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.


5 Responses to “My Lucky Day”

  1. That is so cool, Tom. Great to see artists get respect by being respectful themselves. Congrats on your book as well as your shows. Always am amazed by your work.

    One of these days we’ll do lunch together!

  2. I was at you lecture the other day and I can ensure you that your work really grabbed our attention. Most of my fellow students that I talked to agree that you are one of the best, maybe even THE best, artist that have dropped by to our class. That’s why everyone (my included) where so eager to grab a copy of your catalog, I’m looking at it right now to be honest.

    Keep up the good work and please visit SVA again very soon.

    P.S. Kat is also a very good friend of mine, I will send her a link to your blog.

  3. Yay! I am so glad you got to see so many of your enthusiastic fans in real life. I hope you update soon with info on where we can see your work next!

  4. Sigurjon—THAT is the nicest thing anyone has ever said. Thank you!

    Maria—I’m trying to be more vigilant about posting!

  5. Ward—Thanks. I definitely see lunch in our future. For those of you who haven’t experienced the wonder of Ward-O-Matic yet, I suggest you visit now:

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