Friday, August 20, 2010

From The Vault - Dolphin Table 2000

From the Vault...Monday? Ah well, I meant to write this on Friday but the weekend seemed to easily get away from me. The good news is I meant to write this on Friday and even uploaded the images. But, then it seemed to get easier and easier not to write it.

So, I'm sitting here on a Monday afternoon trying to catch up.

As promised last week, I dug deep into the vault and found a few images of me airbrushing and painting a dolphin table. Special thanks to Jeff Lafferty for taking the photos in the first place. I meant to take a bunch of photos to show the stages of painting but once I start painting I get so into it that I forget to stop and document the process.

The idea of painting a table started with one of my favorite restaurants that has since gone out of business. It was a bagel shop called Beatnik's Bagels that had bagel sandwiches with names like The Daddy-O and the Buddha. I loved it so much that I ate lunch there every day. And I don't just mean on the weekdays. I mean on the weekends too. And sometimes, if I got lucky, I'd even eat dinner there. So, yeah, to say I loved it there would be an understatement. One of the managers there, Paul, was an artist and painter and had the idea while they were doing one of there many remodels to have some local artists come in and paint the new tables.

So, one Thursday night (I remember the date well because it was the first night Survivor was ever on and I missed the first episode) a bunch of us got together and prepared to paint into the night. Paul was painting a table, I was doing one, some other guy was doing another, and even Jeff Lafferty came out and painted a table. While the other guys went with the regular paints and brushes I lugged down my airbrush and compressor and set up my table outside so none of the over spray would kill anyone.

Much like the way I was painting on illustration board at the time I started with a blue background and then painted the dark shadows of the dolphin on top of it. Then, when all of that was done I'd re-mask and paint the white high-lights on top. It sounds easy when writing about it but it took so much time that by the end of the airbrushing I had to bring my jeep over and paint by the lights of my Jeep's headlights.

Luckily, once the airbrushing was done I could move inside with the rest of the gang and add the details and fine touches to the table. I think we all ended up finishing sometime around midnight. It was really fun to do a painting from start to finish in one sitting and get it all done. I also seem to remember me having to go home quickly to get something and borrowing Jeff's truck. His truck was so big that I actually hit a curb, blew out his front wheel and, not noticing, ended up driving all the way to my house on the rim. Oops! Sorry Jeff!

The tables were done and lived at Beatnik's for a while. Then, there was a another remodel and the tables disappeared. Later, much to my dismay, Beatnik's closed down and I had to find a new place to feed me.

But, that wasn't the last time I saw the tables.

On one birthday night, I think in 2003 or 2004, I was with a friend and we went to the opening of a new local music recording studio. It was meant to show off the new place, see some friends, and hear some live music. And, while listening to the live band I saw, among all the people sitting, the painted tables we had done years before. Apparently the guy who's studio it was bought the tables in an auction when they were selling off fixtures from the restaurant.

Unfortunately, as quickly as that studio opened up the guy's wife or girlfriend left him and took a lot of the money and funding for the studio with her. So, it closed down soon after and the fate of the tables is now unknown.

I'd like to think that they are in someone's kitchen or living room having a good life and not sitting in some trash pile somewhere.

It was a fun night of painting and I was happy with all the results.

I wish I had time to do more fun stuff like that more often.


Jeff Lafferty said...

Cool story man.

Ah yes, the good ol' days. Those tables faded into the mist along with all the old friends and ex-girlfriends.

Still feels like yesterday even though its been ten years.


Sean Tiffany said...

Yeah, it's when it felt like yesterday when it was actually ten years ago you realize how fast time is going by.

I feel like I need to work harder!