A wonderful Facebook post by a collector, artist and friend, Stephanie Merchant Johnson reminded me why I enjoy doing art shows and provides a lesson to newer artists. Stephanie wrote:
“Even though I’m an artist, when I come across another talented artist, I get tongue-tied and flustered. I never mean to sound like an idiot, because I’m sincerely interested in their work/technique, but sometimes it comes out that way because I’m so in awe of their work. I do have to say, the artist’s reaction to my questions largely determines if I will like/respect them. A perfect example of that is the first time I met Stephen Koury.
I felt like a middle schooler the first time I saw his incredible paintings. I asked about his mediums, techniques, brushes, etc. He engaged me in one of the most memorable conversations I’ve ever had with an artist. He encouraged me in my own endeavors, too. As a result, I’ve returned to his shows every year, buying his book (which he autographed) and more prints (I can’t afford originals, but I’ve got quite the print collection). The most impressive thing about him is that he REMEMBERS my name (and my husband’s) and my projects every year! In fact, he remembers everyone! So please don’t “stare” at someone when they ask you heartfelt questions. Be genuine and flattered, because my investments in Stephen’s work paid off very well for him, all because he took the time to talk to me, answer my questions, and remember me year after year.
One of my favorite giclees (“Wisdom”) of his hangs in my living room. Every time I gaze upon its beauty, I’m reminded of our first encounter and how nice he was. That could be how it is with you the next time someone asks, because I’ll tell ya’, if Stephen had come across as agitated, pompous, or condescending, I surely would’ve taken my business elsewhere.”
This is who I am and how I hope that people see me. I am an extension of my art and every time they look at that “Koury” hanging in their home, I hope they think of the person that painted it! Get after it!