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...