Am I ready? You bet your sweet life I’m ready.
I’ve been ready since last year, when … well … Let me explain.
In 2016, my three entries for the 2016 edition of BUILT – Albany Architecture Through Artists’ Eyes – achieved successful bids and attention at the yearly charity fundraising auction for Historic Albany Foundation. In fact, my Dream Window of an illuminated Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry sign sold for over $450, the highest price ever realized by any of my works. Ever.
And where was I to enjoy this?
I was on the other side of town, trapped in a hospital bed, my left leg encased in plaster, my blood sugars bouncing around on TILT, my left foot broken and my soul broken as well.
And in that moment last year, I promised myself – on the sacred vows of my Grandma Betty, God rest her soul – that this time next year, I would accomplish four things that would restore my psyche.
The first restoration came a couple of months ago, when I returned to the Boreas Ponds and photographed the stunning vista. I don’t care how long it took to get there … I got there, and I achieved.
The third restoration will take place in a few weeks, when I return to deliver delicious turkey dinners for the Equinox Thanksgiving Day turkey charity event.
The fourth restoration – that takes place in April 2018. I’ll fill you in more on that event when the time comes.
But this is the second restoration – and it involves a return to the gallery show at BUILT. My three artworks – Hi Norman’s Kill Dairy, “i’m a ghost of my former self,” and L-Ken’s: Saturday Night Clam Fry – are all at the New York State Museum.
Yesterday, I dropped off all three artworks at the New York State Museum. And yes, I test-powered the L-Ken’s artwork – the electroluminescent wire streamed through without any troubles or hesitations. Aces.
It’s Saturday afternoon, the day of the event. I’m trying to take care of all personal matters – gotta look good for this event. New suit, fresh beard trim, gotta clean myself up, shall we say.
Oh yeah. And one more thing.
The lapel on my suit is wide enough to handle six (soon to be seven) BUILT artist buttons. See, this is part of my tradition at BUILT. Each button represents a year in which I participated in the charity fundraiser – all the way back to 2011, when I presented my successful The AGFA Bridge Over Ansco Lake at the gallery show.
Since then, I’ve sold photographs, Dream Windows, and a couple of lenticular prints. This year, I’ve entered three different artworks, each in its own created discipline. Hi Norman’s Kill Dairy is part of my Crate Art Project series. “i’m a ghost of my former self” represents my photography craft. And L-Ken’s: Saturday Night Clam Fry is my third-ever electroluminescent wire creation ever submitted to BUILT.
Yeah. In case you haven’t heard, Chuck’s going into this with all guns locked and loaded. Howitzers and cannons, baybee.
I arrived at the New York State Museum, and sure enough, right off the bat, I found my first piece, Hi Norman’s Kill Dairy.
No bids on it yet… but the night is still young.
A walk around the perimeter of the gallery, and I find my abandoned Menands gas station with the surprisingly grammatical graffiti, i’m a ghost of my former self…
No bids yet for that one. Again, the night is still young.
Now I have to find my L-Ken’s tribute. And the minute I find it…
I discover it has a bid! Right off the bat!!
Okay, Chuck, you can’t be a helicopter parent. Go talk to some people.
And I do. I ask them about their art and what they’ve created. Always ask about their pieces first, even if they don’t ask about yours. It’s called respect.
I also noticed that there are NO artist pins for this year’s event. Apparently the person who made the pins in the past no longer lives in Albany, so no pins were made. The organizers tell me that I’m not the only one who asked about the missing badges, and that there may be some custom ones made after the event.
Let me also take a moment to say what a great job Susan Holland and her crew have done with BUILT. Susan’s leaving the area to accept a position with another historical society in Ithaca, and they’re damn lucky to have her. That, and I’m sure the bulldozers and wrecking cranes in Albany are also thrilled that she’s moving away, in that they’re probably ready to knock down ten buildings tomorrow just because she won’t be here to save the buildings.
More walking around, and suddenly I discover …
i’m a ghost of my former self has a bid…
And L-Ken’s: Saturday Night Fish Fry has a BIDDING WAR! Several bidders wrote down their bids on the bid sheet … and when I introduced myself as the artist who created the multimedia electrical piece, they remarked that they also tried to bid on last year’s Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry artwork, only to watch as the piece rose to an astronomical final price.
This is good.
Eventually, i’m a ghost also garnered a bidding war of its own. No bids for Hi Norman’s Kill Dairy yet… but the night is still young. The wallets and checkbooks haven’t completely come loose.
Fifteen minutes to the hammer, when all bidding must cease. Several bidders are hovering around the L-Ken’s artwork, making damn sure that no one sneaks in a snipe bid at the final moment. And in the end, their diligence paid off. L-Ken’s: Saturday Night Clam Fry sold for a stunning $250! Aces!
Meanwhile, i’m a ghost of my former self hammered for a $70 final price! Sweet!
Those were the only two pieces that sold, although there were plenty of “that’s cool” and “what an amazing concept” for my Norman’s Kill Dairy artwork, it did not sell. I’m okay with that, I figured that was a very high-concept piece, and if it sold I’d be okay with that … but it just means I’ll take it home. Hey, two pieces sold, and that’s stunning in and of itself!
And the best part about this event was … after last year’s medical crisis, I was able to experience the success of my artworks up close and personally. This is what I’ve fought for since the day I made solemn vows at St. Peter’s Hospital. I said I would return, healthy and strong, to BUILT.
And as God was my witness, I did.
That … was the biggest victory of the night for me.