The First of the KickStarter Incentives Are on Their Way

Katherine Denison of Denison Creative next to me. Katherine did a spectacular job of designing my book. Photo by Glenn Alexander of Pixel Preserve, who printed the book.

Katherine Denison of Denison Creative standing next to me. Katherine did a spectacular job of designing my book. Photo by Glenn Alexander of Pixel Preserve, who printed the book.

KickStarter incentive rewards are on their way. The signed first edition books (the $150 incentive reward) have been dropped off at the post office except for three that I’m going to deliver locally in person. I sent them book rate, so in some cases it may take up to a week for people to receive them depending on your location—and US Postal service willing.

Scan 6cropped72I have mat board on order for the people who selected the matted or framed prints (the $50 incentive and the $300 incentive). The piece I’ve chosen to print is from one of my favorite periods of Danny’s work: His graphite drawings. Dan did a great deal of these drawings, but very few have survived. Most of them were all in one collection that got destroyed. I chose this particular piece in part because it represents an uplifting period in Danny’s life, and because the graphite drawings are so rare. The original belongs to a collector in North Carolina who sent me a very high quality scan along with permission to reproduce the piece. What’s interesting about this drawing, is it was done on bright white paper that has ambered over time. The highlighting wasn’t visible until the paper aged. Aging has actually enhanced the effect of the art.

I’m hard at work on the first of the $500 incentive pieces (an original piece of my own artwork) and I’ll be picking-off those projects one at a time until they’re all done. The $1,500 incentives will require special handling, as it’s an original piece by Danny Allen. Only two were offered, one was checked off – but the other one was also chosen and paid for, but the donor neglected to check the box (if you will).

Denison Creative:  http://www.denisoncreative.com/                                               Pixel Preserve: http://www.pixelpreserve.net/

An Early Work Late in Life Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DannyAllenArt?ref=hl

The Rochester Book Launch Was Amazing

Danny Allen's tiny masterpiece, 'Sunny Ducks' reframed and rematted for the exhibit.

Danny Allen’s tiny little masterpiece, Sunny Ducks re-framed and re-matted for the exhibit, It Came From the Vault at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. Photo by Rachel Deaton.

The exhibit label for Danny's painting.

The exhibit label for Danny’s painting.              Photo by Rachel Deaton.

Part of the reason the book launch was so amazing, was the fact that it piggybacked onto a very successful art opening at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. The museum was a mob scene, and I’m told the museum shop did very well selling copies of my book. I certainly signed enough of them…!!!

The exhibit itself is a show well worth seeing—but truth to tell, no one can really SEE an art exhibit on opening night. Opening exhibits are so crowded that there isn’t time nor the room to linger over the art you want to examine. And at this particular opening people were also reconnecting over Danny Allen’s painting with so much to say, share, laugh and cry over, that the human connection took priority over the show. I’m tentatively scheduled to do a book signing and reading back in Rochester in mid-May. (More details will follow.)

Bill Whiting talking with Danny Allen's 87 year old mother, Bernice Allen at the opening. Photo by Rachel Deaton.

Bill Whiting talking with Danny Allen’s 87 year old mother, Bernice Allen at the opening. Photo by Rachel Deaton.

There is no price that can be placed on the value of reconnecting with people from the past. I hugged Dan’s mother, Bernice and we laughed and cried. Nothing will ever bring back her son, but there is validation in seeing his work honored and hanging on the museum wall.

So many old friendships were reconnected that lyrics from several old John Lennon songs kept going through my head “come together, over me” and “in my life I loved them all.” (I admit it, I’m sentimental.) It was as if  Danny’s own presence directed everyone who loved him to celebrate together, because healing has been a long time coming.

An Early Work Late in Life opened to a page showing a drawing of Dan's late brother, Robert, his sister Christine and a group portrait of the Lowden family---all are artworks done during Dan's youth.

An Early Work Late in Life opened to a page showing a drawing of Dan’s late brother, Robert, his sister Christine and a group portrait of the Lowden family—the artworks depicted on these two pages were all done during Danny Allen’s teenage years.

This tiny carriage house is the space that Danny and I shared as an art studio in the early 1970s.

This tiny carriage house is the space that Danny and I shared as an art studio in the early 1970s. Eva Weiss and Bill Whiting. Photo by Richard Reisem.

This past weekend presented so many outstanding moments for me—that there were too many to count, but one very special flash of nostalgia was visiting old Cornhill with my friend, Eva Weiss. The tiny carriage house we’re standing in front of was Danny Allen’s and my art studio four decades ago. We were photographed by Richard Reisem, who is one of the foremost authorities on historic Rochester, so we couldn’t have asked for a better tour guide.

When I was a young man, I left Rochester, New York with my tail between my legs. I returned to a welcoming warmth I’ll hold dear as long as I live. Life can be painful. Writing about life’s pain makes a person relive that pain—it also gives a person a second chance to relieve that pain and find what can be salvaged.

*       *       *       *       *

Thank you, Katherine, Susan, Eva, Sarah, Tim, James, Josef, Richard, Michael, Norman… the staff of the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery… Truth to tell, there are too many people to thank, so forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone. But above all, thank you to Bernice Allen and the beautiful and gracious family she has given us—she is the soul of all that is good.

I have held my book in my hands.

I have held my book in my hands.

An Early Work Late in Life – Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/DannyAllenArt?ref=hl

Books are on sale at the Memorial Art Gallery’s Museum Store for $29.                  It Came from the Vault: Rarely Seen Works from MAG’s Collection

March 17–June 9, 2013 500 University Avenue · Rochester, NY 14607-1484 585.276.8900 · 585.473.6266

It Came From the Vault—And It Was Spectacular

Dan Allen, watercolor of a pair of foxy Siamese twins. ca 1972 (I can't read the date). Collection of Adele Fico.

Dan Allen, watercolor of a pair of foxy Siamese twins. ca 1972 (I can’t read the date). Collection of Adele Fico. ONLY Dan would draw Siamese twins attached at the hip and the hairstyle…!!!

I hardly know where to begin… This past Saturday, March 16th was the patrons preview of It Came From the Vault at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Avenue, Rochester, New York – 585.276.8900 · 585.473.6266). And it was an incredible experience. It’s also a very good art exhibit well worth taking-in for those close enough to go and see the show.

The whole weekend was filled with emotionally charged events for a lot of people. Friends were coming together after decades apart—as life pulls us all in so many directions at once through the years. Not to sound hokey, but there was a lot of love in the air in Rochester. I got to spend quality time with Danny Allen’s remarkable family, and hold his eighty-seven year old mither and laugh and cry together. Her son’s painting was on the museum’s wall, and while that will never bring him back, the emotional satisfaction of his recognition is not to be underestimated. An artist lives on by way of what he or she creates. On Saturday night, we all got to witness Danny Allen living on.

Sarah Gerin and Bill Whiting at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery museum shop. Photo by Andrea Polanski.

Sarah Gerin and Bill Whiting at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery museum shop. Photo by Andrea Polanski.

It was a particularly spectacular night for me, but I was so busy, I didn’t get a chance to take a single photograph. I’m waiting for photos to come in from different folks who were taking shots as the weekend unfolded. However, I did receive this very special photo taken by Andrea Polanski of me standing with my friend, Sarah Gerin, who is the University of Rochester intern who discovered Danny’s painting in the museum archives which led to this remarkable series of events. The opening was about the art and the exhibit itself, but it was also the informal launch of my book. I will be returning to Rochester in late April or early May for a traditional book signing and perhaps a reading.

I’m ending today’s entry with proof-positive that the publication of the book will lead to the discovery of more artwork by Danny Allen. Featured at the top of the page is a piece done by Danny Allen from the collection of Adele Fico. This piece is not represented in the book, but may make it into later editions. The book remains a work in progress. More art will surface. More stories about Dan have already come to light—and I see changes and modifications I need to make about my physical recollections of the city of Rochester.

There is something magic about that town and its inhabitants. I need to go back, and it will be my pleasure to do so.

Saturday, March 16th is Danny’s Day to Shine

Danny Allen - 'Sunny Ducks' 5 3/16" x 3 7/16" (13.1 cm x 8.8 cm), Acrylic on board, 1972. Collection of the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. Gift of William Whiting and the Allen Family.

Danny Allen – ‘Sunny Ducks’ 5 3/16″ x 3 7/16″ (13.1 cm x 8.8 cm), Acrylic on board, 1972. Collection of the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. Gift of William Whiting and the Allen Family.

I’m flying out of Philadelphia in the morning to make my way to Rochester, New York specifically to see Danny Allen’s little painting, Sunny Ducks hanging on the wall at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. For those of you coming to the opening, I’ll see you there on Saturday night. Everyone else living nearby, try to make it to the museum to see this tiny but wondrous little piece while it’s on display.

My old friends, John Grace and his partner, Nelson Baldo will be attending the opening. John is in very poor health, and on a ventilator. But Danny once helped John get well during a particularly difficult patch in John’s youth. Over forty years ago, John was badly injured in a hit and run accident that thew him off his bicycle leaving him with extensive injuries. Danny visited John nearly everyday, fixing him lunch, talking to him and helping him with his rehab. Dan was also leaving wonderful little drawings and “doodles” for John to enjoy while he recuperated. John and Nelson have framed all that art now, and I received a couple images in time for the book. In fact they gave me some of Dan’s art from their collection. It’s incredibly important to John that he see Dan’s painting hanging on the museum wall, because Danny’s kindness has stayed with John his entire life.

Yes, more art and more stories will come to light.

*       *       *       *       *

It Came from the Vault: Rarely Seen Works from MAG’s Collection

March 17–June 9, 2013
500 University Avenue · Rochester, NY 14607-1484
585.276.8900 · 585.473.6266
BookJacketAngled

Books will be on sale at the Memorial Art Gallery’s Museum Store for $29.95.

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/DannyAllenArt?ref=hl

The Day I’ve Been Awaiting Approaches & Lost Art Surfaces

Danny Allen, India ink drawing on newsprint paper, 1973. Collection of Susan Plunkett.

Danny Allen – India ink drawing on newsprint paper, 1973. Collection of Susan Plunkett. This drawing was discovered in a box at Susan Plunkett’s home. She wasn’t even aware of owning it. It will need to be smoothed out, matted and framed. If necessary, treated for fox-rot to preserve it.

Illustrated above is an example of what may very well happen now that the book about Danny Allen is in print and awaiting circulation. Art will begin to surface. Recollections and photographs are bound to come to light—things no one realized anyone was searching to find may well find me after there’s a book people can read and share. The book itself will be the best magnet for locating some of Danny Allen’s lost artwork. The drawing above was found in time to be included in the book. It had to undergo some digital repairs for the purpose of publication, but it will also require substantial physical repairs to survive in the here and now.

As the weekend of the exhibit and book launch draw closer, I’m no longer focused on the issues that went into creating a book and thinking about traveling up to Rochester, New York to see the exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery. I want to see people. I want to see Danny’s painting anchoring its own space on the gallery walls. And I want to hold the book in my hands for the first time.

The Rochester Memorial Art Gallery will have an exclusive on the book for the first month to month and a half, but I haven’t asked them to set up a table or turn the event into a book signing. That’s not the purpose of the evening. It’s the opening of an art exhibit that features one of Danny Allen’s brilliant little paintings. It’s a triumph for him—and for his family and friends who loved him. People will be coming together after decades apart and celebrating a life, a piece of artwork and a long overdue success for a young man who is gone, but present in spirit.

It’s bound to be a full weekend where I’m barely able to do more than touch on the things I’d like to linger over—and see people briefly with whom I’d rather sit down with and spend time. One of the highlights of my visit will only take minutes at best: That will be a special visit to the old Cornhill District so I can take a picture of the carriage house where Danny and I once shared an art studio. Sometimes it’s the little things that catch in your heart. I already know that will be one of them.

*       *       *       *       *

BookJacketAngled

I’m hoping to have a larger release of the book by late April or early May. I need to have copies in hand before I can schedule promotional events like book signings and readings. Not to mention all of the KickStarter incentives I need to circulate once I return home.

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/DannyAllenArt?ref=hl

A Feather in My Cap Plus Some Additional Trimmings

Danny Allen, graphite drawing, 1972. collection of Wendy Lippman.

Danny Allen, graphite drawing, 1972. collection of Wendy Lippman.

A week from today I fly up to Rochester, New York to attend the opening of It Came From the Vault at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, which among a variety of other fascinating pieces, features one of Danny Allen’s magic realist paintings. It will also be the first time I get to hold a printed copy of my book in hand. Pretty exciting stuff!

Prior to leaving I’ve got to do something about what my house looks like, as friends are staying at my place to look after my dog, Winnie. I don’t have great eyesight, and I’ve developed an immunity/avoidance issue toward housecleaning. It occurs that my house—while always neat—is filthy! You can write your name in the dust on tabletops and hardwood floors. If I had the spare money, I’d hire someone to clean the place, as life is too short to vacuum. Or live in one. I’ve been too busy to care.

Aside from the excitement of seeing old friends gathered all in once place to celebrate the life of Danny Allen, my shallow personal dilemma is what in the world I’m going to wear. I live in jeans and T-shirts. I think I have nice pair of black pants somewhere, but there’s no guarantee they’ll fit all the way around me. Perhaps I just shouldn’t breath for the weekend. It’s not that I’m huge, but I have just tipped the scales at two hundred pounds. Sigh. Maybe a pair of black jeans are the answer, and a new hat with a feather and trimmings.

There is a story about the drawing featured this week, about who modeled for “portions” of it and the “creative” use of feathers—but I’m not sure this is the proper forum to discuss it. Rochester folks, I’ll see you in a week.

It’s Coming From the Vault—And Soon…!!!

The poster for 'It Came From the Vault' at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Avenue, Rochester, New York. Opening to the general public on March, 17th, 2013.

The advertising for ‘It Came From the Vault’ at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, opening to the general public on March, 17th, 2013.

The opening of the exhibit including Danny Allen’s painting ‘Sunny Ducks’ is less than two weeks away. I’m looking forward to seeing people I haven’t laid eyes on in decades. I’m going to visit places where Dan and I once lived and see how it all compares to my memories from forty years ago. There’s something indescribably rewarding about seeing a painting done by a young man who once briefly worked as a janitor at the museum, then having his art own displayed on the walls of the very same august institution.

I received a block of tickets for the Member’s Preview in the mail today courtesy of the museum’s director, Grant Holcomb—and I wholeheartedly thanked him for his generosity. Now there are tickets in hand for members of Danny’s family, and spare tickets to share with Dan’s and my old friends. This exhibit means a great deal to a lot of people.

I love the graphics. In fact, I cracked up. Having been in any number of museum vaults over the years, speaking as a former (and seasoned) museum employee, those vaults tend to be very dark and creepy. So the startled-faced lady rings true. (Especially when you’re in the archeological storage areas, but enough about that.) Note Dan’s little painting, is on the second row to the left. For anyone in the Rochester area interested in seeing the exhibit, the information is listed below:

It Came from the Vault: Rarely Seen Works from MAG’s Collection
March 17–June 9, 2013
500 University Avenue · Rochester, NY 14607-1484
585.276.8900 · 585.473.6266

As an aside, the first one hundred and fifty books are off the press and the binding process has begun.