Tag Archives: 3 Painters

A Speed Painting Tribute… different

23 Jan

As Speed Painters we have the privilege of performing for some of the most fun and exciting crowds – and most of our performances are just that: fun and exciting!  Incredible singers belting it out while we paint, crowd clapping, cheering, singing along… incredible and, yes, fun!

But this blog is about a request and a performance that was different.

This request came to us steeped in… well, tragedy.
The voice on the other end of the phone was humble and heartfelt, can we convey a message to a convention audience… sentiment really, one that could help a large group of people heal and pay their respects? The story, although straight out of a newspaper headline (literally as it turned out) had a shattering impact on the company and it’s employees – two of their people, a pair of young women, were killed while on the job by an eighteen wheeler running a red light.
During their annual event they wanted to honor these two women, pay tribute to them, and – we realized later – give everyone a chance to say goodbye.

Could we paint their portraits, but do it to honor the solemnity of the occasion? “Not too slow though, they wouldn’t have liked that, but not over the top… there’s over 1,500 people going to be there… we need your help.”

Over the next few days certain decisions became obvious. First the music: no live singers, no “motivating” music, just a simple, beautiful ballad . Second, we would paint both portraits at once, one at each end of the stage, each painter staying solo with their 6′ x 6′ canvas. Lastly, we would keep it contained at 6 minutes.

On site Michael and I ended up waiting backstage over 4 hours. That’s a lot of butterflies. Michael joked about how he was sick before speed painting Michael Eisner (“He was the CEO of DISNEY at the time and there he was sitting a couple feet in front of the stage.”) but this was nervous in a different way… humbling. And suddenly they’re waving us on and it’s bright and quiet and I’m walking up to the familiar blank canvas. The smell of our paints. Image of a young woman in my head.
I realized only a dozen people knew what we were painting, what would the rest think? And then I was gone.

While we were painting we didn’t dance or jump, didn’t do any sort of theatrics, we simply painted.  Just us, our brushes and our “subject matter”. For a few moments we held them – just as we strived to for the hours of studio rehearsal – a feature at a time, pouring our hearts into every stroke. With 1,500 people there, somehow, it was the most intimate performance we have ever done.

The music ended and their was silence. We turned. Funny how the noise of a crowd can sound different in different situations, it hit us as a rolling building thunder – part clapping, part cheering, part crying, not for us of course – partly for their company that took the risk in creating such a moment but mainly for the memory of their lost friends.
It was truly a beautiful, and humbling experience.

I hope they would agree.

Author Jeff Smith

Michael Ostaski and Jeff Smith are Speed Painters with the act The 3 Painters

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Honoring Heroes

2 Aug

We recently had the privilege of performing The 3 Painters speed painting show for an amazing group of people.  Over the course of the event we paid tribute to several different groups of veterans, including many from WWII.

As part of our performance we painted a tribute to one of these groups, the Tuskegee Airmen.  I can honestly say it was a thrill to speed paint a live tribute to these incredible men.

I was hoping to get a chance to meet one of them, and so I brought with me a smaller version of the live painting I had done for the performance.  After our performance, I asked a gentleman who had been helping the Tuskegee Airmen throughout the evening if I might get one of them to sign it for me.

He told me the airmen had been amazed, and honored by the performance and would gladly sign it. I was then introduced to every Tuskegee airman at the event and each of them signed it for me! Being a history buff, I was on cloud nine.

 Tuskegee Airman

The Honoring of American Heroes. Speed Painting Signed by the   Tuskegee Airmen

Now, for those of you who don’t know who the Tuskegee Airmen are, or why I might be so excited about this, let me explain.

The Tuskegee airmen were the first African-American fighter pilots in the US military.  They were a segregated unit, as we’re most at that time, and they trained at the army airbase at Tuskegee Alabama (hence the nickname).  Many in the military fought this, claiming black men were incapable of anything as complicated as flying a fighter plane.

There were hearings in congress where many elected officials attacked them at every opportunity.  But the Tuskegee men kept going.  They fought the military, they fought congress, they fought the prejudices of virtually everyone they met both here an abroad.  Eventually they were assigned to combat and flew escort to bomber planes.  They were one of the most successful squads of the war.

Think about this for a moment.  They were fighting the military, and their own government, not for any special treatment, but for the right to go out and fight and possibly die, FOR that same government and military.

If WWII represents the greatest generation, the the Tuskegee airmen are one of the finest examples of what made that generation great.

They are true American heroes.

And I got their autographs!

Moment of Creation

28 Jul

We just returned from a very successful engagement in Chattanooga.  Over the course of four days we painted seven paintings, ranging from custom speed paintings of the company’s beloved founder and other of their top men, to Jimi Hendrix (painted upside down) and John Lennon, and ending with the corporate mascot.  They loved it.

I love watching the audience reactions as the paintings develop.  They have before them an artist with nothing more than paint and paper, black and empty, standing stark on the stage. And in mere minutes all is transformed into a work of art.  It doesn’t matter how “sophisticated” their taste in art is.  Some may yearn for Monet or Rodin, some may cherish album cover art, some are happy with dogs playing poker.  It doesn’t matter what their taste is, their faces glow as the watch the painting develop before their eyes.

I realized some time ago, that it isn’t only the painting that enthralls, but the process as well.  They aren’t merely looking at the world through the artist’s eyes, as we do when we gaze at some famous work, they are actually seeing it happen.

They are there for the moment of creation.  They bear witness to a world seldom seen by any but the artist themselves.  It is that moment  that captivates as much or more than the final piece.  It holds their attention as peer into a world of infinite possibilities.  They not only get to see the world through the eyes of the artist, they get to experience that first moment when it comes to life.

This is why the speed painting  live art shows are among my favorites.  You get to bring the audience with you into fleeting world where action makes thought reality.  It is a unique opportunity to open a door and invite the audience in so that, together, you can all experience that singular moment if creation.

Speed Painting in Chattanooga

Michael Ostaski and Jeffrey Smith

Baskets, and Touchdowns, and Paintings…Oh MY! Speed Painting at Sports Events

4 Jul

Michael Ostaski LOVES painting for sports fans – they’re one of the most passionate and vocal audiences that any performer could hope for: they cheer, they yell, they jump out of their seats and get into it! Just like Michael.

And athletics’ fans are eager for artistry, the leap to the basket, the blur at the finish line, the sailing drop of sweat, and Michael, one of the most versatile fast painters, strives to capture the drama in a wild 7 minute surge of paint on canvas. Basket after touchdown after home run after photo finishes… major sports fans, from the NBA to NASCAR to the Olympics, love it; it’s a rush, and they hunger for it.

But let’s not forget about the “P” word: pressure. Sporting events are all about it. For performing artists its one of the highest-pressure situations they will ever face. Take, for instance the performance that Michael did for the Chicago Bulls (actually, performances for most basketball games are very similar to this) – when performing for a basketball halftime, you have one of the shortest performance slots in the biz – 6 minutes to be exact. That’s six minutes to tarp the court, bring out the canvas and paint supplies, paint the painting, take off all the supplies and canvas, and then refold the tarp remove it as well (keep in mind that on average, Michael takes between 6 and 7 minutes to paint a portrait; this does not include setup or breakdown times). Oh, did we mention that if we were to get even a drop of paint on the court, it would be a foul for the home team and delay the game, most likely resulting in a fan riot? Ok, probably not, but we’ve never been willing risk it! Stressful? To say the least. But worth it? Absolutely!

We don’t just love performing, we love the opportunity to travel, inspire, and meet some cool people -like the Brain Urlacher (of Chicago Bears fame), Reggie Miller (one of only 5 to have his jersey number retired by the Indiana Pacers), and Yao Ming (Houston’s Chinese super-tall super-star) sort of cool people. And we’ve painted at all sorts of sports, too – golf, football, you name it. We’ve even done paintings for the Olympics!

The point is, sports and fast painting actually have a lot in common; high-energy, excitement, and a great rally for people to come together. What could be better than being a part of, and then watching, a good-natured and spirited sport, whatever it may be?

By jonahflamingo – Jonah also posts at http://thepinksband.wordpress.com/

You’ve Hired a Fast Painter… Now What?

3 Jul

The Pink Flamingos

One of the best ways to boost your brand, deliver your company’s message clearly or even express your organization’s mission is through the use of live art performance painting or fast/speed painting.

One of our amazing acts is called Art Explosion, where the outstanding Michael Ostaski paints huge, elaborate paintings in less than 7 minutes. Now that you’ve hired Michael (or another fast painter) for your next event, the incomparable Lisa DeWolf shares with us her inside tips on how to make yours the most successful event it can be.

Use your fast painter to the best of their abilities.

Lisa says that the first thing to consider is how can you creatively use your newly hired speed painter. Consider the event that the painter is performing at – is it an award ceremony? Instead of simply announcing who the winner of the big sales competition is, have your speed painter…

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Thinking of Hiring a Speed Painter? Check Out These Tips

3 Jul

The Pink Flamingos

Speed painting – what a fantastic performance art. It really is one of the most versatile corporate entertainment acts available today. So, you’ve decided to hire yourself a speed painter for your next corporate event? Good Choice! Before you rush into hiring the first speed painter you find, here’s some advice from our show designer, Lisa DeWolf, to help you pick the best painter to meet your needs.

First and foremost, make sure you like their work!

Reputable speed painters will have a portfolio of work that they’ve done live in the average speed-painter’s time frame (6-10 minutes). And, more often than not, you can easily view their work online. So, view it! Make sure that you like the caliber of their work – what you see is a good indication of what you’ll get in a live performance.

Consider your budget, of course!

Prices for speed painters range very…

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