This Saturday I got a bit of a surprise at the 34th Annual Orpheum Theatre Auction…
…when the “Go, Tigers- GO!” chair I airbrushed went for $1700.00!
My wife Nicki and I look forward to attending events at the historic downtown theater on Beale and Main, and the annual auction is one of our favorites.
This year we had a couple extra tickets and invited Nicki’s mom and sister Regina to join us.
We had a lot of fun going backstage. The silent auction (including more painted chairs and art) were back there, along with lots of food and beverages.
We loved this “Rocky Horror Picture Show” chair painted by Jeffrey W. Cannon.
We cracked up when we saw the back of the chair!
Nicki won an autographed poster from “The Addams Family” which was signed by the cast. I had a one man show at the Orpheum during it’s run, and Nicki and I got to catch the last performance while it was here. It also happened to be one of our monthly anniversaries. 😉
Murals from past shows cover the backstage walls of the Orpheum. I always like to search for new ones.
This was the theme for my chair last year- “MEMPHIS” the musical, which will be returning to the Orpheum next season!
This was the third chair I’ve painted for the Orpheum (a “Phantom of the Opera” and the “MEMPHIS” chair were previous designs).
I went with a University of Memphis Tigers theme for this year’s auction. My first choice of names for it was “Tiger High Chair“. My wife didn’t think that name would help it sell, so “Go, Tigers- GO!” was chosen instead. I still think those that went to “Memphis State” would get the joke. 😉
The Orpheum furnished me with a blank white canvas chair. I started off covering the front legs and seat with an opaque blue. I used Createx paint and a Paasche VL-3 airbrush.
Next I sketched out the tiger face and added color to the front of the back of the chair.
Then I started adding orange to the back of the chair and rear legs. Also added more blue to help even out the front, then let it sit overnight to dry. Airbrushed paints usually dry almost immediately on canvases and tees- not so much on these chairs.
The next day I started tightening up the tiger face…
I added more brown, purple, and black to the face- and a bit more blue to the seat and legs…again. The chair liked to soak up some paint and I got some high and low spots with the blue.
Next I airbrushed white highlights on the fur and eyes.
Then after some more shading it was time for more hand painted highlights and whiskers.
After a bit more soft white highlights with the airbrush the tiger face is now finished!
It was then time to tiger stripe the back of the chair and rear legs.
Black, brown, purple with some blue and white highlights- and the back is done.
The final touch was to add the “MEMPHIS” on the front. I cut a stencil, used some spray adhesive, positioned the stencil on the front, painted the letters grey, then sprayed white along the top. I then removed the stencil, outlined the letters in black with the airbrush, and added a few white highlights with a paintbrush.
I let the chair sit overnight to completely dry (like I said, they like to soak up some paint!), then I heat-set the whole chair. All that was left to do was wrap it up and deliver it downtown to the Orpheum.
The bidding started off at $500, then stalled for a bit at $700 or so…then the bidding war began! There were obviously some U of M Tiger fans in the audience and before we knew it the chair had sold for $1700.00! That’s $400 more than last year’s chair!
The money raised from the auction goes to the new Performing Arts and Leadership Centre that breaks ground next door to the Orpheum this summer- increasing participation from 62,000 students and families in the Orpheum’s performing arts programs to over 100,000 annually.
Thanks to Pat Halloran, Leanne McQuown, Holli Kenney, and all the staff and volunteers of the Orpheum for putting on another successful and fun auction!
The Orpheum Theatre
203 S. Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
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