One of my paintings of One Direction once reached 250.000 people! I thought that was pretty amazing and to be quite honest, I thought that was about as far as I was gonna go. Little did I know that it would become a common occurrence in the years to come. Because apparently, once you’re in the One Direction fandom, and they’re behind you, you’re in. And boy, was I in. Two years later, on October 11th 2015, I had the privilege of meeting One Direction and presenting them with an art book. Below are two photos, and the missing member here is Niall, but he was actually there, don’t worry, I just missed the photo op.
A lesson learned here, I suppose, is that it’s a case of quality over quantity. One of those open doors that deserves to be kicked open a little further. Because as I continued to make art of these five (later four) young Brits, there were a few people, and it really was just a few, who were constantly sharing my work, who were doing the work for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still put a lot of time into it, from the painting (duh) to getting my paintings seen by fans. But I couldn’t have reached the band without their help. And a healthy dose of persistence, and a hell of a lot of luck. There were plenty of people who told me it couldn’t be done, but there were a few who were determined to help me make it happen.
Because of the help of those few, my art (and story) reached people close to the band, and they believed in me. Even that, however, was no real guarantee of getting a few moments of One Direction’s time. What I learned on the night that I met them, and what I knew from what I’d seen, is that they are incredibly busy. Whoever thinks that these boys don’t work hard is wrong. They fly/drive/get beamed into city after city to do show after show. There is no stopping. (They are now on a break, so there is some stopping)
People went out of their way to arrange for a few spare moments before they had to go on stage, so I could give them a book of art. Because they felt I had something to offer that was different. And that is incredibly humbling. Whether it was my art, or my disability, or my personality, or a combination of the three, I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t care that much. I’m just grateful to everybody who believed in me enough to make something like that happen.
And to One Direction’s crew, who had taken care to make sure they knew stuff about me and had seen my art. They didn’t have to, but they did.
And to the lads of One Direction, who were lovely to me, seemed to really like my art and the book that I gave them, even though they get millions of things. And to Harry Styles in particular, who turned back to me at one point and asked me if I could please sign the book and write a little something in there.
I wrote a more detailed reflection of the night on my Tumblr. I guess my point of this post here is that you need to appreciate the people who appreciate you. Even if they’re small in numbers, if they believe in you enough, if you are thankful and humble, work hard and be kind, you’ll get to where you want to go.