A Story For Gary

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A Story For Gary

Post by Upside » Aug 31, 2010 7:16 am

Hi Gary,
I'll start with thank you for this Site, your Work, your Mission, your Team, the Artists you find, and your Stories. It's great to tag along on your adventures as you find more artists and art. It's enlightening to learn things about a country that, still today, remains much of a mystery. It's comforting to hear about the artist who's work we buy. To know where they are from and how they are doing. You and your team are doing a VERY good thing here. I think it's become bigger than just sharing art with the rest of the world.
I'd like to share my story with you...

I had just finished reading Musashi and was curious as to what Bushido was broken down as. What exactly was 'the code' that so many lived by. The almighty Google brought me to your site when I typed in Bushido. I was at first disappointed when I saw all the art but lo and behold the answer lay within the sites pages. Well I was in the door so I paused and took a look around. My wife and I collect Dragons and to my great pleasure you had a section just for that. Some quick browsing and I knew I had to purchase one. These were the perfect gift! My wifes birthday was coming up as well as she's going back to work from maternity leave. I has plenty of reasons to buy and the work was wonderful and unique. I selected a scroll that had 3 dragons in the clouds (although only a short story regarding the artist). Within a week the Oriental Outpost box was sitting on my desk at work. I was giddy to say the least. However I had to wait nearly a month before I could give it as a gift and the waiting is the hardest part. I didn't peak at it until my wife would open it.

While I was waiting in anticipation I continued to visit your site, checking out more art and reading your stories. You have a very comfortable site to visit and unfortunately I wasted lots of work time surfing the artwork. I found Mr. Wangs art and I was enthralled. I'm quite partial to black and white art and his charcoal was just what the soul was asking for. I was smitten with is bamboo, I read his story several times, I returned again and again unable to decide which piece to purchase and then I read your update about his health. I was stricken with fear that I would loose out on something wonderful. I finally decided on my favourite, already had a spot picked out for it, and bought it post haste. I had intended to buy more but it seems within a day or two all his horizontal bamboo was gone. Once again I received a box on my desk within a week. This one was going to a framers right way! I didn't even open the box until I had it on the framers table. We unrolled it and the framer was surprised "oh! This is an actual charcoal" Yup, I thought, just like I told you on the phone, it's the real thing. He mentioned that there seem to be a lot of oriental art coming through his shop lately (so I bet that's a good thing for you). Well to cut this short, the piece enraptured me even more in person. I was scared to leave the piece to be framed but you've got to trust somebody.
I expect a call saying it's done any day now and the dragon scroll was unveiled last night. They are amazing!! You should all receive ambassador awards for what you do. PLEASE pass on my thanks to the artists and convey what an honour it is for me to have their art in my home. When they are finally on the walls I will post pictures so you can see what has become of part of your travels.

Thanks again,
Andrew

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Gary
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Joined: Oct 30, 2007 11:30 pm
Location: San Diego / Beijing
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Post by Gary » Aug 31, 2010 12:40 pm

Thanks for your story.

I suppose that you eventually found your way to this Bushido page:
bushido-code-of-the-samurai.php

Over the years, this website has become something between a for-profit business, a charity, and an educational resource.

The educational tidbits are mostly hidden in artwork listings,but I even build a free dictionary:
dictionary.php



For the artists, we're sometimes an art buyer, a bank, or a house guest.

The buyer part is obvious, but a bank?
Sometimes I lend money to artists that I have guanxi with. They may be buying a home, and need help with the down payment, or in 2008 when the earthquake hit Sichuan, I kept food on the tables for all my surviving Sichuan artists by issuing large loans that they paid back over the next year with artwork. What nobody thinks about during a disaster is that nobody buys artwork and all the tourists stay away. Therefore the artists starve. We also ran fundraisers selling Sichuan artwork with 100% going to the Int'l Red Cross. We did similar stuff during the Tsunami years earlier.

A house guest?
I have more of a friendship than a business relationship with many of my artist-friends. When I travel around China to places where these artists live, it would offend them if I stayed in a hotel. They always make room in their homes for me. They even feed me home-cooked meals. It's true Chinese hospitality. For my part, I bring them thoughtful American-made gifts (gifts from far away hold special significance in Chinese culture - a recon hat from an army surplus store can be a treasured gift in China).



I don't think I'm in this business for the money. I can't even afford medical insurance until Obama-care is implemented in a few years (my wife had a complication with her last pregnancy, so Blue Cross wants $2700 per month to insure us).

But it's a pretty cool business that keeps me out of the dog-eat-dog business world (my educational background suggests that I should be an executive at an engineering company).



Thanks for your kind words. I am glad you had a good experience and are really enjoying your artwork. It is all real, all handmade, and all from independent artists who set their own price.

Cheers,
-Gary.

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Joined: Aug 31, 2010 6:33 am

Post by Upside » Sep 13, 2010 1:08 pm


Well the first thing that hits me is that you hint that some of your artists didn't survive. For this I'm sorry and extend my condolences. Our loss of artists and your loss of friends. Especially more difficult when we read of how you share their homes, their food, and part of their lives. Perhaps you can pass on that, on a human level, there are others who share this world with them that hurt when they hurt and wish we could help more.

Your work on this site is part of it's appeal. It's fun while being educational! Though I may run out of wall space in my home I know I'll keep coming back to check, and search for those tidbits of news or history. I've gotten my bamboo charcoal back from the framers (2 weeks for the record) and I think it looks great. The Silk makes an excellent Matte and I'm astounded how it changes colour in different lighting. I chose a simple frame that also tends to change colour depending on light. It can be a dark wood or a shiny copper-ish. Like the Silk that can be green or a copper-gold depending on light. Excellent work by your team and I'm pleased with 17th ave Framing in Calgary ( I mentioned they might want to invest in a few pieces from your site and frame them just to keep some stock on hand ;) ).

I'm glad you're not in engineering :)
Look for a picture on the way![/img]

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