Reliving moments from Blood On The Walls

Just a few of the more than 200 friends, family members and work associates who attended opening night festivities at Blood On The Walls at 1900 Park.

Just a few of the more than 200 friends, family members and work associates who attended opening night festivities at Blood On The Walls at 1900 Park.

Last November, I learned that I’d be having my first gallery showing in more than 21 years. It would take place at 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery and would feature at least 30 of my modern art and surrealist paintings, accompanied by the music of Tom Jr. and friends.

I was truly excited but March 3rd was a long time away back in early November. I began compiling a to-do list, starting with the overall invite. Initially, we were going to title the event “The Tom Blood Experience” – but since Tom was only playing for the opening night reception and because that title seemed a little self-serving to me, I opted instead for “Blood On The Walls”. It was simple. It was memorable. And it pretty much described what attendees would see – lots of paintings by Tom Blood, hanging on the walls.

The holidays came and went. I developed the invite and then began pushing it out, setting up a Facebook event page as well as personally inviting friends, family members and work associates both past and present. Tom Jr. began his portion of the event as well, working with several of his musician friends to plan the evening’s musical entertainment.

People began to RSVP, starting slow, but as of last week, the number eclipsed 200 and I was fairly confident, even with multiple no-shows, that we would have a great crowd on hand.

Tom and I made the painting selections, narrowing the number of choices down from more than 50 to what I thought might be a too many number of 40. It turned out to be just right. I created explanations for each of the paintings, trying to give viewers a glimpse into my thought process behind the painting and I’m glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed watching people read the captions, then look back up at the painting.

It’s kind of unnerving when you see so many people staring at art that you created. But that’s why art exists – to be viewed and enjoyed and interpreted. It was so refreshing to unleash some of these paintings, getting them out of my basement and into a gallery.

It felt like they belonged.

The show officially got underway at 6:30. By that time, we already had more than 20 people wandering around. I was raffling off several items from my http://tom-blood.pixels.com site and the jars quickly began to fill.

People kept pouring through the doors. Cousins. High-school and college buddies. People I’ve worked with through my many years in advertising. Fellow parishioners from St. Gerard-Majella. Tom drew his own crowd and it was such a cool mix of people.

Tom and his musician friends made some magical melodies.

Tom and his musician friends made some magical melodies.

I wanted to talk to everyone – which made my attention span almost gnat-like. Every time I’d be talking to someone, someone new would enter and tap me on the shoulder or give me a hug.

At one point, I stepped off to the side and just gazed at the crowd. Though it wasn’t wall-to-wall people, it was crowded everywhere you looked. The band was jamming and I smiled to myself, knowing that, like all things, the evening would come and it would go.

By the end of the evening, I had lost my voice. Already, I was looking back, wishing I would have made an appeal for people to toss in a few bucks for the great music that was played. I wish I could have personally thanked every single person who came, (though I certainly tried.) I wish I could do it all again and savor the joy and warmth and friendship and soak in all the many compliments I heard throughout the night.

But the Opening Night Reception of Blood On The Walls is now in the past.

And all I can do is press onward and keep painting to assure that the next event comes a little sooner than 21 years from now.

Thanks to all who made this special night one for the memory books.

I shall return.

To see some of Tom’s work, visit http://tom-blood.pixels.com – there, you can order prints or a wide variety of items featuring Tom’s artwork to turn ordinary items like iPhone cases or pillows or tote bags into conversation pieces.

Getting ready for Show time

Blood On The Walls is the aptly named title of my upcoming solo art show at 1900 Park - Creative Space and Gallery.

A portion of the invite created for my upcoming solo art show.

I’m glad there’s still a fair amount of time until my first solo art show since 1994. I’m going to need it.

The Opening Reception will be on Friday night, March 3 – still more than 40 days away yet it seems much closer than that to me. Once I had heard that 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery was willing to give me a solo show, it sent my planning wheels into motion.

That was back in early November which now seems like a long, long time ago. I knew that I needed to wait until after the new year came and went before pushing out in too big a way. But now that January is in its final week, it’s time to start ramping up the planning.

Invites were created and a good deal of them have been sent out – but not all of them as my list continues to evolve. Since Tom Jr. is going to be the featured musical entertainment the night of the opening reception, we were initially calling the evening, “The Tom Blood Experience”.

Though I liked the title, it didn’t quite seem right to me. Plus, the show will be up throughout most of the month of March and just calling my artwork ‘The Tom Blood Experience’ wasn’t making sense to me. When you have a last name like mine, you might as well capitalize on it – thus ‘Blood on the Walls’ seemed to be an interesting and memorable name for a collection of my artwork that would be hanging on the walls.

So I went with it.

I intend to try and showcase some of the many objects that my art can appear on as well – pillows, iPhone cases, greeting cards, tote bags – the bright, colorful and often quite weird subject matter of what I paint just might be a good conversation starter. So I’ve ordered a number of items that we’ll have on display the evening of the event.

Here's a little card that a husband or boyfriend can send to their significant other as a means of apologizing. I wrote some copy for the insides that turns this into a pretty cool card and will have it on display at the show.

Here’s a little card that a husband or boyfriend can send to their significant other as a means of apologizing. I wrote some copy for the insides that turns this into a pretty cool card and will have it on display at the show.

Something's Wrong with America throw pillow. No, I won't have this one at the show, but there will be another one that looks pretty cool.

Something’s Wrong with America throw pillow. No, I won’t have this one at the show, but there will be another one that looks pretty cool.

So far, the biggest challenge is figuring out just how many people are going to show up. That’s always your biggest fear – “What if we have the show and nobody comes?”

I don’t think that’s going to happen. Rather, it’s trying to figure out, “What if we have the show and everybody comes?” 1900 Park isn’t a huge facility. Still, I think they can handle a crowd and I’m sure they’ve had big turnouts before.

So we’re trying to figure out a food and drink allotment and be ready for anything.

Choosing which particular pieces I’m putting into the show remains a work in progress as well. There will be more than 30 paintings on display. Just how many, I’m still not quite sure. But each one will have a title, a price tag and a brief explanation as to what in the world I was thinking when I created it.

I'll try and give some kind of explanation as to the meaning of this painting at my upcoming show at 1900 Park on March 3rd.

I’ll provide some kind of explanation as to the meaning of this painting at my upcoming show at 1900 Park on March 3rd.

There’s a lot more that’s going to go into this show. Tom Jr. has to work out his playlist. We’re ordering specially made t-shirts for the event (that will also be available for online purchase), There might be hand-outs and who knows what else.

So as of now, time is on my side. I’m excited about the opportunity. And even though February only has 28 days, it’s going to be a long, long month.