There are extreme emotional & creative swings that every artist must endure. It's part of the creative path we are on. We put up with & accept the frustration and insecurities because when good things happen and those pure moments flow through us, it makes it all worth it.
This past Friday,July 22,2011 was one of those magical moments that will be a bookmarked in my memory bank. It was the first time I ever did live painting on-stage which would normally on it's own be enough of a fun new experience. But this was in one of my hometown's historic & favorite venues The Stone Pony with some of my favorite musicians who are also close friends of mine whom I adore, Donavon Frankenreiter and his intensely talented band. (Eric Brigmond, Craig Barnette, Matt Grundy,Pete Winders)
Donavon and I have casually talked about doing live painting before, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago in Massachusetts where we were doing a Surf Art & Music Festival together that we committed to making it happen in Asbury. Chelsea and I have been spread real thin the past weeks since then, packing up the house for our upcoming move to Florida. It's all come together so fast, I just mentally didn't have time to think about the live artwork until the day of the show.
We've had a heat wave here in New Jersey the past couple weeks and this was another upper 90 to 100 degree sweltering summer day. I met up with Donavon and the guys at the bus in the morning. We were all craving some water time with friends so my buds Eric Brigmond, Seth Pettersen and their stage-tech Neil piled into my jeep along with our boards and we drove over to Loch Arbor for a morning surf. It looked like a clown car with Seth riding in the trunk all squished. As I was paddling out, I saw my friend and local surf legend Vince Troneic (You can see him featured in the newest Surfer's Journal) We enjoyed some cold small sets rolling through to start our day.
We met Donavon at the beach in Asbury afterwards. He had just finished his surf lessons with the inner city kids and he was easy to spot with his bright colored umbrella hat and longboard. We borrowed some longer boards from my friend Jenn at Lightly Salted Surf Mercado and all had a great time splashing around and catching waves.
People kept asking me what I was going to paint as if I had some grand plan, but I just figured that when I am home I turn on music and get in the zone, so why not in front of five to six hundred people? But then soundcheck happened and the clock was ticking and I started getting nervous. My large paintings usually take a while, what if I can't do anything cool in an 70-90 min's? After all, I had prepared a 3 foot by 3 foot wooden panel and that was a big area to cover in a short amount of time especially without having it sketched out first at all.
A couple hours before the show Chelsea saw me stressing. I often over analyze things and she knows it. She calmly gave me some paper and a pen and told me to just start drawing. Within an hour of sitting in the green room I had a couple loose ideas scribbled down on a paper I stuck in my pocket.
After seeing Donavon and the guys perform so many times as a fan and a friend, it was pretty surreal standing on side stage waiting to go on with them. I've always dreamt of being a rockstar and this was the closest I've ever come. Donavon walked on stage and then myself, Pete, Craig, Eric and Grundy took our respective spots. I glanced down at the audience filled with local friends and familiar faces and took my spot behind Donavon ready to make them proud.
Each song's completion was another tic on the clock. I sped through trying to not get lost in details, it was all about having fun. As the last song ended I dropped my paint brush in the water can and completed the piece. Donavon high fived me and helped me down over the amps onto the front of the stage with him. I wiped the sweat off my forehead and embraced the gratitude I felt.
Check out this time lapse video that Donavon released as one of his Mustache Manifestos
(Thank you to Craig Barnette for the awesome video editing!)