I first met George Northup at one of the private dinner parties just before the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival in Thomasville, GA. I instantly liked him - a lot. He took time to chat with me - a relatively unknown artist just starting out on my first major show. We chatted for some time that night and I vowed to keep in touch with him, because eventhough I wasn't all that famliar with his work - I just really liked him.
George didn't have an arrogant streak in him. He had every right to be - his work is up there with all of the greatest wildlife sculptors. A couple years later, when I started Sporting Artisans, George was one of the first artists I invited and I was very happy when he said yes.
I didn't have a sale for him the first couple years. Then a call came in requesting more information. I hadn't spoken to George but maybe once in two years, and when I called, I had to remind him who I was. But true to George's character, he was instantly and genuinely nice and gracious and started chatting with me again about his art, my art and what he was planning to do next. We made the sale. In fact, the people who bought the first George Northup piece off my site bought two more later - but better than that - the customers became good friends.
I thank George not only for the sale, but better yet the friends I've made through his work. That would be fitting as it is definitely true to his nature.
George passed suddenly last summer. It is a heartbreaking thing for me. I just loved calling him and chatting - and he'd take the time everytime to give me advice on what I should do to get into a gallery - or tell me that he knew some folks that he could put me in touch with. But beyond that, he was just plain wonderful to talk with.
His daughter has launched a gofundme page to celebrate the fact that my story is not unusual. She writes: "George especially loved to support young, often struggling artists. He encouraged and mentored many, many artists who went on to fill their greater dreams in the profession, and he introduced them without hesitation or reservation to the amazing circles of art influencers and professionals whose respect he had earned over decades, and who could help them.
In honor of this great generous spirit, and to fulfill his noble wish to become a patron, the George Northup Young Artist Scholarship has been formed to support one or more art students as he would have wanted."
Please take a look at this gofundme page and consider a donation. But like me, keep George's work in your eye and his memory in your heart.