I've been dreaming of having an art show at Umbrella Gallery in Deep Ellum for a long time. We're part of the faith community there and have been for several years, so each week I see the art hanging, hear the artist talks, dream of filling the white walls with my art some day.
Of course this has always seemed like a really sweet thing to say. "Ohh, wouldn't it be nice if...." or "Someday maybe I could...." If I'm honest, I never ever believed it could actually happen. A few times I got close to talking to the gallery curator when I would see her, but I always talked myself out of it.
Your art is not like the other art here.
You don't have an art degree.
Your art isn't good enough, real enough, serious enough.
I finally said out loud one day that my 2016 goal would be to hang a show in the gallery. Saying it out loud is great, really. But I've dreamed many dreams aloud and never brought them to life, so I don't tend to take myself too seriously. (Enneagram #7, right here people.)
Recently it sort of dawned on me that many of the successful artists I admire have one really powerful thing in common -- they seem to team up. They promote their work in groups, they pair up for shows and pop-ups and collaborations. They share studio spaces and dreams. And, although they don't always say it, I know they do this because creative work is exhilarating and life-giving but also terribly difficult at times. It's work that requires the ultimate buddy system if you have any hope of making it.
So, realizing I didn't have this community, I decided to get brave and make it happen.
Katie Craig is a fellow Dallas-based artist and I've admired her work for a long time. I've thought about reaching out many times in the past but she's very legit, you guys. She has an art degree and sells work on Minted and West Elm, and her work has been in Domino and all sort of other fabulous things that feel super professional. I was pretty certain she wouldn't want to have coffee with me.
One day I woke up with a little extra spunk and gusto than I usually have related to my art, and worked up the nerve to reach out to her. She responded almost immediately that she would love to connect and indeed did want to drink coffee with me. Who knew?
We met, we talked about our art, about being Californians (holla!), about how hard it can be to keep creating and working, and then....I told her about the gallery.
Suddenly it was a bigger dream. Her dream and mine. It had just a bit more momentum. Twice the momentum, really. That's the power of community. This is the magic of the buddy system. I'm not sure I had the nerve to ask for a show by myself, but with Katie somehow I felt twice as brave, twice as capable, and twice as hopeful that this dream could come to reality.
So together we pitched a show to the curator of the gallery. We created a (really kick ass) pitch deck, we found the beautiful ways our art works together, the common threads that keep us both painting, and we just asked nicely.
And guess what? This is beyond all comprehension, but.....
Two girls you know are having a REAL show at an ACTUAL gallery this Fall.
For real. I'm barely sitting in my chair. Our show opens August 20th, and the reception will be September 3rd.
We signed our contracts last night at the gallery and I made Abby, the lovely curator, take our photo. Super nerd alert and I'm wearing yoga pants and don't have any makeup on, but I didn't even care.
It's always surreal when something comes to life that you've had in your heart for so long. It's so sweet to do it together, in community with someone who inspires me. I'm so grateful that my first ever show will be hanging in a building that means so much to Jon and I, where we've spent many Sundays over the past 4 years growing and connecting, where we've met some of our closest friends. It's such a gift.
I can't help but think: If this seemingly impossible dream came to life almost instantly the moment it was done in community, what else could we do with twice the momentum?
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