It seems that at each show there has been at least one key person who contributes their assistance in some way that is invaluable. Perhaps because they are a fundamental part of the event, or because they want to support me, or they really must own a piece of my work, these individuals have always come forward as collectors with money in hand to purchase their favorite artwork. It is only after they have proven this level of commitment to a piece I then gift it to them. In every case there is a lot of insistence on their part to pay. But in the end I convince them that by accepting my gift, they are giving me something much greater than money by allowing me to express my wholehearted gratitude to them for being instrumental in the fruition of my dream.
Please understand, I don't encourage artists to discount their prices or give away their art. In part because I believe it undermines the value of one's work. I also believe that a person's relationship to a particular piece of art is intimate, and foisting an undesired artwork on someone actually burdens them. Now they have this piece they perhaps feel obligated to display but aren't crazy about. Instead of a symbol of gratitude, it becomes an awkward reminder that their aesthetic taste was imposed upon by their artist friend. Just because they say they like it or it is their favorite piece in the collection, does not mean they want to own it. Unless, of course, they are willing to pony up the money for it.
My friend Sam, pictured above, has been helping me learn Mandarin since last June. He has also worked with me to name all but one of the paintings in the 我畫畫 Collection. I credit the titles to his deep understanding of the language, as well as his poetic and artistic sensibilities. Because of our collaboration, I was able to unite my love of art with my love of language learning. When he approached me about purchasing the painting 右, I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to gift it to him. Thank you, Sam!