Sunday, January 26, 2014

31 Days of Thanks Day 14 Jake and Middle St

31 Days of Thanks Insight into who has influenced us, our art, and our business throughout the years.

When we first arrived in New Bern I went to the temp service and got a job working at Bosch in the customer service department. While there Chuck introduced me to Jake. He did that because he knew that we were both artists. Jake was also a computer whiz.

It wasn't long before we were cooking up a way to have a presence in Downtown. Jake rented a building and I rented a space from him. He did his painting and set up a graphic design studio. I had a spot there and started drawing New Bern. I reproduced my drawings into notecards and black and white prints, and hand colored the prints.

I remember an old guy coming in and saying "I used to do this kind of work in NYC, what makes you think you can make a living here doing this?" I was speechless, so to have something to say I asked him about the flowers he was carrying and he told me about his wife's illness.

Jake helped me as I started really working on my watercolors. He worked in different mediums, I said how can you keep it all straight?  I was in awe. I was also in awe of his work on his mac, we were still working on our KayPro!!!

Ever since leaving my job where I had access to a type setter I felt at a disadvantage. I had to have the printer do the typesetting for my cards and advertising pieces and I didn't like it at all.

Carol from the Arts Council introduced me to Jack from Kinston, who was also an artist and a computer whiz and he assisted me in purchasing, what they guy who built it for me called, a bleeding edge, computer. Looking at where computers have gone since the early 90's it wasn't much but at the time it was top of the line.

I was back in business!

A couple years later that old guy came back in and said "You don't know who I am do you?" I said, "give me a minute". He had a smirk on his face like, sure, she doesn't know me. I said, "You came in a couple years ago and said to me - I used to do this kind of work in NYC, what makes you think you can make a living here doing this?" you had flowers in your hand for your sick wife. He grinned and said "why do you clutter your mind remembering things like that!!"

As I was trying to paint in watercolors after such a long time I just couldn't seem to get it. I could hand color my prints but to do an entire painting just in watercolor and remembering how my friend Frances and Tom Thiery painted, with a lot of water, I was struggling. Then one night thinking about it I decided to approach the painting like I would a drawing, sketch the picture out and just slowly build up the color. VoilĂ  it worked!! Like magic I was able to do a successful painting!

The funny thing that still happens to this day is people say "I love your colors". Having worked in black and white so long mixing colors was all new to me so to hear people say that over and over really pleased me.

So, through the years we have met many memorable people!!

Thank you Jake, Carol, Jack, old guy - you all inspired me. And thank you to all those first customers, many of whom are still coming into Carolina Creations.

- Jan Francoeur

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