Saturday, June 7, 2014

Me and Carlos Santana

The final painting in acrylic 13" x 24." This is my submission to the PromoWest/Greater Columbus Arts Council 30th anniversary art contest. Selection and voting is on the way. More details to come. I went into this not for the chance of a cash prize or recognition but only for challenging myself. Little did I know where it would lead me. I heard that Santana was coming to the LC Pavilion for the 30th anniversary show so I used him as my inspiration for the piece. I didn't do any research but I like to think that I'm the first artist to think of using the stripes of snakes as a guitar fret board but that would be an insult to the human mind. Who knows? It definitely was a challenge but a fun one.
I found out from my friend Greg, that there was a possibility to have prints signed. I was lucky enough to have two high quality prints made with help from my brother. Thanks Monty! I told Greg I wasn't asking or expecting any special treatment but that would be cool if Santana signed them. I decided to write Carlos a small letter telling him thanks for what he's done for the World and how much I'd appreciate it if he preferred to sign the prints. I also offered him the original as a gift if he was interested. If he didn't want it I planned to auction it off and donate some profit to the foundation that he started with his family, The Milagro Foundation. Turns out, he signed the prints and was interested in the original. After the painting was relayed to him he asked about me which I wasn't expecting.
I wasn't sure if he'd be interested in the painting or if he'd even see the prints. I thought well, there's a small chance he might want it so I better get it framed just in case. Thank you Andrea for doing such a great framing job!
I ran through the rain before the show after receiving a phone call from Greg. Escorted back by a body guard I went to meet Carlos. It was only for a minute or two but it was so awesome! As a musician I've admired his guitar playing for years. I wish I remembered to tell him that. Everything happened so fast that not much was said between us. I didn't even get a chance to say bye. Lol! He did ask for my address so something could be sent to me. I gave it to his body guard, Sean. It was cool to hear the crowd scream when he peeked out the door next to me as I was writing my address down on my card. On my way out I told Sean that I wasn't expecting anything in return. What happened next blew me away.
Still in shock, I go grab a Guinness with my friend, Shawn. Moments later I get another call. Escorted back by another body guard I ended up outside a room where I could hear Santana jamming alone. I thought holy crap, am I going to get to jam with him for a couple minutes!?! I didn't ask to jam as I entered but he says, "I have something for you." He opens a case to show me this, Awhhhhhhhhh and a beam of light came from the heavens :) a Paul Reed Smith guitar, signed and dated! I was in awe and almost speechless. I let him know how much I appreciated it and told him he has provided so many beautiful things to the World and he said "likewise." He mentioned that "we are the same" and that he was just a reflection of me. What do you say to that!!! Wise words. I said thanks so much again, shook his hand, told him good luck with the show and I was on my way. I felt like I was cutting into his practice time so I kept it short. It all happened so fast! So there I was, carrying my new guitar across the stage in front of tons of people before the show to store it away in a safe room until after the performance. Incredible!
It was my first time seeing him perform live. Me, Shawn and Greg stood there as Santana and the rest of the band blew our minds with one of the greatest performances I've ever seen. Carlos, I hope our paths cross again someday. If so maybe we'll  have more conversation time and I'd love to be able to actually jam with you ;) You are a bright light. Thank you so much for everything! Big thanks to every single person that made this possible. Who knew entering an art contest to challenge myself would bring me here.

Update, May 29th 2016.  I later found out after this crazy experience that my piece was selected along with three other artists to be displayed on the side of the A&R Music Bar for one year. Hard to believe that was almost two years ago.