Beyond art and my creative projects, I would say music is the next most important thing, so I own a lot of albums and attend a good amount of shows. I've had the idea of bringing my art to the shows, but I hadn't gone through with it until this one great opportunity presented itself.
I logged onto facebook one afternoon and saw a short post from Iggy and the Stooges that said "Only 10 left!" I recall thinking to myself "What are you talking about, Iggy?" as I continued scrolling down the feed. Then I came upon another post from Iggy that said "The first 50 people in the New York City area to email a photo ID will get free tickets to an NPR recording at Le Poisson Rouge" or something to that extent. Holy shit, there's only 10 left! I dove for my wallet, grabbed my camera, took the picture and had it uploaded to email in under a minute. About an hour later, I got a confirmation. Free tickets to see Iggy Pop, one of my greatest heroes, in a small, invite only venue. This is the time to use the art to meet the artist.
I sketched the cover of the new Iggy and The Stooges album while listening to it a couple times over, in anticipation of the show. I never had the opportunity to see Iggy live before, one of the last big names I still haven't manged to cross off my list. I invited a friend of mine from PA, Tom Buddy Awesome, to come along to the show with me. He's one of the few people I know who can and likes to converse about old music, so I knew he would appreciate the gravity of this opportunity. Luckily he was in town, but I have a feeling he would have made the trip, even if he wasn't.
We showed up about an hour before the show in order to secure a good spot up front, where I could hopefully hand off my art to Iggy. We ended up all the way stage right, next to the door to backstage. Only the velvet rope was between my Etch a Sketch and the doorway Iggy and The Stooges would soon emerge from. A few of the bouncers saw my art on the way in and told me if I couldn't get it to him, they could, so I was confident the work would get to him. We got a couple drinks and waited by the stage a bit - And then the doors swing open...
An amped-up Iggy Pop comes charging through the door right at me and my friend Tom. I shout "FUCK YEAH IGGY POP!" with a fist in the air as he runs towards me and shadow-boxes my shoulder, before jumping onstage and launching into the first tune. Holy shit, this is one of the coolest nights ever.
The show was fucking fantastic, Iggy is still wild and everyone had the best time possible. They ended the show with "Fun House", at which point Iggy started pulling people up on stage. "C'mon! Now's your chance!" he told his fans while dragging them onto the stage. We were right next to the stairs, so of course we took the opportunity to rock on stage with The Stooges. I had the Etch a Sketch on my shoulder like an 80s ghetto blaster, my other fist pumping in the air to the beat. I could see the people in the crowd looking at my Etch a Sketch - they were impressed. As the song came to a close, I ran back to re-claim my spot next to the doors.
The band walked down the stairs and right by us as I yelled "Iggy! I made this for you!" He came over, took a look, gave me a thank you and walked it backstage. As the door slowly closed behind him, I could see him walking it back carefully. I probably should have told him I took all the sand out so it wouldn't erase, but it's not easy to find all the words when you're standing in front of one of the most important rock icons that ever lived.
The next day, I posted an image of the art on Iggy and the Stooges facebook page, mentioning that it wouldn't erase. About a week later, I woke up to find my art had been shared by Iggy with a nice flattering comment. On that day, I was validated by one of my greatest heroes. It was already worth the effort anyway, but to know Iggy Pop likes something I did gives me one of the best feelings of accomplishment I've ever known. It's inspiring.
The NPR show is online and the video features me and my art quite prominently. Watch the first minute and the last five minutes to see my Etch a Sketch art and me, on-stage, with the Stooges.
This month, I used the same tactic to meet Emily Haines of Metric, one of my absolute favorite current acts. I saw them at a small venue in Clifton Park, New York - where it's easy to get close to the stage if you show up early.
The show was amazing, I was right up front. Around the end of the set, I headed towards the backstage door to wait for the band, just like I did with Iggy. As Emily approached, I extended the Etch and handed it to her. "I made this for you!" "You made this for me?" "Yea, and I took all the sand out so it won't erase." "Thank you!" and that was that. Another piece of art gifted to a favorite musician. This is working out really well...
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