The artist Peter Max was always someone who I respected and his artwork always served as a great inspiration to me. I actually met Peter once, through one of his agents in fact and he was a warm and genuinely kind bloke who gave me the time of day, I even stole an extra minute of his time to show him my prints on Facebook and he was very complimentary about my work. As an artist you want to emulate people like Peter, not to make the millions that he has made or anything like that, but to have an impact on people and create beautiful art.
After that brief meeting with Peter he followed my business page and I can remember that the day that I first became a dad, with my daughter still trying to open her eyes, Peter shared a print of mine on his official Facebook page, which of course created a real buzz on my page and sales went through the roof.
I sent Peter a message after that to say thank you, naturally I didn’t expect a reply, I wasn’t even sure if it was him who checked his Facebook page or one of his staff. Given that I had just welcomed my first child into the world I didn’t really check Facebook for a while afterwards.
A couple of weeks later I checked into my account and here was a message from the man himself letting me know that he shared the image because he loved it, and he was happy that I was able to see some extra income as a result. I was dying to message back but I didn’t want to be ‘that’ guy, and so I left it as something beautiful.
I tweeted some days later about the experience which I’d had with Peter and I started to get loads of fellow artists coming forward saying that he had done similar things for them too, helping out with some promotion and even loaning his studio to some others, it was very clear, very quickly that Peter was someone who really wanted to support art at a grassroots level.
Before all of this I respected Peter because of the work which he had done in the art world and the amazing career which he’d had. Now I had this new found respect for him because for someone like him it would easy to have a ‘pull the ladder up Jack’ attitude, but he didn’t. What Peter decided to do with his fame and his influence was use it so that he could bring others up, and that for me is the most inspirational quality of all.
I am not yet famous or commanding thousands for my work but you can bet your bottom dollar that if I get to a position of influence that I too will follow in Peters footsteps and help all of those below me to elevate themselves.