AO’s Pre note: Writing critics beware … The article you are about to read was written by a really strong “C” student, non-trained writer, and rejected art student all in one – basically a failure in most peoples eyes. So the content below may not be for you and your high journalistic standards, but don’t get me wrong, I do understand the need for the high level of work quality, but for me, that comes with time and practice, or a budget to pay a writer. Unfortunately, I am not there yet. So please take note, I write this article with the hope that it will be useful to readers who are artists, any artist: painting, graphics, web, comics, ceramics, singing, sculpture, acting, writing, etc. – and especially if they are students, if they are entering the field of freelance, or they are older artists re-entering the field for the second or the twenty-second time. So if you are a critic of some sort, this piece is not for you. So please don’t read this. I just want the audience it was intended for, and those who would like to take a peek at my view to read this. I want to hopefully inspire – because for many artist and designers – inspiration helps us immensely. Thanks – ao
My Art in The New York Times – a Look Back – Part 3 of 3
The Article Effect Was Bigger Than I Thought
As soon as I could, I posted the article link, the image of me next to the painting (web version) and whatever else I could, just like I do with all of my other interviews, write-ups, and cool happenings. After a day or two, the small ripple effect started to happen. It was super cool because I experienced all kinds of love from the AOART5 social media followers, my friends and my family. And also the love from friends of friends and friends of family, and from fellow KC artist, it was and has been a pretty awesome experience and very much appreciated.
Soon after that word got around, a ton of it by my social media marketing, and a few things shifted in my world during November and December of 2018 and all of 2019. It shifted for the better and the worst, like everything in my world – there is always some level of bad that come with good, and this was no situation different.
For the better, as I mentioned before, it validated the work. It gave all the hard work, late nights, and weekend work a higher level of validation. It also helped add an additional layer of confidence to my world. Also, it has helped boost the “secondary career” – the freelance work. I say “boost” because my work before the Times article was already picking up a bit of stream. I have shown work at the K (Kaufman Stadium) for artistic events the a few years in a row, I had my annual AO Opening Day Weekend Art Show featuring all my baseball work (going on its fifth year in 2020) and those events and others always brought in good crowds, and allowed me to meet a ton of nice people, visit with friends and family from the past and most importantly it gave those on the fence about buying an original (if not at that moment, then in the future), the opportunity to see a collection of pieces live and in person.
And I am glad to say it also gave friends, family, and those who followed me an opportunity to appreciate the work and better yet, an opportunity to ask questions about the work like, “Why did you pick that image? Why those colors in the background? How did you do that? Those questions and more make showing your work an even more awesome experience.
Another very cool thing about the article is how people introduced me shortly after. It was a very awesome feeling. Friends, introduce me as “the artists that just had his work in the New York Times”. And it was and still is pretty cool – but I think it was also pretty cool for my family and extended family (relatives, classmates, neighborhood kids I grew up with and friends of the family), they were and I believe are still somewhat proud – and I think growing up were I come from and making someone proud (friend or family) is a pretty cool thing.
So it has been a while since the article was published and it was a pretty cool experience, but for me there is still so much to learn, achieve, and so many more projects I want to start. I have a list of major pro athletes to paint but I also have a few other avenues I want to walk down – like high school athletes, fitness models, automobiles – and who knows what else?
So personally, being in the New York Times is was a super huge honor and achievement, and it can’t be my peak creatively – at least I hope not. Because if this kid (in his 50’s) for the lower part of the district of Argentine in KCK, can make it in the New York Times, even if it was a fluke, a mistake or maybe just hard work, who knows what else the kid can do with another 4-5 years of work?
Three of the many things I have learned about this art game – just like life, is that this art stuff is a marathon, not a sprint. Second, that good things happen to those who are good people and who find the energy to push themselves and work their tails off. Third, for me, nothing comes easy – and I have to work three times as hard as the next artist – so I have to be ready to climb the mountain while trying to enjoy the ride and moments – because when its of over – its over.
Keep working – and thanks for reading,