Sunday, September 14, 2008


"Wow!" is all I can say after a whirlwind trip to LA for the opening of "DOLLYPOP" at the appropriately named WOW (World of Wonder) Storefront Gallery. Ok, maybe that's not ALL I have to say...

For starters, it was so wonderful to reconnect with my fabulous friend Jane and get to know her also-fabulous husband, Chris. They're quite the artistic super-duo of Hermosa Beach, and I was really inspired by their many exciting creative projects in the works.

Jane and I did some requisite beach frolicking and boutique shopping before getting ready for the big event.

When we arrived that evening at Hollywood Boulevard unsure of the gallery's exact location, a distant window display made our destination all too clear -- a gigantic (as in taller than me) sculpture of Dolly's girls.

Inside the gallery, the fun continued with a remarkable series of unique and often over-the-top tributes to a lady deserving of no less. The Dolly-love was instantly apparent as multiple costumed Dollys (including the amazing Lenora Claire) worked the room while a video projection took us through highlights of Dolly's career (including a duet with Miss Piggy and a slightly uncomfortable performance with some guys juggling flaming torches over her head). Dolly's songbook provided the perfect background music, and a display of hay bales and live chickens helped round out the ambiance. By all means, this was the party I had always dreamed of (although the chicken thing probably wouldn't have occurred to me!).

It was especially gratifying to talk with so many people in attendance who really connected with my work, especially the "Dollypop Guild" piece. It seems that as alone as I felt during childhood with my mom's heels and my country diva dreams, there were actually quite a few others out there walking a similar yellow brick road.

E News host Marc Malkin was co-curator of the exhibit, and he along with Steven Corfe (who works at WOW as a curator and producer) were incredibly gracious and complimentary. They managed to make me feel right at home, a feeling which continued as I looked across the room to see someone sporting one of my retro-Dolly T-shirt designs.

We met the cutest couple from Louisville, one half of which, David Mitchell, was responsible for some of my favorite pieces in the show (pictured below with his velvet Dolly painting). He and his partner had gotten married earlier that day -- what could be better than a DOLLYPOP honeymoon? Congrats, guys!

After some pink champagne and some lively discussion, we made our way back out into the world -- our spirits a little sparklier and our world full of a bit more wonder than ever before.

The next day, the Dolly-mania continued as Jane and Chris treated me to a matinee performance of "9 to 5: The Musical" (which had debuted only 4 days earlier) starring Allison Janney, Stephanie J. Block, and Megan Hilty with songs by Dolly. No one could set a tale about kidnapping and attempted murder in the "pink-collared ghetto" of the office-place to music like our girl, and Megan Hilty was as cute as could be in the role Dolly made famous in the original movie.

I'm SO incredibly grateful to my friends here in Columbus for treating me to this amazing adventure, to Jane and Chris for being such generous hosts, to the WOW Gallery for inviting me into their joyfully extravagant world, and of course to Dolly for providing the inspiration for it all!

Check out my complete set of photos from the trip HERE.

Check out World of Wonder's coverage of the event HERE, HERE, and HERE.

The Defamer review, "It's Dolly's World, We Just Live In It" can be seen HERE.

Check out Dollymania's coverage HERE.

Recap with photos from Daveland Art HERE.

Click below for an article in LA Confidential magazine about the show, featuring one of my pieces:

And check out WOW's video recap here:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Playing Dress Up

I created my first T-Shirt design at last night featuring the boy from my "Dollypop Guild" painting. You can put it on a variety of shirts from American Apparel as well as tote bags and my favorite - a baby onesie! Perfect for the whole family! Check it out here: SKREENED.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hello Dolly!

With the DollyPOP opening at World of Wonder Gallery only a few days away, I thought it would be appropriate to write a little bit about my love of the fabulous bewigged diva.

After watching “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” as a child, I thought I wanted to grow up and be a whore. I didn’t realize exactly what that meant, and when my parents pushed me to select a different career path, I decided instead that I would be Dolly Parton. For a young boy in conservative surroundings, this was not an acceptable aspiration either, but I was drawn to the flamboyant entertainer because of her over-the-top persona and seemingly abundant self-confidence.

As a child, I struggled with my desire to fit in, all the while knowing that I was very different from my peers. I saw in Dolly a kindred spirit, someone who chose an offbeat path and made it work. As I grew older, coming to terms with my homosexuality proved challenging. I wanted to make my parents proud, but I felt that I couldn’t do so and be true to myself.

As Dolly channels her emotions and experiences into her music, I learned to do the same through painting. At 12, I decided I wanted to meet my heroine, and through persistent correspondence with personnel at Dollywood, I was able to briefly meet Dolly and present her with a drawing. The experience was a milestone of my young adult life and helped me learn that I could set goals and make them come true.

Today, I use my work as a means to document and share my experiences coming out of the closet and finally accepting myself. While I may not fulfill my youthful ambition of “being” Dolly any time soon, I hope through my artwork I can help spread some of the bright, sparkly, positive energy that she has generously shared with the world.