The art of paying it forward.

Disclaimer: I actually wrote this blog two months ago. I have been struggling with it ever since. First, I don’t like rocking the boat. It is uncomfortable. I want to inspire, not tick people off. But this topic is important. It is hopefully an opportunity to at the very least make people think about what they are asking for.

Secondly, this is NOT to stop requests. It is to as previously stated, just open the door for discussion, raised consciousness.

Lastly, Thank you for reading this. Sometimes we just need to be heard. That said, on to the rocking of the boat.

 Today I received an email from a stranger asking for art. This isn’t an unusual circumstance, I receive many each year. I admit, when this first began happening I was flattered. They wanted my work! It felt validating. Some of the requests even suggested that it was a good move for me to gain exposure. That made a great deal of sense to me at the time. After all, I NEED to make art, why let it sit in the studio collecting dust? Why not give to someone who will get it out in the world!?

Then I gained more spirit, I am more experienced, I grew, and a very wise person suggested that perhaps I shouldn’t part with my work so easily. She told me that it was certainly a good thing to help people in need, but why must it be ALWAYS for free? She suggested I could give a generous price break, but I should ask to be compensated for my work. 

I responded with,” because that is what we do, we help.”

She then asked if Wegmans (our local grocery store) would give me my groceries for free if I asked them. 

“No,” I replied. 

The problem becomes bigger when you receive requests dozens of times each month. As a business that has grown over the last eight years, I have literally hundreds of requests and I still find It is difficult to say no. Everyone is in need it seems, everyone is trying to do good things. However, practically speaking, there is no way I could give to everyone who requests.  That said, we are all trying to help each other, right?

I think that artists are particularly vulnerable. After all, artists are doing what we love to do, right? That is payment enough, right? Perhaps. However, artists, just like everyone else still have to pay for not only materials to create art but all the other line items that go along with living life.  This IS our job, this IS our vocation. 

I am reminded that we generally don’t ask for other services or other items for nothing. The electric company doesn’t compromise on being paid each month, nor does the mortgage company, or even the grocery store. 

Why am I bringing this up?

It isn’t that I don’t want to help. I do. I actually donate a portion of every single sale made at my gallery to one of several local charities. I guess I am hoping that we will be more sensitive. Art is like any other profession. There is skill involved. There is effort. There are expenses. Just like the auto mechanic, your doctor, your plumber, or your cable provider, we exchange money for services.  While it is true, many artists follow their big dreams and create art every day.  I would imagine that every human who grows up to be what they have dreamt of being has a similar fulfillment. Art is no different. 

So the next time you ask someone to design a tattoo for you, design your business card, paint a picture of your grandmother, donate art to your favorite charity or whatever the case may be, be sensitive. Be honorable. Think about what you are asking for.  Know that what is donated to you is a huge gift. Consider the fact that like anything else, art is a valuable resource. It doesn’t happen magically.

While it is true that artists generally love the work, the process, they also appreciate the opportunity to put food on their table, heat their homes, and buy more art supplies. 

Thank you for listening. 

Blessings & love, 

Susan.

P.S. 

This does not in any way mean that I will never give away a piece of art. It only means that I am trying to share insight from the other side. Thank you for your awareness. a heart painting created on player piano paper

 

 

June Exhibition

I can hardly believe that it is almost June. The new gallery is thriving with the most wonderful art. I feel really blessed to be a part of facilitating the most incredible exhibits for your viewing and collecting pleasures! 

In June we will welcome a talented gentleman that makes me want to write a children’s book so we can collaborate! Jonathan Schnapp’s work is incredible! His characters are charming and delightfully unconventional. 

Please save the date- come meet Jon and his cast of characters! 

Not convinced yet? Here is what Jon has to say:

Artist Statement
by Jonathan Schnapp

“My work in painting is a celebration of everything I love, including bright colors and quirky characters. Appealing to children and grown-ups alike, each picture is a page from a storybook. With the context gone, it is up to the viewer to decipher the rest of the tale.
But what the viewer may not guess is the personal story behind the paint. Having struggled with mental health issues for much of my life, the issue of who I am and my place in the world is always at the forefront. These paintings, as silly and child-like as they are, are often representations of frustration, confusion, and anxiety. The characters each take on an aspect of my experience.
Chickens represent cowardice, crocodiles bring deception, cows are apathetic. Seeing the characters interact with fantastical environments shows their limits and contradictions, but also their strengths. The result is a work that tells a fun story and teaches me something about myself.”

What’s not to love? Jon’s use of color and movement are positively expiring to me as an artist I LOVE the texture in this piece. I cannot wait to show you in person! 

I AM SO EXCITED!

See you soon! June is almost here!

blessings – 

Susan

celebrating four years at the Hungerford

We are located on the second floor of building 5. Suite #201

Four years ago today, my life changed forever. I took Create Art 4 Good from a pop-up art market business to one that had walls, windows, and a door. It took my dreams of a lifetime and realized them into being. It began four years of two “homes”, incredible and wonderful experiences too many to count and growth.
 
Friday night, I will open the doors again, with almost that much anticipation. Friday, I will celebrate four incredible years at the Hungerford building.
 
To say I am happy is quite an understatement. I am living my dreams! I make art every day! I share this path with incredible friends and family who support and love me every single step of the way.
 
I hope you are able to stop in. If not, I know I will see you soon.
with so much love,
Susan

Opening tonight! Postcards from the Heart

The gallery awaits the final touches- so I will be brief. 

I make my way in the world by following my heart. If you read my post from a week ago, you know that this exhibit is no exception. Why I began Create Art 4 Good in the first place is I wanted to do what I love and try to make a difference. I cannot tell you the joy I have when my hands (arms, clothes) are messy because I was painting, mono printing or the like. I cannot tell you the joy I have when new designs I have created come from the printer and I tuck in an envelope to package them for your patronage. ART to me is breathing, it is life, it is even amazing when things to flow or work well. ART IS MY OXYGEN!

I am well aware however, that art has power. Art can be generous, art can be opportunity. 

The artists that have supported this project each have their own relationship with art. I will not presume to understand their response to the creative act. However, I DO, appreciate with my full heart how generous they are. As artists we are constantly asked to give a piece of art to support this or that. At times, to be honest, it gets old. I have personally felt under valued, like my work isn’t real because I am not a CFO of a major corporation. Yet here I stand before you (okay, I am sitting) asking artists, and lovely humans alike to create a piece of art to help support families in need. 

and they responded beautifully. 

Tonight is about paying it forward. It is about sharing love, it is about seeing the need and answering. 

“When I was hungry, you gave me to eat.”

I hope that you will find it in  your heart to come tonight. The air conditioning will be on. The water will have lemons in it, and my wall will be covered in love. Beautiful frame-able art created by an amazing girl scout troop, incredible art students, professional artists and all good souls. Honor them, honor the Irondequoit Community Cupboard and let’s do good work. 

Blessings & big huge love, 

Susan

 

Post cards, love and dreams

Last year when I was planning the 2017 exhibit schedule, I easily filled in most of the dates rather quickly. July remained unclaimed. But, I know people travel and don’t always want to commit to putting up a huge exhibit during a vacation month. Without panic or concern I decided to take a step back and think about it for a while. I had several ideas, but none of them were “singing” to me. I knew I had to be patient and let the thoughts perk for a bit. 

THEN

One morning I wrote down the date of the opening. 7.7.17

HOLY WOW! (yes, I do say things like that sometimes.) It was not only singing; it felt as if the entire church choir sang to me! 

I believe that in life we pick up tools, we use them when the situation presents itself, and well until them, we might actually store them in the resource box somewhere. I feel like everything I do these days is guided and gifted.

One of the charities, I hold dear, is the Irondequoit Community Cupboard. The ICC is one of my chosen charities. While it seems popular to give to places such as these at the holidays, there is profound need 365 days a year. At this time of year, the shelves can get a little bare. The children are home, and not at school. They are not receiving the opportunity to have breakfast and lunch at school. This doesn’t even begin to address that when children are not occupied for most of the day they claim they are “bored”. I don’t know about your children, but mine would eat us out of house and home when they were bored. 

and then it hit… Children are hungry SEVEN days a week. 7.7.17

So… I started talking about it. I picked up some of those tools I have acquired and I got down right bold! I spoke with Debbie Evans who tirelessly runs the ICC. She was in favor so that gave me permission to proceed.

 I began asking for artwork. I posted, and re-posted. I asked friends near and far to contribute. Each response was positive. The idea was catching on. 

Cut to a year or so later. The mail began to come. I received post card art from friends as far away as Pennsylvania, and as close as just a whisper down the road. Art came from those closest to me, and friends I have never met. One envelope I opened had post cards from a local GirlScout Troop. I admit, that one made me cry. Artists near and far all stepped up to the plate! It was fantastic! 

I actually extended the deadline- people wanted to contribute but life always seems to get in the way. Patience paid off! It was amazing! 

Now, we proceed to July 7th. Kids ARE hungry 7 days a week. The opening is at 6pm. Now the success belongs to those who enter the gallery and spend at least $10 to support the work of Debbie Evans and all those at the ICC. 

PLEASE come- PLEASE bring cash- please help us help others. 

I will see you soon- 

full with post cards, love and dreams, 

Susan 

June 27 6-8PM Susan Carmen-Duffy- Traditional Mandala $42

Creating mandalas began with the work of Tibetan Monks and Native Americans. The intent is for a prayer- the idea is that this is not permanent, it is released to the universe as part of the prayer or intention. Come create your mandala- everything you need is included.

Your payment gives you the opportunity to create your own mandala out of sand, a photograph sent to your email of your mandala and a jar for you to take home your prayer and release when you are ready to do so.