Saturday, July 26, 2014

"San Diego ComiCon, The ArtExpo And The Tony Gwynn Extravaganza!"

San Diego's favorite son...
Had a great time at the ArtExpo here in San Diego, where nerdy "conventioneers" abound.  Being from New Orleans, one would think I'd understand the need to dress up, but I don't!  Certainly, I have no animosity or disdain for those that do, I just don't get the need to be something or someone else!  Kinda like wearing sports jerseys with your favorite player’s name on it.

Anyway, on the second day, in between guests strolling by my "booth,” I decided to paint San Diego's recently deceased favorite son, Tony Gwynn.  Originally, I had planned to demo my traditional marker style and talk about my slideshow, but the way the expo was situated, that wasn't possible.  But, I had planned to demo/paint a portrait or an aircraft.   Since the demographics of this venue would care less about a finished piece of aviation history, I decided to go for Tony. 

Funny though, I pressured myself with the final by offering to raffle it off at the end of the evening, even though I had little idea that it would turn out this nicely.   I even wrote a note stating that I'd raffle it off if it was worth raffling off.

The note got a lot of chuckles from people passing by.  It might have even encouraged some to add their name in the "hat!"

I had been working on it for about four hours when I decided to take a walk, grab a "cab" and stroll amongst beautifully costumed ladies and scary, one of a kind ghouls, witches, warlocks, Sherlocks and dead bolt locks!  (El Dia de los Muertos" continues to rule along with dark, forbidden icons from a religious past!) 

Of course, when I returned to my beloved baseball icon, it looked more like a "Picasso Armageddon!"  My deadline was 9 pm and I now had less than two hours to get Tony recognizable, or I'd have to announce to the crowd that I'd be too embarrassed to give it away!

If I have the courage to announce anything to the crowd.

I decided to share my progress with people putting their names in the hat, which really ratcheted up my enthusiasm.  About this time, some serious fans of Tony Gwynn came by to share their love of the ball player.  One woman said she cried for days when he passed away, and one couple said that they have such an abundance of Gwynn memorabilia that the collection has almost become an altar to Tony.

It was great fun.  One half an hour before Adobe started giving away their raffle prizes, I confidently marched over to one of the school administrators, Linda Sellheim, and requested that she announce my intention to raffle off the portrait.

Well, I didn't win one year's subscription to CC6 or a T-shirt or any other goodies from Adobe, but after the conclusion of their gift giving, Linda graciously announced my intention to raffle off Tony, and there was just as much excitement as there was for Adobe's promo.   Linda's a real promoter and was quite effusive with her praise of me and the portrait.   The little dynamo and I go way back to Art Center days... and, she’s still prone to hyperbole, ha!

As the first no-show name was pulled I thought, "Oh great... no one's hung around for this!"  But, the second pull sprung forth Samantha and Keola LaGrimas from San Diego, the couple I had spent quite a bit of time talking baseball and our love for Tony Gwynn.

Their enthusiasm for winning really made me feel that the effort was well worth it.  We three posed for promo pics with their prize, and luckily, for me, Therese took a few, too. 

We ended the day with a toast to a job well done, and then continued the night with a late dinner at the "Juniper and Ivy" restaurant in downtown San Diego, just Linda and her husband Mark, Tee, and me.

Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III