Fond memories of the patron who slew the myth of the greedy capitalist scrooge for me.
September 10, 2016
Growing up in the Soviet Union, one was presented a certain view of how the world spins around. One part of this view was the stereotypical "greedy capitalist". The following is the short tale of how that myth was blown out of the water for me shortly after I arrived in Canada.
As mentioned in my last post, I have been fortunate to have had many many longstanding relationships with collectors and buyers who discovered me online and have continued to support me for years and years.
I have also had a few non-online people that I have considered patrons. They were all earlier in my career but there is one in particular that I am going to write about today.
When I first came to Canada from Russia we joined a nearby curling club. I enjoyed the game and was well amused by the social aspects as well, even despite a very steep language barrier!
Anyway, after a month or two there was a bonspiel (like they call a tournament in curling) that was sponsored by a local business. By that time it was well known in the club that I was an artist, so the owner of the sponsor business, in his eighties but still a fairly active gentleman, asked me if I would help decorate the club for the bonspiel. I was happy to get involved and didn't think anything special about it - everyone seemed to be volunteering for something. But for the next few years that man became my biggest supporter.
He would buy from me whether he needed anything or not, he got me jobs doing murals and he went to bat for me, especially once when a meddling local city council was on the verge of shutting down one of my jobs for no good reason.
He passed away many years ago. When I think about him now I think of his kindness for sure but now I can put him in context better. Frugal but generous, successful and able and willing to help others follow their dreams and attain success. What a great impression he made on me, coming here from a communist country. Rather than the Mr. Scrooge or greedy capitalist we would hear about, I was so fortunate to get acquainted with this almost iconic figure of generosity who supported the arts and many other causes besides.
Ever since then I have tried to follow the example that was set so well for me. Even though I have yet to gain the financial means to be a generous arts patron myself(!), I always volunteer whenever I can as the video shows and donate my work to various charitable causes.