Wide awake and listening

'Wide Awake' Copyright 2007 Kate Forman

'Wide Awake' Copyright 2007 Kate Forman

My last two blog posts contained a fair amount of grumbling, and acknowledgement of the difficulties inherent (?) to being a working artist. Not this post, though, this one is going to be all about going with the flow and accepting direction when the universe appears to be trying to send a message that is not understood (yet.)

That’s why this image is up here. I painted it four years ago for a nice illustration assignment from Continental Magazine. I remember painting it, I was living in Staten Island at the time, it was a beautiful week late in spring, and my desk faced a window that looked out over the rooftops I included in the painting. I could occasionally hear ship horns from the New York Harbor just a few blocks away, and the only other sound that competed with the corner pizzaria delivery guy’s idling car radio was the cacaphony of little kids running out of the music school across the street.

Aside from the memories, I might only (until fairly recently) have mentionned that the woman in the painting is modelled after my good friend Kara (the more whimsical spot illustration that also accompanied the article is hanging in her bedroom.) However, for some reason, this painting has been generating activity. I’m not sure why, but I’m at along last beginning to think I’ve got to pay attention to it.

About a month ago a friend of a friend (the brilliant up-and-coming comedian Steve Grogan) approached me about buying a print of it, he said that the expression on the woman’s face expressed something he felt strongly connected too. We had a great conversation about art and inspiration, and I thought that was the end of that, except…

Then about a week later a woman I hadn’t spoken too in years approached me about entering a public art competition, based almost solely on her appreciation of this painting. So, heck yea, I entered the competition (still waiting to hear back – fingers crossed!) and I thought that was the end of that, except…

Then this week I got a phone call from Australia (I also have to say that Australia has been very kind to me as of late — but more about that in another post.) It was a very polite inquiry into the usage rights of this image, as an Australian University would like to use it for the opening of a new department on sleep studies.

Well, I’ll be darned. Now, in full disclosure: the university has no budget, and I almost got all dug into grumble mode, but then I finally acknowledged that this painting wants some air, and I have no business standing in its way.

So, I’m letting the university use it, and I’m liking the idea of my art also being a partner in all this. Maybe I’ve got to let it make some business decisions too, maybe I’ve got to trust that just making art is sometimes more than enough. Maybe making art is entering into some big cosmic conversation and the only way to get “the answers” I want to is to hunker down and listen, and follow.


4 thoughts on “Wide awake and listening

  1. I don’t think we own our art. I suspect you are well and truly on the right path. AND how exciting this all is!!!

    • It’s a good point, Asta — one a piece of art has a viewer it’s also “owned” by them (disclaimer: I am not talking about copyright here :0) that stays firmly with the creator or agreed upon contract of rights,) it’s a good reminder of the power that making things has — maybe it’s like having kids? You raise them and hope for the best, but then they go out into the world to make their own way and garner their own impressions…

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