At the end of SOFA Day 1 Sami and I were sitting on a bench in front of his gallery. Sami was warming up to my collecting faces for portraits.
“Want this guy?” Sami pointed at a dark man studying a display of glass sculptures. “I know him, and he is handsome.” I wanted the guy, but was too tired to do my spiel again after having repeated it a dozen times that day.
Sami stood up and grabbed the man by his sleeve. “Here,” he commanded, “stand over here! She is going to photograph you for a portrait!”
The man took my hand and held it. “Gabriel.” He said in a soft voice. “Like the angel, you know?…” I knew. Immediately. My fashion statement of combat boots and a fleece 6 sizes too large apparently mattered very little.
Gabriel Eid is an art director of Galerie Frédéric Got of Paris. He brought some amazing bronzes to SOFA. Gabriel posed for a dozen of photos for me; and they looked good on the 2.5” display of my camera. But when I looked at them large they did not satisfy. They were average. Reasonable quality and showing likeness, they all were missing his personality.
When I found Gabriel again the next day, this time in his gallery, I got to experience a full blast of French charm. Gabriel speaks in a low voice making you step in closer. In 15 minutes of the second photo session I got more compliments and pointed interest in me and my work than I have had in a month. This can be addictive! I also got my winner shot.
#33 of 40. Graphite, Moleskine Cahier sketchbook
I only met Lina very recently, at SOFA. I went to the show with three specific goals in mind: to see Sami – definitely goal #1, to see new art, and to collect faces (portrait references) for my Sketchbook Project. I was still in a process of greeting everybody in the Mostly Glass gallery when I saw Lina at the exhibit opposite.
I waited a while until Lina had no visitors and then introduced myself and my request. Lina wasn’t sure. Usually when I see that, I back off and give people their space. But I wanted to draw Lina’s brilliant presence and abandon of red curls very badly, so I didn’t. I didn’t insist, but I wasn’t going away either. I chatted with her about where she is from – she was born in Egypt but lives in Israel, her art – she makes wonderful jewelry that I wish I could afford. Eventually Lina relented and agreed to be photographed. I knew she would, artists understand fellow artists. Thank you so much, Lina!
P.S. If you look at the photo of Sami and I in the post about Sami, you would see Lina in the background.
#32 of 40. Graphite, Moleskine Cahier sketchbook
SOFA Chicago 2010 has come and is gone, but it brought Sami to town. Sami Harawi is an owner of Mostly Glass gallery. Sami and I go back to 2003, when I was doing weaving. It was January 2003. Sami called me out of the blue, took all my weavings and sold nearly all my production within a few months, and wanted more. But this is not a sole reason I love him. I love him because he is such a lovable person. I only get to see him once a year when he brings his gallery exhibit to SOFA Chicago. I then come and hang around his gallery doing my best to distract him from his sales. I stay after the show close and help pack the art. I wrote about this last year, with pictures.
This year I came with a camera too because I wanted to draw Sami’s portrait, as well as anyone else’s who would agree. After collecting several good shots of Sami I told him that I am going to make him look beautiful. Sami grumbled back “If you’ll make me look better than I do, I’d know that you can’t draw!” I took this very seriously.
So, here I have for you – Sami: wrinkles, 5 o’clock stubble and an expression “I need a break, please!” He is tired by the end of day 3 of the show, but still very handsome.
#31 of 40. Graphite, Moleskine Cahier sketchbook
And here Sami and I are having a reunion hug on Day 1 of the show.
SOFA Chicago came and went.
I did not have anything on display this year, but I spent 3 days there to see what other artists have been doing and get my imagination charged. And also to hang around my gallery and spent time with Sami whom I adore but only get to see once a year. Here’s Sami, the owner of Mostly Glass gallery, and I.
I also worked after the show closed , from 6pm till 11pm, and helped my gallery pack – a Herculean task to say the least – nearly everything the gallery shows is glass. Here’s how SOFA looks after the doors are closed, fancy public in designer duds is gone and spot lights are turned off. Not the images from glossy brochures – the real deal.