My high school art teacher called me in January to inform me that she was retiring from teaching this year. She also wanted to know if I would be interested in her job. At first, I had to absorb that my high school art teacher was actually retiring! I'm no spring chicken, but it's been decades since taking her classes. Needless to say, when she went on to explain that she had been teaching Talented Art to elementary and middle school kids and that the classes were small, etc., I jumped at the opporuttunity. It was a long process, and fast forward today, I am now a Talented Art teacher! I'm not sure how Orleans Parish does their recruiting, but I am quite impressed with St. Charles Parish Schools. Everyone is so positive, encouraging and really about educating kids! I've been wanting to teach kids and teens for a minute but not in the chaotic manner in which most inner city art teachers & teaching artists are bombared with in regards to oversized classes, tons of disciplinary issues and trying to teach students who could care less about art. I am thankful for this opportunity and trust that my art career will be working side by side along my teaching career. My goal is to be a steward of excellence and a trail blazer for the Artists and Art Educators.... A balancing act indeed!
I've been promoting and selling my artwork for almost a decade now, and I absolutely love creating art!!! I'm so thankful! Needless to say, the misperceptions, comments and questions I get from folks that I encounter are endless. For starters, the infamous "You do portraits?" is no exception. NEVER tell an artist this UNLESS you plan on purchasing a painting FIRST or REALLY have an interest in that artist's style and content. I've lost count of how many folks who've run up to me in almost desperation with barely a glance at my presented work to ask, "You do portraits?" Maybe it's the statement that peeves me....
Advice/Tip: Make sure that if you are at a show or exhibit, take a few seconds to browse the artist's work before asking, even if you've already seen work online... It comes off disrespectful to ask for something that is not what the artist is selling. In many cases, it'll be a premium $ since it requires the artist to go out the way to create a portrait for you....I'm just saying. Here's the deal: Instead of "You do Portraits?" ask instead, "I am interested in ordering a custom painting from you because I love your style." Ok....this may be asking too much but very very few artists will turn down a custom painting.
Before closing, I have a lil story to make you a laugh. I was featured at a local library this past spring when two lovely ladies (in their 60's maybe) approached me. They loved my work. They were in awe of my work... so much so, they wanted to pay me a "few dollars" to create portraits of their parents to go on a family reunion t-shirt."We just want two small portraits to go on our tshirts." Well, I gave them my card and off they went. A few months later, I got a phone call at 12:13AM (yes! after midnight) message: "Sharika, this is .... and I am in a bind baby, please call cause I need dem portraits for our t-shirts asap....please call me back!"
....Next topic"Do you paint white people" LOL! .. stay tuned...
Where did the time go! Working Jazz Fest was a little bit a good, okay and "I'll take that" all wrapped in one! For starters, the weather was great! Again, the weather was great!! And even with the occasional sand storms, the weather was great! The vibe this year was a little more calm then previous years and my food favorite, shrimp and grits, didn't dissappoint (yummy! ).
Thank you to my homegirl Courney Clark and buddy Carlos Neville for helping to make set up and sales look so easy. Love ya'll to pieces! Overall, I'm thankful for a great fest.... now on to children's book !
With all the bad weather events around the country, there is hope that there may be something to celebrate about in New Orleans. And that's decent weather or maybe warm weather? Throw me something Mister! or Misses! Well, I doubt I'll be parade hoping, but it sure would be nice to catch on of the jumbo beads!
Each year, it seems like I get more and more turned off by the thought of a "Black History" month. But as I approach a new chapter in my life, I have decided to look at the brighter side of things a bit more. So instead of bickering and debating about it, I'll just paint positive images of black women, men and children, some famous and some ordinary. Heck! I do that all year long... lol !
As with most things in life, it's always wise to start off small and this applies to becoming an artist or an art collector. Since I began this journey a long time ago, one of my pet peeves --- people who want my work but cringed at the price AND when offered a print or smaller original, they cringe further as though they've been insulted... Really though? How bout the reverse? I find it amusing when I run across a few who claim they are art collectors but quick to cringe...even before they see the price! I hear this a lot: "When I able to afford your work, I will get a piece." Alert: This is not a compliment to artists! Most artists are willing to work with folk, some of us to a fault. Alert #2 for newbie collectors: You're not one if you have to cringe at a $200 size 24 x 36 painting! Really! LOL. I want to shout out to all my collectors by the way! Everyone artist can recognize a good collector.. no drama!
Real Talk. If you are impressed with a particular artist's style, start with a small original. Get a feel for the artist in your home, up against your Walmart, Pier One prints or that original that you got for a steal. Savor what it's like to build a collection that can be worth $$$ depending on the success of that artist. Engage the artist with questions other than, "can you hook me up" or "can I get a 6 month payment plan on a $500 painting".... IJS. Most artists want to sell their art, not be told that you can't afford what they create. And don't be opposed to getting a reproduction (giclee, print). Most artists don't print in bulk and are signed for under $100 bucks. Art is a luxury not a necessity. Most artist love what they do and appreciate the love! If you like an artist and are not in position to purchase a $500 or $1,500 painting, start small with a small original...
Case in point the painting above "Dimples" 5 x 7 is only $75...