Lions + Tigers + Bears, Oh My!
The whole thing started innocently enough: First my good friend + fabulous painter John Doyle suggests that I have Michelle Dunaway+ Lynn Sanguedolce come and do workshops, then another good friend and gallery patron, Johnathan Ishmael, suggests that I have Kevin Beilfuss and several other of our figurative painters paint paintings at the same time so he could understand their technique. Then other great friends Paul, Julie, Tobey and a whole collection of folks start to talking about how great champagne goes with painting. Duh. I make some phone calls to our figurative painters: Lynn Sanguedolce, Thomas Reis, Kevin Beilfuss, Michelle Dunaway, Bryce Cameron Liston. I ask would they come to demo for a little event in Charleston? Our painters are so amazing: This was a little like asking Rembrandt to fly over and paint for a “few hundred of my closest friends”. Remarkably they agree to come and lecture, paint, demo for the event. I secure the top floor at the Hibernian Hall. Egad.
The entire event has morphed into an Iron Chef meets Moulon Rouge. We add a count down clock, model stands, lighting, staging. My dear friend Cheryl Burke, renowned curator volunteers up her amazing antiques for props. My daughter Rosie adds her capable hands to the production. Olivia Pool, Publisher of the Art Mag in Charleston adds her glamorous presence as Emcee. We gather momentum like a giant snowball: Joshua Rose the Editor of American Art Collector says he will help with the event and join Olivia on stage as a co-host. We collect models that are over the top: Burlesque stars, sailors, gorgeous women, handsome men. I start to panic, feeling now that I am swept up in an avalanche. We expand the scope in Hibernian Hall adding the bottom floor for hors de oeuvres, bar, dancing. I secure housing for every one involved in the production in the Battery. Elizabeth Sher offers to document the event with her legendary photography. We get stage smoke, sound, set scrims, video cameras + monitors. We add Jamie Slater Jazz trio and combine them with a little dance floor. We decide to go Black tie. We add national advertising. Now I am deep into menus, VIP seating for our collectors…Lions + Tigers + Bears! Oh My! I feel like that moment when Dorothy says to Toto “We’re not in Kansas anymore…” In any case the entire thing hopefully should come off as planned on the evening of November 1st…I am thinking this may be the most wonderful crazy thing I have ever done….I hope to see you there. Now where did I put that menu????