Let's see if I can write this without getting too mushy and emotional: 2009 has been a year beyond my expectations. So much has happened with my art and my personal life. On January 24th, I was given my first solo show by Shane Pamajambo at Art Whino. Shane took a chance on me, as I am still considered a 'new' artist on the scene, and he gave me a shot because he has faith in what I am doing. I see that show as a major, paramount milestone that is launching my art life. I will be forever grateful to Shane and ALL of the folks at Art Whino (Lee, Susannah, Kelsey, Sean, and all the other Whinos ROCK!) We ended up driving from Ft Collins, CO to Washington, D.C. for opening night. My wife was 6 months pregnant and didn't complain once on the 22 hour drive (each way). My daughter was 3 at the time and also was wonderful in putting up with the time in her car seat. Even our dog Seven came along. My parents drove up to DC from Florida, and Rachel's good friends drove down from NY. I met many people who said they also drove from other states to see the exhibit and meeting them was one of the most special things that has ever happened to me.
On April 4th, we welcomed our son Isaiah Allen Collins into the world. Any of you who are parents know what a life-changing event this is. He has inspired me to make my art better, and to be a better person in general. He also makes me laugh until it hurts.
July 11th marks the day I went to my first professional sports game! I saw the Colorado Rockies play the Atlanta Braves at Coors field. I got some autographs from my favorite players and I told my wife that it made me feel like a little kid again. Even though the Rockies lost the game, I had an incredible time and now I'm a Rockies fan for life.
In late summer I entered into two contests through Delicious Drips and thanks to your votes, I was awarded with 1st place in both of them, securing the first back-to-back win in Delicious Drips' history. There were pieces in both contests that were way better than mine, so I know that the wins were due completely to the support of my loyal friends/fans. THANK YOU!
In October I met musician Justin Tucker and we started Otherwise the Locusts. It's been a while since I was in an active band, so this has been a great blessing to me. We look forward to a long and fun musical adventure!
Also in October I celebrated my second year as a full-time artist. A real dream come true. My wife has been supportive beyond words and without her I have no idea where I would be, but I know it wouldn't be anywhere near as good as where I am now.
Throughout the year, I've been a resident artist at The Gallery Underground in Ft Collins, CO. Each first Friday the place is crazy packed with people who are supportive, encouraging, and fun. These events have certainly affected the course of my art, and really pushed me toward understanding the way my work touches people in a personal aspect. Most of the shows I am in I cannot attend, so I do not see the individual reactions or hear comments from folks viewing the paintings and drawings. Without my time at The Gallery Underground, I would be completely detached from this experience. I thank all of you who come out each 1st Friday.
A quick summary of other 2009 events that have begun to change my life: I started the Beast Buddies series, I was invited to join the team of artists at Artsprojekt where my work is on skateboards and Keds shoes among other things, I got a Specialized Secteur road bike, I began playing the drums, I was introduced to fresh artichokes with melted butter, and I finished reading the entire Bible cover to cover.
I can't even imagine how 2010 will beat 2009, but I have a strong feeling that it will. For starters, I have a super TOP SECRET project going on with a major company in the designer toy realm. I cannot reveal who or what just yet, but I promise you will want to stay tuned! Also, there is a huge event to take place near the end of 2010 that I will be part of, and details are not being released about that just yet, either. Furthermore, we (my family) are moving to North Carolina in July to be nearer to family. We have chosen Asheville, because of its art and music culture, as Asheville just won the #2 small art city in America, just behind Santa Fe, NM. I've already made a great connection in NC with The Poster Cause Project. I will be releasing a limited edition print through them of a design available nowhere else. This will happen late summer or early fall and I will be at the release signing posters and offering other neat stuff.
If you want to keep up with all of the excitement coming up for 2010, you can follow this blog, you can sign up for my email newsletter (at the top right of this blog), or you can connect with the links below:
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God willing, 2010 will be filled with lots of new paintings, illustrations, custom toys, and other surprises. Thank you for all of the comments, questions, and purchases. You may not realize it, but I get just as excited selling a $3 bookmark as I do selling an original painting, because both mean that someone likes what I've created. Thank you so much for a fantastically superb 2009 and thank you in advance for a mind-blowing 2010! God bless you all!