Postcard painting by Alan Willis; Graphics by Christopher O’Brien.
On First Friday June 7th, 2013 I curated a show called “Bakersfield Country; the Legends of the Bakersfield Sound.” We had 13 artists paint a portrait of a Bakersfield Sound musician from the 40’s and 50’s. I hung the show in a spaced out manner along side bios typed on each musician. At the end of each bio the artist’s statement was included. Each statement explained how the artists felt about their involvement in the show.
The artists were handpicked for participation. We had 12 Bakersfield artists and 1 from Los Angeles. Every single piece in the show was extraordinary. Mediums ranged from pen and ink, acrylic and oil. Along with the paintings we displayed four boards of original photography donated by Ray Urquhart, Wren Tidwell, The Bill Woods Family and William J Saunders. there was live music by Vince Galindo and Therese Muller. Along the wall behind my counter I painted a mural of The Blackboard Café and we mimicked the Blackboard stage wall with head shots of the artists and recreated show posters from the 50’s.
On Friday morning I was on First Look with Scott Cox on KERN radio/podcast. William “Joe” Saunders went with me to discuss the production of a documentary of his grandfather Billy Mize. He is working on raising $53,000 to finish the production of the film. Joe is an Emmy award winning director. Be sure to check out this link and do what you can to help contribute! http://billymizemovie.com/ First Look interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=M-aiMJXemPI
Thursday, the night before, we had a private viewing for the Bill Woods Family. My mother grew up with Tomi, Bill’s daughter. We connected and she provided photography for the show. Her family was so honored he was included in such a big way. “The Godfather” of the Bakersfield sound, Bill played an important role in the structure of that era. He helped and promoted everyone.
The night was a colossal success. All but two of the pieces were purchased in reserve for an even larger project to come. Later through the night one of the two left also sold. This has never happened at The Foundry before. The purchases warmed my heart and brought smiles to many artists faces through out the night. I spent the after hours with great friends. Saturday I woke up and had to make sure it hadn’t all been a dream.
I must thank our Sponsor Greenhorn Grill of Alta Sierra. The owner Mike Hill, born and raised in Bakersfield, has been a lifetime fan of the Bakersfield Sound music and musicians. Your generous contribution is so much appreciated.
Thanks also go to the photography contributors Ray Urquhart, Billy Mize, William J. Saunders, The Bill Woods Family and Wren Tidwell. Thank you poster graphic by Christopher O’Brien.