A Van Gogh!

A Van Gogh!
From the artists at ArtWorks945

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Auction!

The cumulative auction has so far raised $582.21.  It’s not the $10,000 that I asked the Universe for.  But it’s more than had been bid two weeks ago.  So I am happy about that.

I want to thank everyone who has so far bid on Charlie’s painting.  Not only have your contributions made this project both more interesting and worthwhile, but they will also end up going to a very worthy and important organization.

So I am happy and thankful, which is I suppose an appropriate state of mind for the Monday after Thanksgiving.  But even better still, I am excited. 


Because Tyler Helfrich, director of ArtWorks945, is organizing a live auction for Charlie’s painting. 

When I told Charlie about a month ago that the bid on his painting had reached $400, he sent me a very thought provoking message.  He suggested that I could turn the money already bid into both more money for ArtWorks945 and greater awareness of homelessness by making prints of Falling Down Man and selling them.  Charlie volunteered to sign the first 100 prints.

I showed Charlie’s message to Tyler; and we talked about ways to continue raising money with his painting.  She liked his idea and thought that a first step toward it might be a live auction at which we sell both his painting and other paintings produced at ArtWorks945.  And since Tyler’s brother in law owns Summit Coffee Shop, she suggested that we hold a live auction there

So that’s what is going to happen.  We are going to hold an auction at Summit Coffee Shop on December 9 from 8-10.  This time, the auction will be a real one – whoever bids the most for Falling Down Man will get to keep it.  And as with the auction going on now, all the money will go to ArtWorks945.

Who knows?  Maybe an art collector from the Charlotte area will realize the historical significance of Charlie’s painting and end up biding $10,000 for it.  Now, wouldn’t that be something?

Monday, November 14, 2011


It has been two weeks since anyone has bid on Charlie’s painting.  And I must admit, yesterday I started to feel abandoned by the Universe.  Surely, I thought, Charlie’s painting is worth WAY more than the $400 that people have so far bid.  And ArtWorks945 is such a great organization that people should be lining up to add to the cumulative bid.  What’s going on?  Why can’t I drum up more interest in this project?

As I chopped the vegetables for a chicken casserole I was making last night, such thoughts started to swirl in my head; and as can often happen with negative thought patterns, they built to something of an absurd crescendo: people are selfish; Bernie Madoff is just the tip of the iceberg; Henry VIII chopped of Ann Boleyn’s head just because he was tired of her!  My God, My God – what’s going to happen to humanity?

But as I put the casserole in the oven, my lovely wife came into the kitchen – she must have sensed my dour mood -- and gave me a hug.  Immediately, I felt better.  And then, as if her presence reminded me of something greater, it occurred to me that I haven’t yet asked the Universe for any help. 

Throughout this blog, I have told the Universe what I wanted.  Indeed, this whole project is something of an experiment in its power.  And so far, the Universe has shown itself to be quite a remarkably ally.  So my feelings of abandonment were, I reckoned premature.  At the very least I need to tell the Universe what I want.

So that raised the question: what do I want? 

As I went to bed last night I mulled that question over.  And just before I drifted off to sleep, I thought: the race goes to the swift, the battle to the strong, so why not admit to the Universe that you want a lot?

I realize now that such a thought doesn’t make too much sense.  I was, as said, drifting off to sleep.  Nonetheless, I am going to be honest: I want this auction to raise a lot of money for ArtWorks945.

So, Universe:

I want to raise $10,000 from the auction for Falling Down Man.
I want to raise $10,000 from the auction for Falling Down Man.
I want to raise $10,000 from the auction for Falling Down Man.

There.  I’ve done it.   Now, we’ll see what happens.

Anyone who wants to add to the cumulative bid on Charlie’s painting, go to this website:

When you enter your information, be sure to write in the comments box: For ArtWorks945/The Van Gogh Project.

The auction will run for only one more month.  But who knows, Virginia, maybe wishes really can come true.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


That is how much Charlie’s painting has brought in so far.

So what does that mean? 

First, it means that I have thrown a conceptual uppercut to the Appraiser’s thesis.   Since I only went to one Mixed Martial Arts class, I don’t reckon I could throw a real upper cut that would do anyone much harm.  But I do think that the Appraiser’s thesis, namely that that the damage to Charlie’s painting has rendered it worthless, has been sufficiently refuted. 

Second, it means that Charlie’s painting now bears two historically significant marks.  Not only is it perhaps the purest example of a painting that has been improved as a result of inadvertent damage but it is also the source of empirical evidence against the worldview that in a previous post I called Appraisery

Appraisery is a worldview that emphasizes the importance of money both in human affairs in general and in matters of art in particular.  It is a worldview against which it makes perfect sense to assert that Falling Down Man is worthless as a result of its damage.  Likewise, it is a worldview against which it makes sense to say that homeless people are worth less than others because they have been economically damaged. 

The fact that Charlie’s painting has brought in such a sizeable chunk of money provides, I contend, empirical evidence against Appraisery.  Anyone who has delved into philosophical affairs will know just how difficult it is to gather evidence for or against a worldview.   And I at least know of no other painting that can claim to be the source of such evidence.  So Charlie’s painting, as I have just mentioned, now bears a second quite interesting historically significant mark.

And what is perhaps most pleasing from a conceptual point of view is the fact that the evidence against Appraisery has come from people’s willingness to donate money.  Conceptually speaking, it is as if money has eaten itself.  Indeed, there is such a beautiful irony to the evidence against Appraisery that I can’t help but once again feel the hand of the Universe at play.

In addition to these conceptual issues, the money so far bid for Charlie’s painting also has practical implications. 

I asked Tyler Helfrich, the director of Artworks945 for a list of their expenses.  Here are some of them.

10-ride bus passes for job searches  -- $14 each

1-ride passes to help artists get to appointments and interviews -- $30/month

Acrylic paint -- $100-$200/month

Canvases -- $5 each; $100/month

A large-scale canvas for collaborative paintings -- $80 each (one per month)

These are just a few of their expenses.  Clearly, running an art gallery for the homeless is an expensive affair.  And the amount Charlie’s painting has so far raised is really a drop in a very large bucket. 

But that is all the more reason to hope that people continue to bid on his painting. 

So anyone who wants to contribute to a great organization or who wants to add more evidence against Appraisery, please go to the following page where you can donate money to ArtWorks945. 

In the comments section, be sure to put the words: For ArtWorks945/The Van Gogh Project.  In that way, your money will go to ArtWorks945, and I will be able to track the increasing evidence against the Appraiser’s worldview.