Guitartown Auction Results

Cybertar

Cybertar sold for a respectable $5,500 last night. I’m not going to complain about that price, although the artist did. I tried to explain to her that she didn’t go for the cute factor, didn’t have a famous person’s signature on the sculpture (and wasn’t already famous herself. Yet) or incorporate a famous person in the composition (although it does say “Dell” in about 4 places) and didn’t do the cultural equivalent of scream “Keep Austin Weird” somewhere in the piece. If she had done that, a five figure price would have been guaranteed.


This observation lead to jokes concerning incorporating flashing LED’s into the body of the guitar, something that would be bound to get any geek to pull out his wallet. LED’s that spelled out “Keep Austin Weird”? Top seller


The full results of the auction can be found at the Julien’s website. A grand total of $693,000 raised for charities in and around Austin.

Trip to the Light Fantastic
Reflections of Austin
Striking Texas Gold

The big winners of the night were also the ones that I personally found most impressive; Trip to the Light Fantastic, Reflections of Austin and Striking Texas Gold. The reason they are impressive might not be apparent in the photos. All of them are 360 degree mosaics (all of the surfaces are covered) of tiny little pieces of glass or stone, all of them meticulously glued into place by hand. How they got them finished in the time allotted is a mystery to me.

Fractal

Most underrated painted guitar: Fractal; it’s a picture, inside a picture, inside a picture, inside a guitar. Or maybe I just looked into opposing mirrors too much as a child.

Gibson Tree

Most underrated sculpture: Gibson Tree; This sculpture was featured on the cover of XL, and it still didn’t draw more than a 10,000 price. This was also an impressive display in the amount of time invested by the artist (the stand was molded to look like a tree trunk that the guitar had been carved out of) If any artist at the auction had reason to be disgruntled, this artist does.

Several of the guitars were donated back to the city for redisplay on the streets of Austin. While I can appreciate the charity of this action, I have to wonder who will be responsible for maintenance of the artwork once it’s back out on the street. I can’t imagine that the artists will be willing to continue maintaining the art for free; and as a libertarian, I don’t really think the gov’t should be saddled with this cost to be paid for at taxpayer expense. Maybe a private organization will step forward and offer to maintain the art, as has been done in other cities with public art displays. Only time will tell.


I left out the T-shirts. While at the auction, we stopped at a table for Wiskyclothing.com. They were selling T-shirts with a nice guitar collage on them, as well as shirts with your favorite guitar only. To quote S.C. Essai:

They are a bit pricey but then again… they are very very nicely printed. Not iron on transfer like Cafe Press. They “FEEL GOOD” is the best way I can describe them. They are printed on very comfy and durable t-shirts. I checked it out myself.
So.. what the heck.. feel like it ? Buy a shirt!

…and yes, the artists get a commission on shirt sales; so I’ll be buying at least one.


Remember all those funky 10-foot-tall guitar sculptures that were standing around town most of the year? They were part of a public arts project sponsored by – who else? – Gibson Guitar, to brighten up our cityscape for a year (and get the name of Gibson out there, natch). They were plucked from their perches a few weeks ago, so they could be auctioned off for charity, and so they were on Oct. 17. A crowd of 500 packed GSD&M’s Idea City to bid on (and watch others bid on) the 35 10-foot-tall guitars and 30 regular-sized guitars that had been transformed into works of art. Lone Star songster Ray Wylie Hubbard served as emcee, while international auctioneers Julien’s Auctions supervised the sales. They were brisk – Reflections of Austin, by Shanny Lott, and Striking Texas Gold, by Diane Sonnenberg, went for $55,000 apiece – and overall the Austin GuitarTown Auction Gala brought in $589,000. That wealth will be spread among four area charities: the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, the Austin Museum of Art, American YouthWorks, and the Austin Children’s Museum.

Austin Chronicle, GuitarTown Project: Going, going, gone!

XL features Guitartown

That small piece of artwork that I helped complete a while back (and wrote about here) has been featured in the XL portion of the Austin American-Statesman.

Here’s a link to the story and the photo gallery.

Here’s the important part:

‘Cybertar’

Where: Outside the Littlefield Building, 106 E. Sixth St.

S.C. Essai’s sly ‘Cybertar’ communicates on multiple levels. Made from ‘dead computer parts’ Essai has collected over her years working in the tech industry, the geek-chic guitar represents Austin to the core. ‘This is sort of a way to merge elements of Austin, merge the high-tech with the music,’ she says. ‘I’m one of not a whole lot of people whose art is made from spare computer parts. And the name I use is part of the art itself. SCSI is an abbreviation that stands for Small Computer Systems Interface.’ Very clever. Essai painted the individual pieces and worked diligently to sculpt them into the (difficult, it turns out) contours of her fiberglass canvas.


March 15, 2019. I cannot find a single working link to any of the Gibson Guitartown information that was easily accessible at the time that I wrote this piece. The Statesman has hit hard times and no longer keeps records online where they can be found. Gibson has also removed all the data to an archive that is a pale reflection of what existed previously. I may have to reach out to the people who put the original pages together and find out if there is any way to get them onto the Wayback machine so that this period in history is not lost to the future. This is something we are going to have to take much more seriously.

Freedom (of expression) or Empire?

Caught news of the roll out of Star Wars themed collection bins on Keith Olbermann the other night (I’m sure I’m not the only one; according to their stats, it’s the most DVR’d program on TV. Glad I could help, Keith) A friend of mine sent me a picture of the R2D2 bin in Austin today, along with a link to a goofily mocked up video of a letter being inserted into R2D2 by Princess Leia (www.uspsjedimaster.com) that probably could have been done better by any of the special effects people I’ve met here in Austin.

Cybertar

If there was any truth in advertising, the postmen would be dressed up to look like Stormtroopers (heralded over by a postmaster general garbed like a leering Emperor Palpatine) rather than bins painted up to look like freedom loving androids; but then I guess I’m just nitpicking. I don’t have a serious beef with the post office, I just don’t appreciate all the snail mail spam that they insist on bringing me.

True artwork doesn’t come in the form of a repetitively decaled mail bin, anyway. True artwork can be found one block up the street from the R2D2 bin on Congress Ave, in front of the Littlefield Building at 6th and Congress; the location selected for S.C. Essai’s Cybertar (I blogged on the subject of finishing this behemoth of a project several months ago)

There is a map to all of the Guitartown displays on the Guitartown website. I haven’t seen any of them that I didn’t like.

Board Art

Been hanging out with a local artist lately, trying to help her get her latest art project ready to display. She submitted a proposal to Austin GuitarTown, and was overjoyed when they accepted it.

…and then the scope of the work to be done looms overhead, just like any deadline in any business with deadlines (are there any without?) but, with the last minute efforts finally completed, it’s time to relax.

Modern art really isn’t my thing; but I have to say, the boards create an interesting effect on the body of the guitar. I’m hoping the rest of the viewing public agrees.

S.C. Essai is “not just another scuzzi artist”