LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Copt/Feiden Gallery in Lawrence had a lot of foot traffic just before the holidays. One day, a mother walked in with her young son who was in no mood to quietly look at art.
“He was just bugging the heck out of her about wanting to get home so he could draw ‘OK Mountain,’ and I suggested that maybe, I’m trying to give his mom a break, that why doesn’t he just draw it right here?” says artist and gallery partner, Mark Feiden.
The little boy drew a picture of the mountain, including his name and a price: $18.
“I let him decide the price, and I was kinda tickled you know, 18 dollars, I don’t know where he got that,” Feiden says.
The boy left with the promise his work would be displayed.
“I just turned around and tacked it on the wall behind me,” Feiden remembers.
About a week later, David Allen was walking through the gallery.
“I came in here to buy art for Christmas presents,” Allen says.
But what really caught his eye was a pencil on cardstock piece.
“The name up in the corner. It said Eli, because my son’s name is Eli also,” Allen says of his first impression.
“David Allen says, well, I’ll buy it!” recalls Louis Copt. “He says my son, his name is Elijah too, he says, I always encouraged him to try to be an artist as well.”
Allen’s son, Eli, is an artist working on his degree to design video game backgrounds, in part because of his father’s encouragement.
“The importance to me is that creativity is valuable, regardless of how you express it,” Allen explains.
Allen hopes the fact he values another Eli’s creativity by buying his art and eventually framing it will inspire him too.
The problem is that the gallery doesn’t know how to get in touch with Eli, the young artist. The people at the Copt/Feiden gallery would love to pay him. If they don’t find him soon, though, the money will be given to a children’s arts organization.