So it is safe to say that I was already extremely honored to be accepted to this show once I realized how long it has been going on and the amazing quality of the work that is accepted. So you can imagine my excitement and disbelief when I received an email two days before the show telling me one of my paintings ("Desert Walkers") was awarded 1st place! The reception for this show was amazing for many reasons but certain highlights for me were the comments and feedback I got from viewers of my paintings. The people at this show were very comfortable speaking to artists and this made me very happy to listen to feedback and also explain my own thoughts. The comments that really stuck out to me were ones that compared my paintings to recent world events. One viewer compared "Desert Walkers" to the Syrian refugee crisis and the long and hard journeys many refugees are forced to take. Another viewer looked at "Cloaked" and saw the oppression of the native American people and their often unheard voices. These types of comments really stuck out to me because I didn't think of these themes and concepts when I was making these pieces. Not that this is a bad thing of course but I found it interesting that when a person can craft an image in just the right way the work takes on a life of its own and it is really out of the makers control. My girlfriend and I discussed this after the show and realized that I approach the creation of my paintings with a certain amount of innocence and vulnerability and this allows my personal emotions and thoughts to bleed naturally into the work.