Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Art Erotica 2011

 
"For over 20 years ArtErotica has been one of the most unique and scintillating art events in Austin. From lust to love, ArtErotica has it all; painted art, sculpture, fabrication, kitsch. It has been dubbed "Austin's Sexiest Art Show," by the Austin Chronicle. Come find something to tickle your fancy, including erotic desserts and specialty drinks.
 
"ArtErotica started as a humble art show with big dreams. It was a way for the creative community to raise money for those in desperate need by selling works of art. Friends, lovers, and family came together to help - any way they could. The first party raised merely a few hundred dollars, but every dollar was extremely important for those who needed help with medications and bills then, just as it is today.
 
"Over the years, ArtErotica has grown into quite an experience and quite the fundraiser. The event offers something of interest for everyone; the curious, the clubber, the exhibitionist and the voyeur. Even the art critic who raised a furtive brow walked away with a treasure. Need more to grab on to?"

 On March 26th, Jamy and I headed down to the Seaholm Power Plant to participate in "ArtErotica 2011".  I had been invited to donate some of my work for this AIDS charity benefit, and had submitted two pieces.  We were both excited about engaging the local community, but really had no idea what to expect.

 Other than free drinks.  We were told there would be free drinks.

 We ended up parking about a block away from the site and on the opposite side of the building.  We had seen the Seaholm Power Plant while driving around Austin, but had never had to go there.  Even from a distance, you can tell that it is an amazing venue.  The Seaholm Power Plant is no longer in operation, and has been turned into an event center.  It has a 1940's or 50's art-deco feel... think like the Batman Cartoons of the 1990's (or even Burton's Batman of the 1980's).

 We walked along a set of train-tracks, following other party-goers (we hoped) until we reached the front of the building an the check-in table.  You could hear the music pumping from the building from across the parking lot.  It was an interesting juxtaposition of elements walking into the place; we walked across a gravel parking-lot to this old-industrial building where people in their club-finery or costumes were milling about.  At the check-in table, we by-passed the line and went straight to the artist's table were I was given a badge and Jamy was given a wrist-band. 
 The interior of the building was even more impressive than the exterior.  The length of one side of the building had been lined with a chain-link fence where most of the donated art was hung.  Projected on the far wall of the building was this year's theme-image; a couple of bodies holding one another with "Let Them Eat Cake" in icing on the back of one of the bodies.  The building's interior was strung with lights.  There was a massive buffet of fruit, nuts, cookies, and cakes.  Scantilly-clad servers milled through the crowd with trays of drinks.  The drinks were technically free, but required a donation.  We donated a dollar a drink for what were some very watered-down beverages (it is for charity after-all). 

 Note to self: Bring own booze for 2012.

 For some time, we just milled around taking in the building itself.  We were on the "factory floor", and most of the building was sealed off, but a few siderooms were open discussing the history of the building.  If architecture is of interest to you, I recommend checking this building out when you are in Austin.

 The site now sports a lawn for events such as this, and despite the cool weather it was hot inside with all the people milling about, so it was nice to have part of the event going on outside.  An impromptu and burlesque troop had set up a booth outside featuring a bean-bag toss game.  You would throw at two boards.  The first board determined the gender-mix of the two actors in the performance (m-f, f-f, etc.), and the second board determined the sex-act they would simulate.  They also provided education about safe-sex, including condoms in every sex-act they simulated.  The performances were always over-the-top and hilarious.

 The artwork was a wonderful mix of medias and skill-levels.  Some of the pieces were massive, and I learned that the artist made these giant pieces every year specifically for this event.  It was a silent auction were you bid by placing your name and a dollar amount on a bid-sheet with each piece.  We bid our limit on a photograph of a nude-model wearing a Bobba Fett helmet.  Unfortunately, it was a popular item and we were quickly out-bid.  The art itself ranged form the beautiful to the whimsical and shocking.  There was definitely something there for all tastes.


 A local art school had also set up to do a live demonstration of their students efforts.  Nude models were positioned on a lavishly accesorised bed.  Three girls in costume cuddled on the bed while two buff-males stoode nude at either side fanning the girls with large, feathered fans.  The student-artists set-up around the scene; drawing, painting, and one artist using Photoshop to "paint" digitally.  Signs were posted explicitly forbidding any photography of the session, but a few cameras went-off. 

 The response to a camera flash was offered by a little woman in bright pink who was aggressive about preventing any photography.  I thought this incongruancy; a tiny little woman holding down a whole crowd of gawkers with cameras, more interesting than the exhibit.  I had to get my picture with her.  Big things come in small packages, and despite her stature she was able to intimidate the crowd in to not taking pictures.

 We also had our favorite server was the girl who saw my tattoos and got all excited about tattoo work and about my having work in the show.  She kept our drinks coming, donation or no donation, and made sure they were a little stronger than what was being given out to other guests.  I had to get my picture taken with her as well.

 The highlight of the festivities was the "cake parade", were a group of performers and servers marched through the crowd passing out cookies and carrying along several massive cakes made by local specialty bakeries.  There were a few speakers thanking all the artists and guests for participating.  The event managed to raise about $50,000 in donations, and was THE event to be at that night.  On the way home, Jamy and I remarked on how there was hardly anyone in the downtown party-district.  At this writing, I am planning on creating a piece specifically for this event and participating again next year.  If you are in Austin, dig the local scene, love art, and want to check out something different, this will be the event to check out each year.










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