Saturday, July 26, 2014

Red Bull presented Hip Art Inspired Water Cooler Conversation

On July 24th, Red Bull Curates presented the Orlando Canvas Cooler Project in the gorgeous Orchid Room at 122 West Church Street which was once Paris Hilton's Nightclub. As I arrived, Red Bull girls with backpacks were getting ready to work the venue in their tight shorts and v-neck shirts. They were about to climb a metal fire escape staircase to enter the building. I asked if that was the entrance and she pointed me toward a door around the corner with a Mini Cooper that had a huge Red Bull can on the roof. There were two entrances, one for media and one for everyone else. I decided to walk in the Media door. The volunteer looked for my name on the list and I wasn't there. I repeated my name several times until she said, "Alright, you must be media." If you believe you are the media, then you are the media. I had a tablet in my bag because I want to start drawing with it more often. I decided to stick with paper however since the room was so spacious that I felt I needed to work across a large spread in my sketchbook. Digitally, I tend to spend too much time zooming in and out of the program which means I'm not sketching as fast.

20 Orlando artists were picked to decorate Red Bull coolers. Of these artists tow were picked for the possibility of being picked for the chance to have their creation show at this year's Art Basel in Miami Beach. Judges for the Orlando event included, Sam Flax Owner of Sam Flax Art Supply, Patrick Kahn the founder of Snap! Cultural Events, Inc, Commissioner Patty Sheehan of Orlando District 4 , Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon the curator of Jai Gallery,and Erin Sullivan the Senior editor at the Orlando Weekly.  

Featured artists were, Brandon McLean, Andrew Spear, Skippy, Adaro Art, Winkstyles, Soco Freire, Peter Van Flores III, DRES13, Holly Tharp, Chris Rodriguez, Christopher Reason, Swamburger, Peterson, Sean Hartman, Christie Miga, SPEN and Wolfrich. There were a wide variety of colorful styles. I was a bit disappointed that all the coolers were already finished. I had hoped to sketch the artists at work. They had eight hours to complete the work on the Sunday and Monday before the event. Canvas tarps were spread around the venue and tables so the artists wouldn't make too much of a mess. Christie Miga claimed she was so nervous about the event that she was considering backing out. She did an amazing job however when the ax hit the grindstone.

Sketching the event was a challenge since the crowd was endless and ever shifting. People stopped to say hello every few minutes, and I was happy to say hello but then got right back to work. I didn't have the luxury of being able to relax when the sketch was still unfinished. Billy Franchey, from Artsfund introduced himself and he was fascinated by what I do, but he didn't have a business card and neither did I. He is responsible for these events all over the country. Terry explored the room and was able to interact socially with everyone we knew. The winners for the evening were Marcos Cruz and Gregorii.  Both artists are represented by Jai gallery. Their pieces might end up in the scope art Fair in Miami as part of Art Basel but they are up against 10 other who were winners in cities around the countryThere was also a peoples choice award that was given to G. Lemus. A social media contest in November could put him in contention as well to have his creation shown in Miami's Art Basel. The next Red Bull Curates events will be in Houston on August 14th and in Philadelphia on September 25th.

As I walked Terry back to her car, she told me that Patty Sheehan had told her that the Red Bull marketing people might like me to document future events around the country. It is funny that I was working so hard that no one mentioned this idea to me. I suppose people don't want to interrupt me when I'm in the middle of the process.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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