My little piece of art in its humble home
We never realize how simple little actions, can change someone’s day and in some cases maybe their lives. Life has been a little unpredictable for all of us recently since our presidential election. We may not have any control over the election results, but we can choose our attitudes and how we treat each other. Simple acts, a smile, holding a door, letting someone in line, can make a big difference. No Name Art Group’s recent project could be that simple act.
Since 2011 I’ve been fortunate to be part of this fantastic group of artists whose motto is to use art to promote positive changes for ourselves, our local communities and our world. It was started in 1999 by a small group of artists who worked in the corporate world of deadlines and overtime. They had forgotten what it was like to make art, just for art’s sake. By collaborating on art for art’s sake, they began to make art fun again.
Image from No Name Art Group’s recent project
It didn’t take very long for other artists to joined in on the fun, to remember why we truly make art as artists, to answer that call from our souls. They started to hold shows with the art that was created and people wanted to buy the art, but the art was about the act of simply creating. So they decided to use the proceeds to make a difference. We have raised funds by adorning wine bottles, note cards, water bottles and much more. We include the charities that we’re working with to help their causes. Now the group is “Artists Making A Difference”.
No one could have predicted that the world would need some extra loving when our latest art projects were to be released into the wild. But sometimes the universe has a way of taking care of us when we need it most. The current project touches the world from my little corner of the woods in Doylestown, Pennsylvanis to New York City, California and far off places like, Costa Rica and Australia.
We were all given a rock to create our masterpieces on. When finished, our task was to leave the rock in a spot that someone could admire it and carry the love we’ve placed into them. The art of these tiny canvases is wonderful. Our group has set up a web page to track the rocks travel to their forever homes. You can see it here at http://www.nonameartgroup.org/rocks/ .
Close up of the art’s progression
Creating my piece in a pen and ink style with a scattering of a flowers I placed it a spot that was close to my heart. With the hopes that someone in their time of need, hope and encouragement would find it.
I spent many years volunteering as a chaplain at Doylestown Hospital, visiting with patients and families in times of joy and sorrow, in the ER, ICU and patient’s rooms. It always touched me that I was allowed to be a witness to their heart’s joys, sorrows and pain. Those encounters affect all in involved and leave an imprint on our souls. I still carry a part of all those visits on my own soul.
The Chapel at Doylestown Hospital with its George Nakashima furniture
My little piece of art was left humbly in a tiny little corner of the hospital, atop a majestic piece of art created by the infamous master furniture maker George Nakashima. In a room adorned with a beautiful stained glass wall created by local artist Ed Byrne. The Mary and Gerald Santucci Chapel is a place of hope, quiet and solitude. It was my wish that my little rock would bring the same to someone.
Colorful stained glass by artist Ed Byrne
I’m excited to watch all the little gems created by our group find their ways home and look forward to our next project. It’ll be another chance to make a difference in the world, even if in a small way. Remember its the tiny pebble, that when thrown into the big lake, makes ripples. Choose today to make a difference, share your smile, hold a door or buy a cup of coffee. It will not only make someone’s day, but your own as well.
My Surtex 2016 promo piece
This post is being written as I make final preparations for 2016’s Surtex show in the big apple that’s set to launch this weekend. I scurry about cleaning up files for my portfolio, look at my to do list for the hundredth time and pack up my suitcase filled with the regular travel items, as well as the essential show stuff.
Close up of the banners that will adorn booth #568
This journey has been a long one, beginning with my dream to be an artist when I was a wee one. For as long as I can remember I have been passionate about being creative, its what makes me happy and truly makes my soul sing. The path has had some detours but with my decision to go back to school a few years ago to finish up a degree started many moons ago and my subsequent graduation in 2014, I’m pretty sure I am following the right road.
I have walked the hallowed floors of Jacob Javits Center in years past, beginning as a returning student in 2013. I went to NYC to see what this giant art licensing show was all about. When I arrived I felt like a kid in a candy store, with all the art and inspiration around me. I took notes, asked questions and made connections. The following year I returned the day after graduating with my degree in graphic design and illustration from Moore College of Art. I walked the floor with a book of art and surface patterns created for my senior thesis. That year I had more contacts and had become friends with many from the show the year before. Some of those friends were from a collective I had joined, the Cultivate Art Collective. So in 2015 I dipped my toe a bit further into the Surtex arena with the collective. My art and its style were accepted and some art directors had interest. That gave me the courage to dive in and fully embrace the Surtex experience this year.
My Surtex freebies, calendars so people can remember my art everyday
Now mind you this exhibition is not for the faint of heart, as it is a huge undertaking, not to mention expensive. I read that someone had priced out the square footage of a booth for the 3 days the show is open to the public, would be equivalent to renting an apartment at $900,000 for the year. I know real estate in New York City is expensive but that takes the cake. With the support of my family, I choose to invest in myself and my dreams and get a booth on my own at this year’s show in their new “design district”. A place intended for first time show exhibitors, a virtual 5’x5′ box with a table and 2 chairs.
There were moments in the last few months after I made the decision, that I wondered if I would be prepared and if the monies would be there to find this expedition . The amount of work needed was never a problem, as I have continued since graduation building on my portfolio weekly. Taking on challenges given each week through creative groups I belong to. This was to be my investment into my dreams.
I’ve been a busy gal putting together the pieces needed to complete my booth, banners, signs, portfolios, marketing pieces and new art. As well as promoting myself and the show to the industry through emails, postcards and marketing campaigns. All the while continuing the freelance work that helps support our family.
This will be a first for my daughter Kayla too. She has just finished her second year at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Kayla will be helping me out in my booth, giving me a break when needed. We will also have a few designs that she and I have collaborated on together. Who knows maybe this will help launch her design future too.
A bonus sign for my booth
As the minutes tick by till I board the train to New York and meet my daughter on Saturday, my stomach does tumbles and my sleep is tossed. I have no doubt that I will learn much, but I also hope that this week is truly the moment that propels my dreams into full blast. If you are attending the show make sure to stop by my booth #568 and say hello. You can also follow along with me on my instagram page at http://www.instagram.com/gracefull_arts as I will be posting pics while there. Make sure to look out for my next blog, when I round up my time in New York and see what the outcome of all this prep is. Until next time; here’s to fingers, knees and toes crossed!
Last week after a good bit of time thinking about it, several months researching and putting it together, I finally launched my online art shop. My new shop http://www.theshopatgracefullarts.com will be a place to find original art works, as well as prints that I create. A way to put myself and my art out into the world. The internet has made it possible for artists to be in charge of their careers and not wholly rely on stores, galleries and agents to represent and sell their creations. That can be a good and a bad thing. I think it is especially fortunate to those of us who are in the infancy of our careers.
“Oh Joy” – mixed media piece, available now as a print in the new shop
I took a bit of time to really find the right fit for me and the shop. I wanted a software program that would work with my current brand and would allow me to tweak it so that it would communicate with my current blog and website. I also wanted to make sure that my delivery of a fine product would also represent me. That meant determining the best products and printing practices to use, for a quality product. As well as what was the best way to package and ship the art once it was purchased. That research wasn’t all work but a little fun too, as I got to pick the brains of some of my favorite artists and buy a little art from them for myself so I could experience their process. (It was research remember) Lucky me as I now have their work hanging in my studio. Thank you Stephanie Ryan and Jessica Swift for answering questions and for the new art on my walls.
The print “Tribal Gecko”, part the PHD collection in the shop
After I had all my ducks in a row, so to speak, in regards to the software, shipping and printing, I then had to figure out what work would best represent me in the shop. I have two art personalities, one is more graphic in nature and the other more painterly. I wondered how I would integrate them both into the shop. The answer was right under my nose and it took my good friend, artist Joe DeVito, to point it out. He said that even though the styles were different, their feeling and meanings were the same. So the more graphic feeling art will fall under my Pamela Hamilton Designs collection (or PHD). That’s where a lot of my surface pattern work and posters live. The other more painterly mixed media art lives under the Gracefull Arts collection. Both collections portray my hopes that my art can make someone happy, bring a smile to their face and a whisper to their souls.
One of the things I wanted to incorporate into the site were testimonials. I was a bit shy in asking others to tell me how my art made them feel, but not one person said no. It also was a blessing to me when they did start sending me their words of appreciation rolled in, as it proved to me, that what I was feeling and seeing when I created my art, they were feeling it too. So many times I create art intuitively, not knowing what will show up or the message that will come through. This was proof that I was listening.
“Be Yourself” available as a print with or without the quote
Here are just a bit of what some have said.
“When I look at Pam’s work I find that I smile. Her choice of colors make me Happy. The world could use more Happy!” – Susan Smith
“Pam I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy that you have decided to pursue your love of Art. The variety of technical skills you apply to both old and modern style art and prints are all wonderful communications of your emotions and provide perfect harmony with hints of nature throughout! Thank you for sharing your treasures!” – Lisa Walton
“I love the way Pam’s artwork makes me feel. Each one of her collections has a unique appeal for me. The color and patterns used in her textiles are pleasant – and touch a warm cord inside. The photography collections are amazing- whether its the dynamic colors of flowers in February (lending hope for spring) or the patterns of New York- there is something so simple, and so soothing to look at. Her artwork, provides a sense of serenity.” – Sue Ann DiVito
“St. Francis” and “St. Clare”, part of the Angels, Saints & Sages collection in the shop
Once the decisions were made on the collections, I needed to figure out which pieces in particular would fit the shop. Some of you may remember from my last blog about the peace prayers that were held in Syria by my friend Jimmy Twyman, well the two pieces above are the pieces I began during that peace vigil, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare.They were special to me and had to be included. You’ll also find original pieces from time to time for sale and they have their own separate page in the store. Along with our Furry Friends, Everyday Beauty and Angels, Saints and Sages. Then it was time to photograph the pieces and prep them for the website, figure out what I wanted to say and put it all together.
Here is an original for sale “Air Mailed #3” part of a 6 piece series
I wanted to be able to have the shop work seamlessly with my current website at http://www.gracefullarts.com as well as the blog you are now reading. So that degree in graphic design from Moore College of Art and Design came into practice, as I was able to brush off my coding skills and make the the three sites communicate. I was able to make it so you can reach the shop from the link at the top of this blog or from the shop link in the website. As well as reach my website and the blog from within the shop. I’ve also added links to my Society 6 shop where you can order on demand specialty items like; phone cases, shower curtains, pillows and much more.
Just a sampling of the items available in my Society 6 shop
The shop has been live for over a week now and I think we’ve shaken out the cob webs and glitches. It’s been fun watching the analytical numbers of how many people have visited the shop, the folks who are signing up for the newsletter and best of all the sales of people who are happy with the art. In the words of Sally Fields in her 1984 Oscar acceptance speech, “you like me (or I should say my art)… right now… you like me. Thank you.”
So hope on over to the shop and have a look around. Let me know what you think. As a thank you for our grand opening use the discount code Blog GO10 for 10% off your next purchase. I’m headed back to my easel now as I begin to prep for the 2016 Surtex show coming up in NYC in May. So you’ll know where to find me and the pups.
Here are the links to my shops and sites;
http://www.gracefullarts.com (full website) http://www.theshopatgracefullarts.com (the online store) and http://www.society6.com/gracefullartsbypamhamilton (the Society 6 shop)
And a HUGE thank you to those friends who let me pick their brains;
Mixed media piece of Ganesha, “Those who wish to leave footprints will never fly”
I know there must be others, who feel the unrest and wish that they could do something to help foster peace. At times it can seem overwhelming with everything in the news. It can make us weep at how others are treated and make us think, that as one individual, we can’t make a change. I too have felt this things, but I have also realized that, as one I may not cause a big wave of change, but as a group we can. Two opportunities have come about this week to participate in and begin that wave.
Think of us all in a giant football stadium. I use the term “football” because throughout the world we all have one, whether we play American football, rugby or soccer. Now imagine that one person raises their hands and stands up. Soon others join in and eventually a giant wave begins to roll throughout the whole arena. It takes a few trips around to create momentum, but even if you originally didn’t want to participate you get caught up in it. This is how we can begin to cause a change in the world. Mother Theresa tells us to “be the change you wish to see in the world”, others have said, “to act as if and the change will happen.”
In the early 2000s I was searching for a way to understand it all. I had been teaching yoga for a few years and one day it dawned on me, that even though we may all have different belief systems, we would all come together every week to practice our yoga and meditate on making ourselves better people. I wondered if there was a way to do the same in the outside world.
I joined the Seminary of Spiritual Peacemaking, a true seminary, but with a different name and a different philosophy. I wanted to learn of the world’s religions, not of just their differences, but more importantly what the commonalities were. Trust me there are many. I felt if we could focus on what was the same, what was in-common, then we could begin a dialogue of change. I spent two years studying, receiving my Masters in Divinity and a title I never use, Non-Denominational Minister, except when my children call me out on something with “Reverend Pam”, our children truly are our greatest teachers.
1/My friend Meredith Murray and I in front of a waterfall they actually turn off everyday
2/A peace (pace in Italian) flag that we carried on the pilgrimage and gifted to the Pope
3/ “The peace troubadour” Jimmy Twyman and myself at the Vatican
During that time I had one of the most life altering experiences. In 2005, I traveled with 70 Spiritual Peacemakers from 17 countries on a 130 mile 9 day journey following in the steps of St. Francis of Assisi, for a pilgrimage of world peace. Along the way we were greeted with much love and support by the Italian people. Even at times as TV stars as the Italian news followed us. On the walk I saw beautiful sights, experienced shifts and made life long friendships. On September 21st (United Nations World Peace Day) we made it to Rome and to an audience with Pope Benedict. That long journey from Assisi to Rome tested me physically, mentally and spiritually. One big lesson it did teach me was, that as one person we can make a small ripple,but joined by others we can make a big wave.
Now onto the two opportunities I spoke of to create a ripple of peace. This past week my friend Jimmy Twyman (in the picture above) traveled to Syria to hold a peace concert in the war ravaged area and on February 1st, to be the anchor of a world wide peace prayer. Hundreds of thousands of people joined in at specified time, for ten minutes, to hold the vision of peace in the world. A monastery that I’ve worked with in Southern India, the Drepung Gomang Monastery, also joined in from their prayer hall, where thousands of Buddhist monks prayed for peace. Now the media was calling him crazy, that he was going to end up hurt or even killed, but I’ve seen Jimmy go into other places in the past to do the same; Bosnia, Iraq, Jerusalem, so I knew he would be safe. He was joined on the ground with leaders of the three Abrahamic traditions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
In a post after the prayer vigil to those who joined him in prayer, he told us that “just before we began the world synchronized meditation, a battle raged in the village directly across from us. The sound of guns and mortar shells rang through the air. As we approached the time of the vigil something suddenly changed. The fighting stopped and everything grew calm. Around 100 people were present with us as we watched the villages and we began holding silence as people around the world began sending their prayers of peace. It felt like healing rain was falling all around us. When the vigil closed we were amazed to hear a pack of wolves begin to howl for exactly 1 minute just beneath us, as if the earth itself felt our prayers.”
Those on site at the prayer vigil planting a peace pole, photo courtesy of James Twyman
The second opportunity to join in and participate with the peace ripple affect is coming up and I hope that you might join me with this. There is an organization that since 1994 bi-annually gathers art work from around the world and distributes it among the participants. The idea behind this peace project is that we can create community among us through a gift of global friendship. This wonderful project was nominated for a 2002 UNESCO Peace Prize for tolerance and non-violence. This is how it works it works, go to their website at http://www.globalartproject.org and register. They will then match you up with someone else in the world. The art exchange occurs during the week of April 23-30 “resulting in thousands of people sending messages of peace around the world at one time—visions of unity simultaneously encircle the Earth.” You may be saying but I’m not an artist, that doesn’t matter, in fact this is open to adults as well as children and the art can be anything created with love. In a past global art exchange I received a beautiful book of hand written poems.
My piece from 2012’s exchange to my art partner in Japan
Students in Kita, Mali who sent their art to The Village School, California, USA.*
Annette Hoermann from Bruxelles, Belgium was sent to her partner in Prescott, AZ, USA.*
*Photos courtesy the Global Art Project
So do you still think that one person can’t begin a ripple to change the world? Remember even a kind smile can change a persons day. Hop on board with me on the wave of change, I”ll be the one standing next to you in the arena. Till next time keep the waves of change rolling.
What is in those small quiet moments when we take the time to disconnect from electronics and the crazy world spinning all around us. Many times we are caught up in our jobs, the kids and the to do lists, rushing from one place to the next. Yet somewhere deep inside we sense that there is a calm place that our angels and guides are speaking with us, whispering words of encouragement or nudging us towards or away from something. Recently I listened to those gentle nudgings and signed up for a six month painting course with an artist from Portland Oregon, who I have long since admired, Kelly Rae Roberts. The name of the course is what really spoke to me at first, Spirit Wings-An Angel Painting Course to Inspire and Manifest Your Dreams.
Kelly Rae is one of those people who beams with such joy and happy grace. You sense that in her art work, blogs, books and if you follow her on Instagram, you see it in snap shots of her, wear your joy project. I first learned of her when I picked up and read her book, Taking Flight, the book spoke to me in many ways and made me realize that our paths of listening to that small voice were similar. I have been a believer in spirit, angels and the good of the world for many, many years. Its always nice to hit upon a fellow soul traveler. Since picking up that first book I have had the honor of taking and learning from Kelly Rae often. I watch and study how she runs her business, creates her enlightened art and inspires a community of liked minded soul seekers. One of the things I am loving about this course is the introduction to new materials. Much of my freelance work is digital and has me attached to a screen and keyboard. This course is so freeing and such a great opportunity to just dive in and get my hands dirty. Many of my family and friends know how angels or butterflies have been a constant in my artwork and I have done mixed media pieces for many years. Getting lost in the layering and textured backgrounds that it creates. What I haven’t really experienced up till now was the use of oil pastels into the mix. I have to admit I am in love with their rich buttery textures and how easily they blend together. It is like working with creamy buttery yummy-ness. Since being introduced a few weeks ago I’ve been playing with and trying to incorporate them into other pieces that I’m currently working on.
An angel through the process –
“Listen to the notes that whisper on the wind”
What has truly been exciting about this art making process, is quieting my mind and truly just stepping out of the way. For me it has become another form of meditation as I just play with the materials and allow the piece to unfold. I have always admired great artists and writers who, as you gaze at the work or read their books, you have a sense that they stepped aside and allowed spirit to create through them. This is kind of how I am feeling with this current work. I am not sitting down and composing or planning the piece before I start. Honestly I am surprised when I am finished, its as if I am seeing it for the first time its a gift given to me by spirit. I learned a long time ago that when something is effortless and brings you joy, its what you are meant to be doing.
Thank you Kelly Rae for inspiring us all with your work and sharing your talents. I look forward to spending the next five months with you and our fellow “spirit angel seekers”. It is my hope that as I continue to quiet my mind, this new artwork unfolding will not only whisper to my soul, but speak to the spirit of the viewer as well. Until next time dear friends, grab a moment from your busy day to take a few breaths and listen for your own quiet whispers too.
To learn more about Kelly Rae Roberts check out her link here; www.kellyraeroberts.com
You might remember in my last blog post I mentioned something about dreaming big and taking journeys. In honor of my oldest’s birthday and the incredible journey he is currently on, this blog post is about him. He has always been one of my biggest champions and my most honest critic. Twenty seven years ago I embarked on the hardest most remarkable journey I could take, I became a mother. I would reaffirm that choice three more additional times after that. All of my children are now out on there own, taking life by the horns (literally, for one you will soon see) and becoming their own unique beings. An empty nest is a big adjustment after so many years of raising four children, but I now get to sit back and marvel at the people those little poppets (as a south african friend used to call them) have become. Boy is this mama proud of the constant pursuit of their dreams and the beauty they have on the inside and out.
Dylan is my oldest and right now the most risk taking of all my children. He has been sports minded and competitive, dare I say, right from the moment of his birth. He was always on the go and very early on had an interest in sports, be it basketball, soccer, football, rugby, golf, racing or anything else in between. Even field day at elementary school became a championship event. One birthday was spent with his me camping in Cooperstown attending the baseball hall of fame and a AMA motocross race.
So it was no surprise that when he went off to college he would pursue a degree in sport management. He attended Florida State University on a partial scholarship as a manager for the football team. As with everything Dylan does, he does it 110%. What started out as a way to throw off another team by signaling in defensive plays by a manager from the sidelines, became a permanent task for him throughout the rest of the time that he worked with the team. Being so far from home the highlight for us was when FSU’s football games were broadcast on national TV. We would all gather around the TV screen to check in on him as the cameras caught him in action on the sidelines.
(1) Dylan, on the right at his very first rugby game. (2) On the way to scoring at try at Florida State University. (3) Playing down under with the Warringah Rugby Club. (4) Getting ready to kick an extra point for the 2015 State Champions, the Orlando Griffins.
He also had a chance to play his first love of rugby at a Division 1 level. Going on to set records, playing on many select teams and be named MVP two years in a row. As in all things Dylan does he tackled his time with the team with full gusto, throughout his time at FSU wearing hats of player, team manager, captain and at times as a certified referee. When he went back to FSU to get his masters degree he even wore the hat as a coach, beside his best friend. To this day he still helps the by helping to run the alumni association. In the summer of his senior year Dylan went to Boulder Colorado and did his required internship working with USA Rugby, the governing body of all things rugby in the United States. One thing I have learned, is that rugby is a special club to be part of, no matter where you go you will always have a family to support you. Dylan has experienced this everywhere he has traveled or lived.
Dylan exploring the mountains of New Zealand from a motocross trail.
In between his under grad and graduate school year, Dylan decided to take a chance at seeing more of the world and pursuing his love of rugby by traveling down under. While there he made ends meet by bar-tending part time (as much as we Americans love an Aussie accent they appreciate an American one down there), he also worked with the Australian Rugby Union. He even had a chance to play authentic Australian rugby as a member of the Warringah Rugby Club. Embracing what the world of sports had to offer during his time there he took a trip to New Zealand to see the Rugby World Cup Championships be played out. While in New Zealand he wanted to explore the country and see it from the adventure’s eye. Renting a motocross bike he headed to the mountains and hit the trails. He even headed to the famous bridge in Queenstown NZ, where bungee jumping was birthed, strapped on his harness and took a leap of faith.
This past year he has been working with the MLS’s newest soccer franchise, Orlando City Soccer Club, as they launched their inaugural season. After he sold the last season ticket the club laid off the sales team. As you can guess I wasn’t very surprised when he decided to again head off on another adventure to find his next position in the world of sports. I’ve tried to teach my children to dream big and to take chances on those dreams, so why not head to Europe for a few months, look for new employment at the same time seeking another sporting adventure, culminating in London for this year’s Rugby World Cup Championships. My only requirement to have my blessing was that he write a blog on his experiences, even if I was the only one to ever read it.
A throwback to basketball in the backyard and under the Eieffel Tower this past July 4th.
With much research and planning he packed a bag and left for Europe. He will meet up with friends at different locations, beginning with Cam in Paris. Their plans so far are to run with the bulls in Pamplona, watch a few stages the Tour de’France, catch a Moto GP race in Italy, play rugby with a former teammate from Orlando in Scotland and finish with the World Cup in England.
They are budgeting tight, traveling by train and staying in hostels, trying to see Europe on a dime (or should I say euro). The budget is where the brotherly love comes in. Dylan’s youngest brother Sawyer recently had a chance to speak with him while he is traveling. They spoke of the things he could do while seeking out employment. With the budget so tight Sawyer was worried that he wouldn’t eat enough or be too concerned about funding that he might not get to experience this trip of a lifetime to the fullest. His big brother has been there for Sawyer through the good and recent hard times, so he wanted to do something to give back. His idea was to set up a GoFundMe page, to help offset some of the expenses. Sawyer is so excited to somehow be part of Dylan’s trip by helping him out in any small way that he can. To learn more about the funding page please check out this link- http://www.gofundme.com/Dylansadventure
(1) Brotherly love, Dylan and Sawyer at the beginning. (2) A surprise night on the sidelines helping his big brother out during a FSU/Maryland game (3) On a trip to Orlando for a R&R visit.
You can see by the stories of my oldest offspring, that the last 27 years have been of a life filled with set goals, BIG dreams, many accomplishments and maybe a few grey hairs. I am sure this unique way of job hunting, coupled with a sporting adventure twist ,will also be a success. It will be chalked full of enough great memories to last him a lifetime. To follow along on Dylan’s travels and to add one more (besides his Mom) to his blog readership go to http://www.wonderlustwalkabout.com. You will get a different perspective of Europe and I guarantee you a bit of a chuckle. I’m not only proud of Dylan’s courage and risk taking but also to be called Dylan’s mom. Let me wish Dylan a happy birthday and till next time go out and have an adventure today.
I’m a little late writing about this recent experience, but as they say “better late, then never.” A few weeks ago I had the honor of checking something off my dream bucket list, a chance to show as an exhibiting artist at Surtex. Something I have been dreaming about since my “what did I really want to be when I grew up moment” a few years ago.
As many of your know when the economy downsized about six years ago and real estate did its “every ten year adjustment”, I took a step back to evaluated my life and my 20+ year real estate career. As much as I had success in my real estate business and loved my career, something was missing. For as long as I could remember creativity was vital. Out of high school I attended college studying fine arts and receiving my associates degree from Bucks County Community College. Then I worked in the print industry for a few years before starting a family and life going in a different direction.
But the creativity always found a way to bubble up to the surface, finding ways to escape. Be it late nights painting on the dinning room table, creating my annual holiday card, rehabbing houses or even with the marketing involved in real estate. So it was no surprise that when faced with life changes, that the creativity won out. My soul wanted to sing again. So I headed back to college at Moore College of Art as the oldest kid in the class and completed my BFA in graphic design and illustration.
We were all pleasantly surprised when we found out the Collective was represented on the back of the official directory.
Fast forward to the end of May and my journey to New York City to attend Surtex. This show is the largest art licensing show held annually at the Jacob Javitz center. It is a place where artists, agents, art directors, manufacturers and industry insiders meet to network, buy art and find new talent. It is a kaleidoscope of creativity as Surtex, the National Stationary Show and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair all inhabit the same space for the week.
A year after graduating and working on freelance work, all the while squeezing in time for my own personal pieces, I was ready to descend on to the next chapter of my career. Armed with a portfolio filled with over 50 new collections I was ready for my debut in the Collective Art Agency booth. I had already walked the show floor the prior two years getting the lay of the land and networking with industry insiders, so I had hoped I was ready.
This year though I was not only being represented at the show, but I also had the opportunity to share this wonderful experience and art world with my daughter. Kayla has just finished her first year as a fashion design student at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC. So not only was I able to spend the evenings with her and her room mates, exploring the city, but I now had a place to lay my head at night. Although not too much rest for the weary as the week of Surtex also collided with her finals week and a move into a new apartment. Did I say it was a 5th floor walk-up? So the pillow at night was a welcomed respite.
Upon arrival the first morning of the show, I have to admit I got a bit emotional when I eyed the Collective’s booth decked out in all the fantastic art of my fellow collectives and spied my name and artwork up on the panels. The next few days were filled with walking the great grounds of Jacob Javitz Center exploring all the fabulous creativity in all three shows. Networking with new friends and old ones, attending workshops from industry leaders, learning of the upcoming trends and filling up my creative cup till it honestly was running over.
Pattern and inspiration could be found everywhere you looked.
I came away with great feedback to my art and a few interested companies looking to work with me and my collections in the future. Also with a validation that those dreams long ago shelved were right to wake up my soul and push to the future. But honestly I think the biggest thing I came away with was such a profound admiration for my young daughter who came late to the creative party, but has found her passion and as excelled in her first year in design school. I watched as she mingled with the other artists, asking questions and engaging in conversations.
Having almost no sewing experience and very little actual art education, she was accepted to not only FIT but also to Parsons and my alma mater, Moore College of Art. Her hard work has excelled her talents so much. With many late night 3am phone calls in tears to her mama that she wasn’t sure she could do it, she persevered, learned a ton and has created some beautiful pieces, one of which was chosen by the school to be displayed for the fall semester.
I’ve tried to teach my children from the time they were wee ones, that “if you do what you love you’ll never work a day and your life.” I’m slowly taking my own advice. I’ve also tried to teach them to DREAM BIG, you’ll soon see in my next blog post that my oldest son, Dylan is taking that advice too. Overall I can say that this experience has been a success. It has been validation that it’s ok to reinvent myself and important to listen when my soul speaks up, she knows whats she’s talking about. So until next time, take a little time to dream, you’ll never know which of those dreams will come true next. Pam 🙂