Today is a momentous day. An epic step forward. One small step for… well, you get the idea.
What’s the big deal, you’re undoubtedly asking yourself? Well, it’s like this: after years of tentative moves careerwise with my art, I decided to go pro and hired myself an agent.
Many of you already know Tess McCann. She first started aiding and abetting my career in the fall of 2011 when she helped me put together my first solo show, Metal Flake. And when I say “helped”, I mean I couldn’t have done it without her. She hosted the show and made the whole event more professional; how she ever put up with my pre-show nerves I’ll never know (dirty little secret: I’m always a basketcase in the days leading up to a show) .
In the months since then, Tess has continually suggested things that would never have occurred to me, offered guidance and promotional help, pointed me in new directions, and in general taken a gigantic amount of pressure off me, artwise.
We’ve been talking around this idea for months, and after recent discussions it just felt right to make it official. Oh, and here’s a word from my new agent now:
Hi! I’m super excited to be on board officially as Bret’s agent. I have been a big fan since I first saw his work, I have several pieces hanging on my walls. I’m looking forward to helping his career thrive, because he certainly deserves it.
Really looking forward to this next phase. And it’s fantastic to have you onboard, Tess.
P.S. For the rest of you wonderful people, if there’s something of mine you’d like to invest in, please contact the Most Excellent Ms. McCann here and she can sort things out for you.
(Photo: Lindsay Bayne.)
Sometimes a painting almost seems to come out of nowhere and touch all kinds of people. Other times, the process can be a lengthy, involved one. In this particular case, it’s a bit of both.
One night last summer I was chatting with a new friend and she happened to mention that she wanted a painting in hot pink . Further to that, she told me that she used to dance, and that she wanted art along that theme – feet and legs in pointe shoes. Time went by and we became much closer. But this idea stayed in my head. In November I drew a rough sketch of her legs and feet in the pointe shoes she’d had since she was a teenager. That original sketch has since been framed and now hangs on her living room wall:
By this point I could see the finished painting in my head pretty clearly. I started creating another of my metalflake paintings with the intention of giving it to her as a Christmas present. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the metalflake pieces take a lot longer to dry in mid-winter, because the shorter days and crappy weather mean a vastly-reduced amount of UV radiation (which speeds the drying process along).
In the end I bought her a Leonard Cohen book for Christmas, and the hot pink painting proceeded oh-so-slowly. A couple days ago I was inspecting the painting and noted that the thick, thick clearcoat was finally dry.
The end of this journey was finally in sight.
On Friday night I found myself at loose ends. I wanted to go do something social with friends, but any and all attempts to make that happen simply failed. So I mixed myself a strong Sailor Jerry’s & Coke, and started masking the painting. The whole process came together pretty quickly, and with the encouragement of my Muse, the painting was soon finished:
So there you have it – the painting was a labour of love, and it’s actually done.
Interestingly enough, I posted updates live on Twitter and then Facebook as the night progressed, and the response was stunning . So much support, so much praise, so many questions, so many people sharing the final image with friends and followers. So, I’d like to thank the people who made this so much easier: Meghan Low, Donna Jaggard, Kelly St-Laurent, Natalie Smith, Mandy Fisher, Nick Voikos, Mark Kretzschmar, Chris Hobrecker, Bruce Ng, Adé Win, Brandy Trudeau, Heather Prost, Liam Rines, Elaine Shiel, Leanne Corrigan, Tony Dunphy, Fiona Flowers, Nicole Crosby, Sean Parrack, Elizabeth Whalen, Jaime Purgavie, Melissa Hartfiel, Ceci Graber, Dale Deruiter, Vince Ng, Melissa Berg, John Lee, Dilara Litonjua, Cathy Browne, Risto Paalanen, Emily Brandt, Jackie McCaughan, Nick Routley, Amanda West, Christine Warner, Kathleen Ralph, Gary Hayden, Donna Jay-Crowe, Tina Power, Tom Van Hoose, Jackie Teel, Geoff Seymour, Winnie Huang, James Dickson, Marion Vincent, Sarah Merris, Katherine Bowes Pieters, Jewel Staite, Paulette Brown, John Bell …
… and Tess McCann, without whom this would never have even been conceivable.
Gather ’round, children, and I’ll tell you a tale of happiness and Yuletide joy. Once upon a time there were a boy and a girl who fell in love. And they both loved art, which is a good thing, ’cause otherwise this would be the end of the story.
Now this couple (let’s call them, oh, “Dan and Donna”) already had several paintings by a local Artiste (let’s call him, oh, “me”). And they wanted more. So “Dan” contacted the Artiste in question and asked about commissioning a portrait of “Donna”. The Artiste, of course, was quite enthusiastic about such a project, because he loved painting (and truth be told, he was also somewhat fond of financial remuneration).
So Dan and the Artiste struck a deal, and work began. And shortly thereafter, the Artiste heard from Donna, who wished to purchase a painting called “Ace of Spades” as a present for Dan.
This pleased the Artiste to no end.
(An amusing side note: after the deal was struck with Donna, Dan contacted the Artiste again, this time to inquire about purchasing the Ace of Spades painting. The Artiste expressed sympathy and apologetically told Dan the painting was already spoken for.)
The Artiste was understandably amused by all this subterfuge, and with uncharacteristic restraint, only told a couple of people.
Okay, a whole bunch of people. But not Donna or Dan, which is key.
Meanwhile, work continued on the portrait of Donna:
And time passed, as it usually does. The painting and the Artiste found themselves disagreeing from time to time, but with the help of the Artiste’s lovely and talented Muse, the painting was finished with an entire day to spare.
On Christmas morning, paintings were exchanged, Donna and Dan were happy, and there was much rejoicing throughout the land.
And they all lived happily ever after.