Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Anniversary, Martin Rodgers, and Venice

A year ago today, I opened my first tiny solo exhibit at Gallery 203 on Trafalgar Street. It was a hot, sunny Beach day, like today, but after a long cooler-and-greyer not-quite-summer couple of months, the town was deserted. Just as well as I didn't have my last, seventh piece finished.

I had great fun, (yes, fun!) preparing, and learning about putting on a small exhibit, doing thing myself, with a lot of help from new friends whose company and opinion I've come to appreciate even more over the year. And so much pep talk from artists I've "met" only through the Internet.

Serendipitously, (or did he remember? Nah...), this morning I received an email from Martin Rodgers, then-CEO of Arts Marketing. I hadn't been in communication with Martin since he left for a bigger, more exciting job in Wellington last August. But I did send him my "business" Christmas card with all kinds of things scribbled on it, the kind of things I would have told him to gauge his reaction and solicit his expertise about how I should go about the business of “being an artist”.

I couldn't read it right away, but had to I savor the moment knowing I had it in my Inbox. When I finally sat down to read it, I got a bit teary.

He's the man who catapulted my career as an "artist", and by that I mean the public, participating, exhibiting, trying-to-be-known side of my weaving. The idea of having an exhibit was my own, but the way I went around it, most activities which helped me meet other artists and arts administrators, most activities I’ve taken part in to sell/exhibit have been Arts Marketing projects during Martin’s reign. And I took plenty of advantage of one-on-one sessions to make sure I was on the right track. By far the biggest gift he gave me was the knowledge that, after all the discussions, Q&A’s and debriefings, I knew what I needed to do in this unknown world.

I was a pathetic, dependent newbie who couldn’t afford to pay the annual subscription, so he even allowed me to do office work in lieu. And I was tickled pink when he said to be in touch when I visited Wellington. You bet, and I’ll be sure to prepare my A4 page of bullet points so we cover everything when I see you next.

Earlier in the morning a woman came to my house to buy a specific cashmere scarf she saw at Twilight Market (an Arts Marketing project) back in December. Besides the fact that she was so lovely and delightful, it was wonderful to have an income! Jay from Red Art emailed me to say she also sold a cashmere last week, so I'm off to a rip-roaring financial start this year.

This evening, I received a card from Golden Bay artist Kathy Reilly, whom I met at the Arts Expo (ditto) last year; she bought a cashmere scarf at the end of the Expo, and she wrote me to say the scarf started 2008 in Venice, Italy! How wonderful for the scarf, and how wonderful for Kathy to tell me. (Next trip, however, take me instead!)

January 29 – another anniversary in my life. I think I’ll start having some kind of a ritual on this day every year.

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