When would you consider your first big break to be (if any)?

This post is part of a series of interview answers written by Dolan and published in abbreviated form in Uppercase magazine. We’ll be publishing one of these Q&A’s each Thursday for the next few months.

I had several big breaks I believe but one of the first was when I met Leo and Amanda. This was not a normal big break, but these folks were pivotal to my career determination. Leo and Amanda were punk artists who were always squatting in some abandoned building. I squatted with them in an abandoned office space while I was selling art on the downtown mall in Charlottesville, Va. I still had the warehouse space I was squatting in back in Stuarts Draft, but when I was too tired to drive home I lived with them in C-ville. They introduced me to the Smiths and to shoplifting, and Leo taught me how to really paint and to appreciate the way paint moves. We would sell art in the afternoon and then make art all night going to sleep when the sun came up. Some days we’d make $50. Some days we’d make $5, and we’d take stock and change all of the images we were selling. I introduced them to selling small art at an affordable price.

I can remember the best day we had. We were selling a new bunch of paintings and this girl walked up and said “hey, I like these three pieces” (3 small pieces only totaling 15 dollars ). She said, “I don’t have any money, but I work at the bar down there, and you can come after five and eat anything on the menu and have as many drinks as you’d like.”  We were so excited; a bartered burger never tasted so good!  We weren’t starving but we refused to waste our hard earned money on food, mostly saving it for really good wine and cigarettes. When a real meal came about, we jumped at the chance. That was a big break for me, meeting those cats, because they had actually gone to a high-class art school (before they dropped out) and they refused to let me make crappy art.

PS: For more about Leo, read this post: I’m Jealous of Leo Charre

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