Victoria Semarjian – June 1993

The first day of school, the first concert without a parent, a first date. Firsts happen so many times throughout our lives, but always have the same effect, the butterflies, the scary excitement, the sweaty palms.

In 1993, Jean Brandt gave me the opportunity to have my first solo show at her gallery. I was fresh out of school and hardly expected that anyone would open their doors to me so quickly. I was honored, appreciative, and horrified. What if it sucked? What if visitors came in and started thrashing my work? Even worse, what if no came at all?

The opening crept up faster than a bullet train. All the “first” feelings took over me. Of course, it’s all such a blur that I can’t remember who was there or really what happened at the reception at all. It was like being a debutante at her first ball. What I do recall is going home with a warm fuzzy feeling just like my first kiss.

A few weeks after the show had been up, I received a call from Jean. The was a woman who had come to visit one of my paintings more than once. She really wanted to buy it (could it be true…my first “official” sale). The woman was on a budget and although probably shouldn’t be making the purchase, hoped that we could work out a payment plan. Of course that wasn’t a problem, but I really didn’t want this woman who clearly was touched by my piece, to put herself out in order to have it. At the end of the show (if my memory serves me right), we gave that piece to the woman for free.

Jean gave me such a gift by allowing me this amazing first. In addition, this experience helped me learn the priceless gift of giving.

Victoria Semarjian