As I type this, I’m sitting in a lovely room of the Ritz-Carlton hotel. In previous article, I let you guys know what to do to get invited to art events (hint: buy art on a cruise ship!). So here I am now, enjoying an all-expense paid trip in downtown Atlanta.
My favorite part is not the free room or free food. It’s not even the people I’ve met or fast friends I’ve made–although that’s my second favorite thing about coming to these events. My absolute favorite part of these events is meeting the featured artists.
Today, I met Romero Britto. If I took the time to tell you what all he’s done in the art world and for the world, I would need 1000 posts. Most of his art, which I was drooling over, was a bit out of my price range for this visit. Yet, I did manage to snag one of his pieces. For those of you who don’t know, when you buy a piece of art by one of the featured artists, you get to take your picture with that artist after the auction has closed. I will never forget that today, this world renowned artist commented on a sparkly bear necklace that my son bought for me from Amazon for my birthday. If I have dementia when I’m older, I will still remember that moment.
Tomorrow, we will meet Simon Bull and I know I will feel the bittersweet moment of experiencing our last auction for this visit. To see these artists in the flesh is nothing short of amazing to me. Imagine meeting Andy Warhol when he was still with us…it would have been incredible. Some of the leading artists in the world are older gentlemen, well advanced in their years. I already feel a bit sad thinking about losing them and their creativity, which probably helps me to feel that much more appreciative about being able to engage with the artists during these events.
Yesterday, I was beyond blessed to be able to have a few conversations with Dominic Pangborn. Even typing his name is making me feel giddy! As with many other artists, he is not “just” an artist: he is a philanthropist who loves to travel, design, create… Every time he spoke with us, I felt that he was relating to us as an old friend, and not someone who is as much of a celebrity as he is. He had funny anecdotes and experiences that he shared with us. I was able to have a few precious moments with him in the gallery and I will never, ever forget it. I laugh at it now…I had seen that one my friends was talking to him and I thought, “Well, I’ll just sidle up to them and see what they’re talking about”. My friend being kind and thinking I wanted to ask Mr. Pangborn some questions, left our little group. I didn’t know what to do at that point, other than gape like a fishing trying to breath pure oxygen. And then I said, “Uh….I don’t have anything intelligent to ask you, Sir– I just wanted to hear your stories!”. He was so generous…he put me at ease right away and told some hilarious stories about one of his trips to Asia. I have realized that I love those few minutes alone with him so much that I keep replaying them in my head.
I don’t really have a point to this post, other than to share with you all how fun and enriching it’s been. I hope that when you have a chance to have an experience– any life experience that you will always look back on fondly–that you will embrace and accept it. If I had never bought the art on that cruise ship two years ago, I would never have had this weekend: Best. Experience. EVUH!!!!!!!
CJ Heath loves art and colorful things. She is somehow in a small slice of Heaven at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. She’s looking forward to the next auction so she can gawk at more art.