It's been a very busy and inspiring month. A few months back, I was featured in The National newspaper and then Time Out Abu Dhabi magazine and started garnering more attention in the capital and my new home. When I was contacted by the Art Director of Brighton College to see if I would be interested in exhibiting my work with their gallery for a month. Of course, "HELL YES!" was pretty much my initial reaction. The only thing was, my entire show had to be ready by the first week in October. So, after my trip to Sudan for 10 days in September, I came back to a studio of empty canvases and nestled paint tubes and proceeded to do what I love and know most: painting.
My exhibition launched October 12th, and consists of a good portion of works I produced earlier this year, as well as several new works that I'm quite proud of in both the abstract and pop/fauve/abstract realism style I've been doing with animals.
I expected it to be hard work painting under such a tight deadline and it was. I spent many nights reworking some paintings, fine tuning things. But fortunately, much of what I painted were things that I wanted to explore for months now. I had them inside and they couldn't wait to come out. What I didn't expect was the emotional aftermath of the experience.
Without sounding overly dramatic, I definitely bond with my paintings during their creation and completion. Many of them were hanging in my home for my eyes to feast for months. So, to pack up everything and drop them to a gallery for a month on end, was bittersweet.
But, unlike some artists, I do create my work with the intention to sell. I love when I can make a piece of art that moves someone else just as much as it moves me. I love even more when they decide to take that piece of art and place in their home to enjoy for a lifetime.
In a year's time, I've sold countless paintings and prints, made great friends, and established a good fan base. I now feel like my budding art career is ready to take the next step. With that said, preparing for this exhibition was good practice for my next endeavor: being a gallery-represented artist. I made sure each painting was produced with high quality materials. I varnished everything in the best fashion I could, and really treated them for what they are--fine art to be handled with care. I tried to have harmony between my pieces, color palettes, and styles. It was a beautiful ride, and I am very happy to have the chance to share my work with the Abu Dhabi community.
Since my exhibition, I've received three requests for commissioned paintings (one of which will be going to the US), and have sold one painting, "Humphrey's Back". He's the first sell, and I shouldn't be surprised. My camels are the first to go and I can't quite explain the energy and emotions these creatures bring up.
A week after my opening reception, I got invited back to speak with the 5th, 6th, and 12th year students at the school on being an artist in the UAE. Just getting the opportunity to inspire young kids and encourage them to pursue art education and practice was really fulfilling. Every class asked me loads of questions in the Q&A, and one kid was so kind, that he stood up and told us how now, he is inspired by me just like I am inspired by so many artists living and passed. It was so much fun and I really couldn't have asked for a better person to work with. Thanks a lot Kathryn Wilson for your support of the arts and artists in the area!
The exhibition is on for two more weeks! If you're in Abu Dhabi, please stop by Brighton College Main Gallery for a visit.