The Million-Dollar Masterpiece


"Proud like a kid, I first presented my plans to a selected group of great and reputable artists and friends: "The masterpiece is on the market for a million dollars. I want to use this money to open my dream studio and to bring life to my ideas of using art and technology in another dimension, generating resources, knowledge, and encouragement for people while exchanging those resources to empower communities around the globe. I want to rethink poverty..." Some of them openly laugh; others could not hide the uneasiness on their faces. You are odd, asking for that, Maria. You are not famous or anything. They are going to think you are a sham. People will hate you for exposing your true self like this."

But it is not about me, I replied. I am not looking for attention. I am looking for an aesthete, an art lover, an independent and powerful person out there who will be able to see the beauty and intriguing qualities of this piece of art and its purpose, a person who sees the paradox hidden in the image. I am looking for an aristocrat with love for the common man, an intellectual who also appreciates popular culture. A powerful person, self-sufficient, bold and generous enough, who has light in him/herself and can afford eccentricities. I am not looking for a simple man or woman, but a genius mind that is complex enough to see it not only as a surface with a decorative appeal, but with eyes for the depth of its field, the story behind, the inexpressible ambiguity and the surreal complexity of the Winter Sparrows and the Japanese Ladies. That someone will enhance the mystery, will enlarge the irresistible lure with their personality and, at the same time, will acquire great pleasure by possessing the masterpiece... and, having great character and presence of mind to not laugh at me and has no concern for the value that I assigned to the masterpiece. I know there is somebody out there with all of that characteristics and even more.

Their lower and upper eyelids had been tightened when they tried to kill my dream one more time: There are so many artists out there who are better in every possible way, deserving more than you.

As confident as I have ever answered, I said, But it is not about them either. This is not a competition. I just want to exchange this piece of art for a million dollars to have the resources to create an amazing art studio with all my innovative ideas. There is nothing I dream higher than that, with the event of the Internet, the world has changed so much, opening new doors for artists to recreate with the possibility to help the common man. Just imagine what Walt Disney would have done with the technological resources we have available today? This money will give me the chance to fulfill my calling which is to use my art to serve. It is our gifts that make us valuable, and serving them to the world is our responsibility.

Not wanting to engage in that conversation anymore, I asked for a moment, distanced myself from them, and cried. Those tears and the sadness invading my heart were not for me. I was hurting for them and their lack of vision. I saw them as dead, all creative minds who have lost their innocent and naive faith which is what pushes artists to glory. I did not need them to believe for me. I was disappointed that my friends had forgotten their commitment to humanity to never give up on fantasy, to be illusionists and visionaries, to be entertainers, to be optimists and naive dreamers and gullible players; reality is not suitable to artists. How could they forget that?

As in a clear vision, my artist core appeared in front of me intact: There were no cracks, no disbelief, no pride, no shame to dream the impossible, no worries ... nothing like that. Courage that comes with the calm flow of potential was gushing everywhere inside me, forming a spectacle of colors and sounds.

When I came back minutes later, transformed by enlightenment, I took a deep breath and gave them my final speech: Ladies and gentlemen, I can't help but be confident. I will fulfill my purpose, and I will certainly find a buyer, a collector, a patron -- someone who has it all -- will come along. You will see."

When they raised their eye brows, opened their mouths and giggled, I was already far away.


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