"No good deed will go unpunished" should be the title of this blog today.
I gave Marcos, the artist, an opportunity that most artists would dream of having: to make his work known nationally in the USA. I supported him fully for two months, gave him room and board, had him staying with me and my family in my house, took him everywhere with me, introduced him to all my clients and friends. The only thing he needed to do was paint!
When he first arrived at my home, I explained to him the concept I had for the art show, which was to honor the key people who made Miami the great city that it is today. Beginning with the founder of Miami, Julia Tuttle, a visionary woman that in her days was able to see the potential Miami had. She founded it, and then went on to convince the railroad magnate, Henry Flagler, to bring his railroad all the way south to Miami. What a woman she was!
No wonder Miami is so beautiful and special! It is one of the very few cities in the US founded by a woman! I then went on to choose other key people that developed Miami, and others that came later and embraced Miami as their home, adding spice and culture to this city. The show was titled "Miami Celebrities," and I commissioned 37 portraits of exponents in the areas of development (such as Craig Robins and Ugo Colombo), philanthropists (like Phil Frost and Lea Black), entertainers (Gloria Estefan and Enrique Iglesias), athletes (Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning), etc.
Initially Marcos said he need to get a few days to rest from his travels, so he took some time off and enjoyed my pool and hospitality. He even invited some of his friends over my place. This went on for three weeks, and then I finally began to ask him when would he begin painting. Every time I inquired about it, he would respond he had plenty of time, and I did not need to control him or tell him what to do. So, I let him take his time, trusting that he would deliver all 37 paintings at the scheduled time, which was about ten days before the opening night. Two weeks before the event I asked how many paintings he had ready, and he said, "None!" Wow! I started to really get nervous, 37 paintings and only two weeks left. I knew then that he would not be able to deliver all the commissioned pieces, so I desperately started to work on plan B in order to save face with my business partner, my clients, and the VIP guests who were attending the vernissage. I was luck enough that the next artist scheduled to show in my space, agreed to fly in from Paris and performed a "happening," which is a live art performance.
The stress was so great on the day of opening, that when I arrived home to get ready, I broke out in a strong allergic reaction and my face swelled up and I got hives on my cheeks and neck! I sincerely thought I was not going to make it to the art show at that point!
Luckily, after one hour of icing my face and taking a strong dose of antihistamines, the swelling came down and only then I was able to get my hair and make up done. Oof!
After the main art opening was finished, I invited the guests to descend to the first floor of the gallery, in order to enjoy a performance by Billie Meyers. Immediately after her singing, Yves Clement, the French artist, performed his happening.
It was interesting to see how Marcos' friend, after calling himself an artist and art expert, stepped on the fresh painting on the floor, just to ruin the other artist's work, and then denied it. It was so surreal, I felt like that was the perfect setting for an Agatha Christie mystery! Lea was right--we did need the forensics there!
On a lighter note, I thought Lea Bardot's, I mean, Lea Black's portrait looked amazing! She reminded me of Brigitte Bardot in the painting.
Well, I must end this blog with a promise to Larsa: your beauty is worthy of a portrait, and I will put you on the wall next time!