A few years ago I sat down at the bar inside Pretentious Beer Glass Co. and talked to a glass blower by the name of Johnny Glass. Incredible, I thought, that this guy had found his passion in glass blowing with a name like that. He had, in fact, his own company by the name of, Glass by Glass. After about an hour of talking with him I was convinced that he either needed to teach a master class or, at the very least, write a book. The book would be for anyone who has ever felt passionate about something (particularly a craft of some sort) but is faced with certain challenges; specifically, never being able to gain any traction in terms of making money to be able to do said skill set or trade. How do we as creatives also become business minded? It's not the easiest combination of skills to obtain or maintain, but it is crucial in finding success.
He told me I needed to "find my pumpkin" which means, find the thing that allows you to do the things you REALLY want to do. Glass by Glass makes pumpkins year round and sells the heck out of these squatty, rounded fruits with spindly stems. They come in all shapes and colors and are unique and, as it turns out, eye catching to many customers with money to spend. Yes, he's appreciative and overjoyed that he has created something that is in high demand, but he's also extremely grateful that it provides him with the monetary freedom to pursue other projects that continue to fuel his passion. And that is a beautiful cycle, my friend; that is what every artist hopes to achieve.
So, what's my pumpkin? Well, as it turns out pet portraits, but I wouldn't discover this until about a year after our conversation. I stumbled upon it and fell in love with it, and discovered that word-of-mouth advertising is a powerful thing. I've done over a hundred of them and have more to get to come 2020, but I'm taking a break over the holidays so I can rest my eyes and recharge my batteries. So what is it that I really want to do?
I opened an art gallery, by the name of LAZ Gallery and I call it this because that's how I sign all of my finished pieces. I realized early on (after signing a few canvases with my entire name spelled out) that the curve of the other letters is nearly impossible to pull off with a pallet knife. But swiping the letters L-A-Z with a knife coated in just the right amount of acrylic paint brings me more joy than it probably should. Originally, this blog was going to be about the Old City and how many miles I've walked throughout it over the past couple of decades of my life and how much change I've observed along the way. I'm not only referring to the growth of this city, but also to me as a person going through drastic change. We've grown up together and it just seems fit that I somehow found myself inside a studio space nestled within the heart of this city that has helped shape me. So what it is that I really want to do?
Continue growing "pumpkins" and encourage others to find theirs. I want to share this space with other artists and collaborate on ideas that inspire and motivate others who are in pursuit of their pumpkin. When given the opportunity to sit down with someone that you don't know very well but who has a story to share: Listen. Engage. I think Johnny would be proud of what an impact he made on me. And for that, I am grateful.