I did. I told Jason I had to go to Philadelphia for an art show... my art show... so we loaded up the truck (and I grabbed my best friend Gianna) and we hit the road. That was the hottest summer I can remember in my entire life. The air conditioner broke... and we were stopping every hour or so to buy ice from gas stations to hold to our foreheads. It was the most miserable... and in the same way... amazingly fun trip I can remember. I was so nervous. But surrounded by a lot of love and encouragement. To my surprise Don (from New York) drove out for my show. Being the art teacher he is... he was the only one to critique me... and give me constructive criticism. I wore flip flops and remember the sweat making my bangs stick to my forehead. Someone walked to the 7-11 across the street and bought us Yuenglings... no air conditioning in the gallery either.
Looking back, I can't believe the first show I ever did was in a gallery across the country. But why not. What an adventure this life is.