I’m still convinced that this is all a dream I constructed in my head and that I’m going to wake up any minute. Today I was featured in an ad in Times Square, New York. Vista Print was running a small business spotlight promotion, and they picked my business cards to be one of the featured businesses! My cards have a picture of “Bed Head” on the back, so that means my painting was up in Times Square. Let me say that again. My painting was up in Times Square today! Unreal.
I had posted a picture of my new cards on the Instagram account I have for my artwork (click on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the page to follow!) and tagged Vista Print. A few days later Vista Print commented on the picture asking if I’d like the opportunity to be featured – which of course I said yes to! As an emerging artist who is just starting out, I can’t pass on the opportunity for this kind of publicity.
On Friday, May 25th, I woke up and immediately got on Instagram. I followed the link to Vista Print’s live footage of their Times Square Ad. The ad was on one of the large electronic screens on the south end of Times Square. I sat and eagerly waited as other small business’s cards appeared on the slideshow. Then, it happened. I recognized “Bed Head” on the screen and I felt my stomach drop. It couldn’t really be happening. My painting couldn’t actually be on a larger-than-life screen in Times Square. I am a homebody from Spokane, WA, not an established artist who has their work shown in New York. But here I was, up on the screen in front of thousands of people.
My card was on the screen for no more than 10 seconds, but the fact that I was included has completely overjoyed me. I am only 2 months post-graduation and am still getting my footing as an emerging artist. To be featured in such a monumental location this early in my career as an artist is such an enormous opportunity. I am so humbled, grateful, and honored. Deciding to pursue painting after racking up almost $30,000 in student loans on two business degrees was unnerving. I think this feature is a big fat sign that I am heading in the right direction.
Never let small-minded people tell you
No, I don’t use windows to make my paintings look like you’re looking out a window at a giant flower. Although, how cool would that be in real life? To wake up in the morning, look out the window, and be engulfed in the petals of an enormous dahlia would be a magical start to the day. Talking about it has inspired me to eventually do a landscape painting in that manner, but until that day, there are several other reasons I prefer using old windows instead of traditional canvas frames.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time on the job with my dad who is a contractor that specializes in older buildings and historic preservation. One of my favorite things about his projects is that he always finds a way to reuse materials. He has used older windows in several of his projects and I guess I just fell in love with them at a young age. Whereas he will use the windows as room dividers, I use them as canvas frames. I’m a total “daddy’s girl,” so naturally I got inspiration from him.
If I were to build a canvas from scratch, I’d have to build a frame first. My theory is why build a frame when I can use one that is already intact and has decades of character? Getting a window ready to have canvas stretched into it requires a hefty amount of elbow grease but I believe it’s worth it. I just pop out the glass, sand the frame, and then scrub it with bleach water to clean it up.
There is something to be said about the contradiction of the older windows with floral subjects as well. Some of the windows I have are almost 100 years old! They have weathered the storms and are still in great shape. When I pair an old window with a flower, it’s a contradiction of lifelines. Flowers are seasonal, at least in the Inland Northwest where I live. They bloom in the spring and are gone by the fall. So here we have a frame that is decades old holding a flower that has a life span of sometimes just weeks; I think that is a beautiful pairing.
I want to thank everyone that has been so generous in gifting me windows to use. My collection has grown and grown, and now it is starting to take over the basement of the warehouse my art studio is in! Some of my favorites are from the Spokane Courthouse and one of the buildings at Riverfront Park that got demolished recently for the park’s remodel. I’m excited to get painting with them and find them the perfect home.
Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog post! You are awesome.