But on Saturday afternoon, Carrie casually mentioned catching up with Jasmine Becket-Griffith… and I knew it was hopeless.
My inner geek just went weak at the knees, and I found myself rushing over to Jasmine’s booth early on Sunday morning before the show opened.
I was crossing my paws that she would be willing to have her picture taken with me.
(I always envied the artists who uploaded Facebook albums of Megacon, and EVERYONE posed for photos with Jasmine)
Because, ya know, Patrick-Freaking-Stewart was also there, and I didn’t bother to leave my booth to get an autograph or my photo taken with Jean-Luc Picard. =P
But if Carrie Hawks is the Queen of Fantasy Cat Art, Jasmine is the Goddess of practically everything else Fantasy/Goth/Fairy/Mermaid related in the known universe.
Like Carrie, I had “friended” Jasmine years ago on Facebook… at my request.
She accepted friend-requests from all of her fans, until Facebook told her that she had too many friends. (5,000 is the limit of personal friends, I guess, LOL!)
So she started a Fan Page for her other 302,695 friends (at the time of this posting). She gains nearly a thousand new fans each day. :P
Jasmine is a household name for us ~ we don’t even use her full name.
Like Madonna, Beyonce, and Cher… it’s just Jasmine.
It always catches me by surprise when I run across people who don’t know who she is. LOL
We’ve been watching her sales on Ebay for a few years (her ID is Strangeling), awestruck that her paintings create bidding wars within an hour after being posted. After only 24 hours, her artwork is already worth hundreds of dollars…. and the auction finally closes with the winner paying $4,000-$5,000.
She paints in marathon sessions every single day, finishing a new piece every 2-3 days. She’ll post the link when she’s finished, and within 10 minutes, you can sit back and watch the bidding battle.
Grab a bowl of popcorn, and hit Refresh often…
For me, the fascination is akin to watching a train wreck, except this sparkley purple engine smashes into a giant puffed marshmellow, and all the unscathed passengers climb out of their windows, up onto the sugary mound, and start bouncing about like crazed kids on a trampoline.
It’s one of those “Holy crap, is this for real? Am I really seeing this?” moments.
Of course, she didn’t exit the starting gate at 90 mph. She began selling her art as a teenager in the late 1990’s, when eBay was in its infancy, and her work was different enough to stand out in the online flea market.
She was selling her paintings for $40-$50 at auction back then, not $4,500. Though she was already dedicated, painting two or three of them per day!
Jasmine claims her success was due almost entirely to her obsessive drive and work ethic. When a friend posted a blog comment on Jasmine’s success, here was her reply:
“lol, i wouldn’t say that i’m doing amazingly well by any means. i’m doing better than i expected, but again i do work often 18 hours a day promoting my site, submitting stuff to search engines, begging folks to link my site, making prints, answering email, mailing stuff, and of course (last, but not least) painting.
i’m probably barely pushing minimum wage if i looked at it hourly.
i really think that if ANYBODY, certainly someone with… ambition and talent… were to honestly put that much time into it they would do at least as well as i do.
i [am] lucky in that i was in a position to “quit my day job” and have the opportunity to spend that much time on my art career. if i wasn’t with someone (matt) who has a relatively steady income to cover the rent in case i totally flopped, i probably wouldn’t have been able to do [anything] with my artwork.
i really live kind of a lonely life right now, really unless i’m at the post office mailing stuff i am no more than 15 feet away from my computer/art area, and i am constantly at work.
i really don’t think that it is an admirable lifestyle, it’s way too introverting and self-absorbing and it’s turned me into a completely asocial agoraphobic.
i suppose it all matters where your priorities lie.”
Flash-forward 10 years, her husband Matt now works full-time for his wife, as do many of her relatives. ;)
Jasmine’s level of success has always served as my “glass ceiling”…. a constant reminder of what extreme dedication can achieve. I accept that I will never become as famous as she is, because as she wisely said, my priorities lie with my family, and spending time away from my art.
Of course, I knew that she wouldn’t recognize me personally. Not one person in five thousand friends, even if I wore a mask of Mr. Darcy Cat over my face. I wasn’t an active poster on her Facebook wall or blog.
So I crept up to her table, where she was already seated ~ patiently waiting for the doors to open and the crowds to crush themselves, pressing into her double booth.
I introduced myself with, “I just wanted to say ‘Hi’. My name is Tara, and I have a booth over there selling cat art.”
And, of course, the butterflies were threatening to burst from my stomach like alien parasites.
Jasmine looked up at me, smiling, and replied,
“Oh, Tara Fly? [Matt and I] saw your booth yesterday when we were walking around. Your artwork is very nice.”
And I was nearly struck dumb that she remembered my full name, but did mumble something about the duct-tape…
And she laughed, and said, “You should have seen my first booth.”
Then she started telling me about her various shows ~ everything from threats by the fire-marshall over crowd control, to the difficulties of getting a hotel in Atlanta, GA in the months leading up to DragonCon. “Book your hotel a year in advance, or you’ll never find a room!” And how FaerieCon in Baltimore, MD is so strict, they complain about her mermaids because they aren’t fairies.
And interspersed with these tales of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, she gave me tidbits of advice for applying to shows. She spoke to me for nearly 20 minutes, one artist to another, as if she acknowledged me as an equal… or a future equal. Just give me a few years to collect 300,000 fans, m’kay? :P
When Carrie came over to collect an autographed copy of Jasmine’s new art book, I stood in line to purchase one.
But Jasmine said, “Oh, I’ll give you one, too!”
And she addressed a book to me, and placed it into my hands.
Her husband chided, “Alright, that’s the last free one. We need to sell some of them.” LOL!
I returned to my booth with 5 minutes to spare (before the doors opened), and texted my husband, nearly squealing through my fingers as I typed:
“I met Jasmine!”
He replied: “You sound star-struck”.
Yes, I was. :)
Tara Fly3 days ago
My new painting, "Dali's Whiskers", is complete and on its way to Ireland, for a cat-themed gallery exhibit in September! =^,,^=
Salvador Dali's ocelot is featured in this piece, sporting a fancy mustache, in a surrealistic dreamscape of melting clocks and gangling elephants. :)