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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sharing The Passion

Another project I was working on along with the pieces for the David Lynch Foundation during our move was a secret one. Until now.


Yep. I'd avoided doing pieces on 45s because of the limited space. And because of the sizeable cost of ones that people would dig having painted.

Then along came Norm. Norm is one of those guys who would make me nervous in my earlier Vinyl Art days. A record collector's collector. A dealer.

Many dealers have snarled at me, incredulous that I ruin things of such collectible value. Most however, thankfully, end up really really REALLY getting what I do and loving my work. Norm came to me already loving my work.

And he wanted me to ruin $100-500 dollar 45s. My hands literally trembled when I started these. I'm a closet collector too, so I get what these meant.

And that's why this project worked. Shared passion. I didn't know about the Northern Soul movement before this beyond the fact that the Verve was from the area and had an aptly named album. But I love records, the physical manifestation of music. I love the feel, the history, the design, the creativity that goes into every part of a pressing.

Norm does too, and he had an idea. A series of 4 pieces based on the dance scene at the Wigan Casino in the '70s. The 4 singles would be the "3 before 8" and the final song played at the venue as described in the Wikipedia entry. Very collectible 45s. VERY. People who know and collect these might've involuntarily cringed just now.

But the idea was seriously cool. 4 scenes characteristic of the place: the exterior, the circle skirt the women wore, the backdrop dance move and the dancefloor. With color.

I'd never done anything like it, but Norm trusted my artistic vision. Introducing these pieces recently during an interview I said, and meant, that I was honored he'd go through with an idea like this with me. He said that I was a pleasure to work with, which is good.

Because it took a long time.

The coolest thing was though, that because it took so long, I was actually able to hand-deliver the pieces. See, while I was working on them, we moved. A mile away from Norm.

So here they are, in the order of their final playing in 1981:

Circle Skirt
Wigan dancefloor
Wigan Casino Peace.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vinyl Art Goes Bicoastal for VH1, Sort Of

VH1 New York Corporate GalleryMoving to CA has brought with it some really unexpected opportunities. Awhile back before the move I was contacted by a fellow at VH1 in NYNY. They have a corporate gallery that displays music-related art and photography. Pretty cool. 20some of my pieces were up for 3 months! Some friends were able to check out the exhibit and said it looked great. I wish we could've seen it, but we were moving!

Then we moved. I got the pieces back from VH1 at our new house and pretty much the next day, a lady from VH1's Save The Music Foundation there in NYNY contacted me asking for help. Every year Billabong puts on their Design for Humanity at Paramount Studios in Hollywood on the NYNY backlot that benefits a specific charity. This year it was benefitting them and they had been given a space to hold a silent auction for some autographed guitars. The space needed some dressing up to make it feel more music-related since it was basically an empty set made up like a New York diner, maybe. Anyway, it, they, needed help.

Paramount Studios' New York backlotSince I had the pieces back it was pretty simple to take them to the event. That meant we got to go to the event! At Paramount Studios! Back to NYNY, sort of!

VH1's Save The Music Foundation displayMy wife went with me, while my in-laws, who were conveniently in town, watched the baby. She really helped coordinate and laid out all the pieces in the space they'd given us to hang them. The above shot shows the main wall at the back of the space. There were a few more pieces on the side walls as well. My pieces drew people in, past the autographed guitars. There were like 4,000 people there for this thing! It was incredible.

Full moon at Billabong's Design for Humanity The best part was that at the end of the evening, 2 couples came in and did a deal to win all the remaining guitars! So all the pieces they brought had been bought. And the whole night brought in around $120,000 for the charity. It was funny because Billabong's people had given VH1's people cash. Cash! That much! They didn't quite know what to do with it all, and how they were going to take it back to New York.

For me, it was a great time. And next I'll get to give STMF a piece or two for an upcoming local songwriters' auction. Maybe even get the musicians to sign the pieces like with DLFM. Very cool, fitting in with my new mantra.

Push to give, Peace.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pushing To Give

four for DLFM - Waits, Iggy, Moby, LynchMy new mantra.

Usually people push to get. To get attention, to get money, to get love. But it can be a challenge to give too. To give attention, to give money, to give love. To get taken.

A lot of the metaphysical, philosophical, religious types from the East and West talk about our purpose in this Life here being tied to giving of ourselves, finding what we can contribute to humanity, loving as we would be loved. As I've pursued my Vinyl Art as a means to share my passion for music and art, it has developed into a means to give back as well as to gain financially.

During this past half-year, while my family was in the process of moving, a MAJOR opportunity to do so arose. I had quite awhile ago painted auteur David Lynch and was honored that he signed my piece as an eventual auction incentive for his foundation. He then set out to create a charity music label, DLFM, that would pull unique music tracks from various musicians whose online downloads would benefit the David Lynch Foundation.

I fortunately got in touch with that group and got to contribute pieces to the new venture. My goodness, indeed. Above you can see the photo of my paintings of Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, Moby and David Lynch signed and pledged for during the initial Pledgemusic drive by one fellow in France. Other pieces also were pledged for at that point and I have the rest ready to auction off on DLFM's website launching soon.

While there were challenges requiring that push, it has been an amazing chance to do good helping Mr. Lynch with his DOWNLOAD FOR GOOD campaign. My video on the link above about my pieces says it all for me.

I don't know where it will lead, as I've also gotten to give "thank you" pieces to Tom Waits, Iggy Pop and others whose pieces have benefitted the foundation, but pushing myself feels very gratifying. I only hope the Universe feels it too.