It’s 2019 but I may 1984 this post…
Back in November of 2017 I returned to painting full time. It’s been a complex, challenging path – not without it’s fair share of well balance excitement (positive/negative, good/bad, yin/yang). I’ve struggled to get things back on track after a slow down of productivity and opportunity over a few years while working behind a desk doing something that wasn’t right for me. Some times, you need to step to the edge and lean in. Free fall. Trial by fire. Learn to fly.
The last year has seen some ups and downs. I started getting my work back in front of public eyes again after a quiet pause. Painting is a solitary practice. It can be lonely in a lot of ways. Head down, do the work you love and hope that there is a little response here and there. It’s a business. Concepts, design, produce, market, repeat. Punctuated with an overwhelming feeling of ‘WTF is going on in the world?’, days can get difficult. Hustle a design job here and there. Look for a new desk job. Paint. Design. Try new avenues. Try to stay healthy.
After over a decade of partnerships, I parted ways with two of the galleries I’d worked with. It was early in 2018 just as I was getting myself back on track and preparing for re-ignition. Bittersweet, but don’t look back. Always forward.
That’s where you come in. Whoever you are. Some of you I know, some are strangers stumbling here from wandering the internet of art. As the New Year begins and I pause for a brief reflection period to take stock of what has worked and what has failed, it is important that I acknowledge a few individuals and groups.
First, Toronto’s Canvas Gallery, whom I have worked with going on fifteen years, deserve a special note. I’ve mentioned this in my newsletter over the years, and always in polite conversation with other artists an clients. The team at Canvas had been instrumental early on in providing an added boost to my wild and relentless struggle to find what I was doing and where I was going. From abstract minimalist landscapes, figure work, billboard paintings and on… it hasn’t always worked, but they have always let me take risks and try new things with them. they have been honest and forthcoming with me at every step of the way in my career. They’ve been patient with me when I stumble, when I slow down, when I speed up. They’ve showcased and commissioned art from me. They have a large roster of Canadian Artist who I admire working in every subject matter and discipline and have always made me feel as valued as the others. They’re good people. I appreciate and respect them.
Second, but equally important – you. The person reading this. Random stranger on the internet. Instagram follower. Newsletter subscriber. Client. All friends to me. It’s important that I say to you, how much I appreciate you hanging on for the ride that has been my career over the last 20 years. Whether you are jumping in today, or have been around for a while. You are appreciated and as important as the work itself, to me. I paint because I feel the need to. But I make art with a dangerously fragile confidence in my self and my work. It’s can be a rough ride, but not without incredible satisfaction when the paint lands just right, or someone is moved by what I have produced. The audience is instrumental in a lot of ways, because I am not just speaking to myself in my paintings, but to everyone else out there. I appreciate the emails, the funny notes on social media, the kind words.
Reflecting on 2018, it is vital that I acknowledge all of the individuals over the years who have collected and commissioned my work over the years. Every one of you has played a part in keeping the machine in motion. This last year a few individuals who had collected paintings and prints from me have been particularly important to my career path. After a pause and restart, things can be quite challenging. The people who had reached out with words of encouragement had energized me. You reminded me that someone is watching and motivated me to keep trying new things and take more risks. New friends who I get to see once in a while at a rock show. Old friends I had lost touch with who reached out and reconnected.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
One hundred thousand hearts to you all this year. Now, let’s tear up the past and blast off.