Thomas Britton

Artist/Coder, Austin, TX

Art Erotica 2009 Recap

I was invited through the AFG to do live painting Saturday night on stage at the Art Erotica 2009.  I accepted.  I'd never painted in front of a crowd before.  But I was prepared.  I had made business cards so that I could participate in the most douchebag of activities: networking.

I knew that the paintings that I did would end up being auctioned.  The Art Erotica benefits AIDS Services of Austin's Paul Kirby Fund and all proceeds from the sale of the paintings go to the charity.  Despite the philanthropic nature of the event, I participated.

The scene was pretty much what I expected; men dressed like Rob Halford, women dressed like Rob Halford, and giant penis statues.  The walls of the place were lined with erotic art that was being sold through silent auction.  The highest bids were being placed on a print of a painting by Jacques Louis David.  My guess is that due to the high quality of the print, people didn't realize they were not bidding on an actual painting.  Either that, or they liked it and I'm a condescending asshole.

IMG_2115 We set up on the stage, ringed around a black chair.  There were about 10 artists, some drawing in charcoal and some painting.  Because I was one of the last to arrive I set up front and center where my paintings would be the most visible to the audience.  We were doing four 15 minute poses.  This is a rather quick pace to produce a painting, especially in front of a crowd of a few hundred people, many of whom undoubtably had art hanging on the walls.  It's easy to impress hippies, but other artists...

Art Erotica 2009 Pose 1 The first pose was the female.  I found my hands shaking while I was painting.  I didn't realize that I was nervous until I couldn't hold my brush steady.  Fortunately I was doing the drippy acrylic style  I've been doing for the last few weeks at the AFG.  It doesn't exactly require the precise hands of a surgeon.  But it does require steady bowels. I was able to pull through and the painting turned out ok.  This gave me a boost of confidence, and my hands didn't shake for the rest of the paintings.

The other three went well also.  I don't think that I blew any of them.  They all sold in the auction afterward and in a clever display of douchebaggery I slipped a business card into the back of each painting.  People seemed to like the paintings.  Despite my general unapproachability I received several compliments.  The organizer of the event looked at my paintings, said they were beautiful, thanked me for participating and gave me a hug.  I could occasionally hear comments from the crowd such as, "Damn, he's quick."

I took a picture of the crowd from the stage, so people wouldn't think I was lying when I said I was painting in front of a crowd of hundreds.

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I didn't take a lot of pictures of the costumes in the crowd, but here's a couple of shots that I like.

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Here are the paintings that I did on stage.  They were taken in a very adverse lighting condition, so the colors are all wonky, but these give a general idea.

Art Erotica 2009 Pose 1 Art Erotica 2009 Pose 2

Art Erotica 2009 Pose 3 Art Erotica 2009 Pose 4

Here are all the photos I took that night in a set on flickr.  In all, I consider the night a success.  I had a great time, people liked my art and I saw some of the finest penis sculptures south of the Mason-Dixon.

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