The gift that keeps on giving

MAGIC Carved plate 3.5
MAGIC Carved plate 3.5″ Lilianne Milgrom

I won’t deny that selling my artwork is rewarding, but the real value I get from having my art out there is knowing that it is appreciated and that I have enhanced people’s lives in some way. In the past two weeks, thanks to unsolicited and unexpected feedback, I have been amply reminded of just how much satisfaction and joy this gives me. Art really is that magical gift that keeps on giving.

It began with a recent trip to my gynecologist’s office.  As my doctor breezed into the exam room to perform my annual checkup she told me that she thought of me every day. This sparked a dreaded moment of anxiety – was she referring to  some ominous test results I was unaware of?

gyno office

I need not have worried. She was referring to a hand made ceramic mug I gave her a year ago when I learned that she had completed her yoga instructor’s course. I had totally forgotten about that mug, aptly decorated with an image of a cross-legged woman meditating. It turns out that she drinks her morning joe out of that cup every day.

A few days later I received an email from a woman in Australia who identified herself as the person who had purchased my small, award-winning portrait Le Parisien about five years ago.

5x5in_acrylic_2013 (2)

She took the time to write the following words and, bless her, it made my week:

Dear Lilianne, Just wanted to touch base and let you know I purchased a tiny painting of yours from the Mortimore Prize in 2010. For such a tiny painting it fills the room. It was a Christmas present to my husband after he expressed it was his favourite painting in the show, it was also a stand out to me, we love it! Just wanted to let you know it came to a good home. 

And then, to top it off, I received another email from another total stranger who had come across my contributing artwork in the Women of the Book project currently on exhibit at the Jerusalem Biennale.

womenofthebook illustration (9)

This gentleman really understood what I was trying to capture with my visual expression of the Torah portion Ki Tavo. He wrote:
Dear Lilianne, It looked like simplicity was a prime virtue of the work until I looked more closely and realized the skill and complexity. It really does convey the sense of a deeply willing offering. What excellent work! Would you mind if I used it as a screensaver, reminding myself to be in that place of acceptance and offering?

It’s been a gratifying couple of weeks in the life of this artist – I have also been commissioned to paint a series of portraits for the AARP and just found out that Dreamtime, the work I featured in my last blog, received an award at the opening in NY.

awardIf you have any comments about art that has touched people’s lives or art that you cherish, that inspires you or beautifies your home or simply makes you feel good, I’d love to hear your story.

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“Go big or go home!”

Ai Weiwei, Iron Tree, 2013.

According to one influential art critic, “Go big or go home” was the underlying theme at this year’s FIAC – the French International Fair of Contemporary Art, celebrating its 40th year in Paris. Anxious to re-establish its relevancy, FIAC seems to be making a comeback on the global art map. Judging by the oversized artworks on display, I wouldn’t be surprised if this year’s FIAC showstoppers could be seen from space.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Iron Tree (above) is a good example of FIAC’s supersized sculptures. Weiwei is by far one of my favorite contemporary artists. He likes to think big – very very big.

Artist Weiwei holding handfuls of the millions of porcelain sunflower seeds that make up his installation 'Sunflower Seeds' at the Tate Modern
Artist Weiwei holding handfuls of the millions of porcelain sunflower seeds that make up his installation ‘Sunflower Seeds’ at the Tate Modern

However, while talking to a talented fellow ceramicist today, I was dismayed by his blanket statement about there being no point in his trying to get into galleries because “they just want big”. I take issue with that. Artists these days have to be wary of falling into the trap of thinking that ‘bigger is always better’.

One successful artist who has followed his passion for the other end of the size spectrum is Thomas Doyle who, in his own words, sculpts in “1:43 scale and smaller” (see image below):

Publications such as Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal laud Doyle’s illustrious international career based on his tiny worlds. I was naturally very excited to have him select one of my 4″ high figurines (see below) for the upcoming Small Worlds exhibition opening December 7th at the Target Gallery in the Torpedo Factory, Alexandria.

Goose that Laid the Golden Egg

Likewise, my tiny 5″ x 5″ portrait entitled Le Parisien (below) just won second place in the small format section of the Mortimore Prize for Realism in Australia.

Parisien I medium

Thinking on a gargantuan scale often means that the artists cannot possibly produce the works by themselves. They need to hire a team of assistants to create their masterpieces. I personally would miss making things with my own hands – after all, that’s what drew me to art in the first place.

So for those of us artists who often enjoy creating on a small scale, and for those art appreciators who like to experience artwork of an intimate size, let it be known that we are not going home!

My figurine 'Wet Dreams', recently sold through Susan Calloway Fine Art, Washington DC
My figurine ‘Wet Dreams’, recently sold through Susan Calloway Fine Art, Washington DC
Irit Ovadia Rosenberg suspends tiny clay fragments overlaid with multiple glazes and her signature prints. Currently at Tova Ossman Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Irit Ovadia Rosenberg suspends tiny clay fragments overlaid with multiple glazes and her signature prints. Currently at Tova Ossman Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel.