A Van Gogh!

A Van Gogh!
From the artists at ArtWorks945

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Van Gogh!

The Van Gogh project had, I thought, reached a natural and satisfying conclusion.  I auctioned off Charlie’s painting and donated the money to ArtWorks945; and I had started to plan a new project with Tyler Helfrich, the director of ArtWorks945.  We decided that we would try to get the city of Charlotte to donate a wall so that the artists of ArtWorks945 could paint Falling Down Man as a mural.

Although I had given up my dream of owning a Van Gogh, I really couldn’t have been happier with the way that the Van Gogh Project finished.  I met some great people, traded for some amazing art, and raised some money for a truly deserving organization.  What else could I have wanted? 

But then Friday evening I received a text from Tyler.  She said that she was at Summit Coffee Shop and had a present for me.

I had no idea what to expect.   I anxiously waited for Lisa to get home so that we could head over to Summit together.  And as we drove over there, I kept asking: what could it be?  What could it be?  I had a feeling that Lisa knew what was going on – she seemed to have a wry smile on her face that betrayed her protestations of ignorance – but before I could wrestle anything out of her, we arrived at Summit.

When I saw what Tyler had, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  She presented me with a Van Gogh, not an actual Van Gogh but a replication of one that the artists at ArtWorks945 painted for me.  You can see the original and then the replication up above.

What a painting!

Thirty different artists over four months worked together to produce it.  It is, without a doubt, the most moving gift anyone has ever given to me. 

I wish I could be more articulate about it.  But all I can muster is: what a painting!

Tyler said that originally the canvas was divided into eight horizontal sections and that eight artists were each assigned a section.   But as the project unfolded, thirty different artists ended up contributing to the painting.

It really is one of a kind.  Indeed, it is more one of a kind than any Van Gogh painting.  Van Gogh’s paintings all have a price tag.  This painting, however, in some genuine sense of the term, is priceless.

Thank you, Tyler!

Thank you artists of ArtWorks945!

Thank you Universe!

Friday, January 13, 2012


I’ve never liked the concept of The End. 

Does a story ever really come to an end?  And if it does, its there really only one end to it? 

I’ve never been convinced that the answer to these questions is ‘yes’.

An End – now that’s a concept I can support.  Of course ends exist.  Any story, even the simplest, has an end.  Indeed, I think every story has an infinite number of ends.  But that is a matter for a different post.

The Van Gogh project, though it hasn’t come to the end, has nonetheless come to an end: the auctions for Charlie’s painting raised over $2100; I no longer have a painting to trade up; and so, as I said, the Van Gogh Project, has come to an end.

But Betsy was right -- the auction of Charlie’s painting has started an entirely new adventure.

ArtWorks945 is taking the money that was raised and funneling it toward a public art project. The plan is to paint a mural on an underpass in Charlotte based on two paintings: Falling Down Man and Rising Up Man. 

What is Rising Up Man?  Well, it doesn’t exist yet.  But Charlie, upon hearing of the plan for the mural, agreed to design a second painting that will represent the triumph of a homeless person who is rising up.

Together, the two murals should provide a moving tribute to the power of art to transform lives as well as the importance of helping those who have fallen down to rise up again.

Perhaps even more exciting: we are going to film the process.  If we get enough footage, we will make a short documentary.

I plan to start a new blog, what I will call simply The Project, where I will document our efforts.

But for now, I will say ‘goodbye’.  And ‘thank you’.  Thank you to all those who have read this blog, thank you to all those who participated in the auction, and finally thank you to the Universe.  I didn’t get a Van Gogh.  But I did have a whole lot of fun; I met some totally cool people; and have been given the chance to help create a work of art with the artists of ArtWorks945.  What could be better, really?

And who knows, maybe I’ll get a Van Gogh some day.  One can always hope.