How to Get a Solo Show as an Amateur Artist: First, Serve Two Terms As President…

President George W. Bush’s portraits of world leaders appear to be copied off photos available on the internet

George W. Bush's self portrait. George W. Bush / The Bush Center

Getting a solo gallery showing is a massive achievement for any budding artist—a success that often comes after a long, hard slog. The solo showing is a sign that the artist is on the path to making it, that their unique vision and style is really resonating. Or, that's normally what it means.

There are a few steps you could take to ease the transition into the art world. For one, you could be a two-term President. Then, you could host the gallery showing yourself. Last weekend, former President Bush opened “The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy,” at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas.

President Bush started painting two years ago, and his style has certainly developed since his early works. The showing includes a series of portraits of world leaders. In a release, says Bush,

What people will be able to come away with is: how do I feel about somebody I painted? That’s really the most important thing about it. Painting portraits of my friends and some people who weren’t necessarily my friends gave me a sense to convey a feeling I have about them because I got to know them well during the Presidency. I learned about their families and their likes and dislikes to the point where I felt comfortable painting them.

Whatever sense of intimacy is portrayed in the portraits, however, was not earned through Presidential access and familiarity. Instead, says Animal New York, many of Bush's paintings were copied off images found on the internet, on book covers, and in news agency photographs.

President Bush's portrait of Vladimir Putin, alongside a Google Images search for the Russian President.

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.