My Lucky Day
I spoke to Michael Foley’s class at SVA (School of Visual Arts) in NY last month. If I’m not mistaken, this was my 4th appearance! This time around, Michael brought along a stack of catalogs left over from my show at Foley Gallery last year (which sold for $5). After my presentation, Michael announced that (a) catalogs could be purchased for $1 and that (b) I would be more than happy to sign them! Picture, if you will, a mad rush of students and a flurry of arms waving one dollar bills in the air! I felt like an old-school Tiger Beat/16 Magazine idol (ie Shaun Cassidy, Donny Osmond, Bobby Sherman, etc.) asked to sigh autograph books. I was shocked, flattered and humbled by the enthusiastic response. Little did I know that this my first surprise of the day.
After signing my last catalog, I heard, “I was a student in your class at Penland”. I looked up, exclaimed, “Kat!” and leapt from my seat to hug her. In 2003, I quit my job as a Digital Imaging Specialist for American Express Financial Advisors (now Ameriprise) to teach a 2-month-long photography workshop at Penland School of Crafts in NC. Kat was one of my star students. It was such a pleasure to see her AND to see her at SVA!
The perfect end came as I was signing out to leave at the security desk.
“Are you Thomas Allen?”
I turned around to see a young woman beaming and holding my book close to her chest.
“Yes I am.”
” I didn’t know your talk was today and a friend of mine just called me so I raced over and…”
“Would you like me to sign your book?”
“Yes, if you wouldn’t mind.”
“I would love to.”
It’s moments like this that make me feel very fortunate and should be a lesson to all artists—be kind, personable, approachaable and treat those who follow and find inspiration in your work with courtesy and respect.