In 2001 I was still working on my art every night, but during the day I of course had to work in a full time job, although after trying to burn the candle at both ends for a long time I decided that it would be a good idea to consider starting a business so I could end hectic/crazy work schedule. This decision would ultimately lead me to focusing more than ever before on making a living as an artist thanks to my meeting Andy Lakey.
Once In a Lifetime Moment
I don’t even remember the business opportunity I was considering getting involved with at the time, all I remember about that night was the guy who was trying to recruit me into his network marketing company somehow was connected to artist Andy Lakey and he quickly connected me with Andy so we could do a 3-way call with each other and for me that moment was like getting an opportunity to talk with Picasso himself because, Andy Lakey at that time had already reached the pinnacle of the art world and his work was known around the world, hung in galleries, bought by Hollywood stars and admired by me.
We talked for maybe an hour, mostly all about art, and then he invited me to a business presentation that the network marketing company was having that night somewhere in Del Mar, CA, so I told him I would be there. Andy told me to bring my portfolio so he could see my artwork and talk art after the presentation was over and I was over the moon because, for the first time ever a great artist was going to see my artwork and I couldn’t wait..
Driving up to Del Mar from my home in Spring Valley I must have done 85 all the way, but that’s normal for Southern California right? Anyway I arrived just in time for the business presentation just in time to find a seat and then I was stuck for an hour, sitting in a hot conference room with dozens of other attendees until the presentation was finally over.
Once I could finally get up from my seat I scanned the conference room looking for Andy Lakey and I spotted him talking with a group of investors; their conversation wasn’t about business, Andy had everyone in awe about how he just came from filming a small walk on role in the movie Swordfish and how cool that experience was for him
After Andy finished telling everyone about Swordfish I was finally able to talk with him for about 10 minutes until Andy invited everyone out to dinner at a local restaurant to talk about the business opportunity we are all supposed to be there for and he promised that he would review my portfolio once dinner was over.
I wasn’t excited about going to dinner because, I barely had enough gas in my car to drive to Del Mar and I could maybe spend $5 for an appetizer, which I did, but the dinner was worth it because, I got to listen to Andy Lakey tell everyone about his recent trip to the South of France and his exploits at a poker game there; Andy had a cool factor of James Bond and yet humility that you wouldn’t expect from a successful artist because he learned a lesson early in his career which he shared with me that night.
“Jeremy, the secret to success with art is that you have to be willing to give your art away.” he said.
At the time I was still holding onto my art from when I first started painting and I realized that it wasn’t doing any good sitting in my closet so at that point I made the decision to search for opportunities to give away my art to brighten the lives of others and get my work hanging on walls other than the homes of my family and friends.
The Almost Opportunity
Dinner FINALLY ended and I was able to show him my portfolio and Andy Lakey said that some of my work reminded him of his own; especially my angel themed paintings because, he was known around the world for his awesome series of angel paintings that he did before the year 2000.
After he looked at my artwork he told me that he was going to put me in touch with his art dealer and give me the opportunity to show my work to someone who might be willing to represent me as an artist and I was excited beyond words to have this opportunity but it didn’t work out like I hoped….
A few days later September 11th, 2001 came and with this fateful day in history the travel business opportunity that I was considering investing in collapsed because, after 911 nobody wanted to travel and Andy Lakey seemed to disappear from sight…
I didn’t find out what happened to Andy Lakey until this year when I finally found him online and learned that he passed away on October 4th, 2012 at the age of 52.
As any aspiring artist I cherish the opportunity to meet someone like Andy Lakey and will always remember to be willing to give my work away when the opportunity comes so I can enrich the lives of others with my artwork as well as open doors for me to get my work on more walls around the world.