The results of “Work of Art” 2021

Two years ago, right around this time, I traveled to Old Forge, New York, and photographed a 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle that was repainted with Grateful Dead logos and had traveled to dozens of Grateful Dead concerts. I used various filters to capture the car’s image, and combined some of those photos into a lenticular, magic-motion color-changing print that I labeled “The Long, Strange Trip.”

The Long, Strange Trip. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens, several different photos with filters, combined in PhotoShop. (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Last night, “The Long, Strange Trip” was one of many entrants into the 2021 Albany Institute of History and Art’s “Work of Art” show, as presented in honor of retiring Albany Institute director and all-around good person Tammis Groft. There were some incredible paintings and sculptures and photographs and assorted artworks on display, and yes, the little Volkswagen was there as well.

This is good. My fourth-ever entry into this prestigious art show. Now, let’s hope it finds a new home.

“Didn’t you have a piece in this show last year?” two people asked me.

I nodded in affirmative.

“We bought that piece,” one of them said. “It’s in our home right now.” The other person pulled out her cell phone and showed me the picture. Yep, it was my old Infrared Horizon 787 shot from 2018’s “Work of Art” show – blog post commemorates that right here.

I showed them my current artwork. Next thing I know … a pen comes out, and a bid is placed. Right off the bat, this creation will find a new home. And this feels good.

Because, to be totally honest with you, my wonderful blog readers, to see these artworks go from initial concept to creation to exhibition to a new home, whether it’s with a charitable organization or if someone just straight-up purchases them from me, or if I use them as prizes to help other charities in need – the whole process is a fun ride for me. It’s like watching the birds fly out of the nest and hoping they don’t crash into the ground below.

And then I saw something else happen.

That’s someone else bidding on the piece. Holy Sugar Magnolia, Batman, I’ve got a bidding war on the artwork!

Okay, Miller. Step back. Don’t be a helicopter parent. This is exciting. Someone’s going to take this artwork home. Someone’s going to enjoy it.

And then, ten minutes later …

Another person?

Another person bidding?

Wait, is this actually happening? Not only is there a bidding war for the item … but the bids are now surpassing the quoted “retail price,” where someone could have simply bought the item right off the wall.

Holy Fire on the Mountain, Batman…

And in the end, when the final hammer came down and bidding ended, The Long, Strange Trip sold for over $300 – the highest total I’ve ever achieved in a Work of Art exhibition. Holy insert Grateful Dead song in here, Batman.

As the bidsheets were brought to the final tally table, I decided that one final moment with my artwork was needed. At least needed in terms of a little goodbye video for it.

Allow me this. You’d do the same when your kid does well.

Next up – Historic Albany Foundation’s BUILT charitable auction, which starts today and runs through Sunday. And there’s three of my children – er, artworks – up for grabs there.

Yeah ,this definitely feels good. And I’m definitely feeling good with that.