CANTO VII (7)
Giving back to the community can be very rewarding and a great act of selflessness. Giving away some of my artwork has been part of my journey in art so far, and is becoming part of my repertoire— for now.
I find it very rewarding at times to give a piece away, and I enjoy how the gesture surprises the hell out of some people.
Once, I gifted a painting to this woman and the look on her face was priceless. She was so shocked, she almost looked disgusted. I couldn’t stop laughing. I loved it.
These examples are not always the case though. Some people react awkward, even though they wanted the piece in the first place.
If you plan on giving away a piece you should, unequivocally expect nothing back. Not a pat on the back, not even a thank you note. Don’t expect much praise. You should do it because you want to and because it’s for a good/helping cause. Sometimes I do it, because I feel people “need” it.
Here’s a few tips and advice on this topic:
A huge advantage is the tax break for your charitable donation. Obtain some sort of receipt from the foundation. You can write it off.
Be selective on which cause you are donating to/for - Don’t be a philanthropy whore
Create something provocative and that people will talk about. Make your piece stand out.
Brag about it on social media. Seriously. Do it.
Be mindful of how much time you put into your project.
Set up a firm deadline with ample time before the event date.
Donate the piece and be done with it.
Que cera cera.
If you’re going to donate a piece for an auction, be ready for whatever the piece fetches at the auction. If you attend the auction and the piece doesn’t fetch what you valued it at, don’t be surprised.
It may feel like a punch to the gut and a bitter pill to swallow, but remember why you did this in the first place:
Out of generosity, and to helping to promote the causes of others is priceless.
This is why I don’t get attached to my art. I know that someday it will be out of my possession. Whether it is sold, donated, gifted, or given away. I’ve heard many artists say they’re attached to their art and I don’t get that concept. My intention for creating art is not to keep it. I read somewhere that art should be “given away to the world.”
I made two CANTO VII’s because I wanted to keep one for my next exhibit. Not for me to keep.
CANTO VII led me on a different path that I had been on, and propelled me into unchartered territory in my art journey. I found myself operating on an entirely new level. The ideas that came out of this project were ones I never imagined. It all started from one simple idea: the shells.
I started a whole “beach life” series incorporating the shells. My friend in Miami was so excited for me that he and his wife donated a whole bag of beach shells they had picked on their vacation near Sanibel. I was blown away by this gesture. He was so excited to see on my IG feed (alfresh22) that I was picking shells in Cocoa Beach, that he called me that same day to offer me a bag of shells from Sanibel. This was completely unexpected.
I created a triptych using the beach shells and named it PEPPERMINT SPLATTY.
Peppermint Splatty, really? Are you kidding me? Never in my mind did I think i would paint something that looked like peppermint bark, let alone name it Peppermint Splatty. I didn’t even know peppermint bark was a thing.
After sharing the triptych on social media, and with people in person, the peppermint bark comment kept coming up. I swear I didn’t know what that was. One girl said to me, “Yep, you painted peppermint bark.”
I made a video for my You Tube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbAYDoIHYCc on creating the resin coated backboard and mounting Peppermint Splatty.
I made this amazing mixed media flow painting mirror piece. I used the beach shells, glitter, acrylic, beach sand and coated it with resin.
MAKING A POINT
My point is this: all of these amazing things happened because of one simple idea of creating a piece and donating it to a fundraiser. This was pretty amazing. All this happened because of my desire to create and donate this idea that I sketched out on piece of cardboard and titled it CANTO VII.
Sketching is an integral part of my creation process. Notice the difference in the ears between sketch 1 and 2? I shared my sketch with a coworker who is a big Disney fan. She pointed out that the ears in SK1 looked like “Pooh” ears, not “Mickey” ears. I hadn’t even noticed. I would’ve been upset with myself if the finished version looked like Pooh ears and someone pointed this out to me after the fact. This is just one reason why sketching is important.
Link for my “sketching” blog is located at the end of this blog.
This project took longer than I had anticipated. To date, this is the most hours I have put into a painting. I kept the mood light by having fun while putting in the work. Also, by poking fun at the mouse via social media.
I knew I was always going to incorporate the Cocoa Beach sand and sea shells into the project, but didn’t know exactly what the project was going to be.
It wasn’t until I visited Disney Springs one Saturday night that I got the vision for this piece. All I saw were mouse ears everywhere and dollar dollar bills ya’ll being spent. The machine was strong, fully functioning, and being well fed. I said to myself, “The mouse needs more cheese, and he’s going to get it.”
Mickey was not thrilled by my take on a dystopian society, greed, and feeding the machine.
Disclaimer: I don’t really have anything against the mouse. My original intent was to paint a seascape sunrise for the fundraiser. I knew there were going to be local artists also donating artwork, so I wanted to ensure that my piece was going to stand out. I needed to think outside of the box. I had to challenge my artistic creations up to this point.
CANTO VII was unlike any other piece I have created to date.
The idea for the castle was to give it the illusion that it was floating in space. It also tied into the action/drip painting theme of painting in the “space” of thin air. I designed the road curvy to give it a surreal, magical and whimsical feel.
The rings represent four of the nine levels of hell in Dante’s Inferno. The planet Pluto is the “fourth ring of hell: GREED”. That is not Earth’s moon.
PLUTO SIDE NOTE: Isn’t there a Disney character by that name? Interesting.
For the words (I NEED MORE CHEESE) I designed a spiral paying respects to the golden ratio. The spiral is also symbolic of Mount Purgatory’s spiraling pathway to paradise in Dante’s Inferno. This stage of the project took many hours to get visually “right”.
For the CANTO VII borders, I used the custom dollar bill symbol stencils that I created specifically for this piece.
I felt that decorating the borders with the dollar bill stencils was apropos to this project because of the message of greed in CANTO VII, and it also brought everything back to the purpose of the whole project: THE SURFSIDE PLAYHOUSE FUNDRAISER. Raising money for the theater. Dollar Bills ya’ll.
People like it when an artist pays attention to the smaller details. I’ve been told my border work is like another layer of artwork added to the painting.
Don’t be fooled: It’s not as easy as it looks. It’s tedious at times and it can take hours to get the borders to your liking.
Sometimes I stencil on borders, at other times I drag the paint right over the edges.
If your intentions are to make a happy buck off of a painting, this may be something to consider. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to incorporate this technique to every painting you create. It doesn’t always work on every painting. It’s strictly up to the artist.
The protruding seashells are camouflaged into the design. They’re probably my favorite aspect of this painting. When you look at it from a slight angle, they pop out and the painting appears to “move”.
It’s a very cool 3-D optical illusion and it makes people physically move around the painting.
In closing, my philanthropic endeavor (albeit not from a financial standpoint), has been an enlightening experience. Many great ideas and projects came from one small idea, over a three week period. They say good things come in small packages, and the CANTO VII sketch is truly the epitome of that adage.
I hope you enjoyed this insight into my journey in art.
Until next time my friends, you know what to do:
“STAY CREATIVE AND KEEP ON PAINTING”
—UNCLE ALFRESCO… OUT!
LINK FOR BLOG ON SKETCHING Sketching: why it’s important
COMPLICATED ART MAN ON YOUTUBE