The Level at the Metropolitan Pavilion was abuzz last night at the 14th Annual Friends of Friends Photography Auction. From the first moment we entered you knew you were in the midst of savvy art hunters. Skillfully eying the prints of some very illustrious photographers as well as the not yet as famous. The space was filled with private collectors, gallery owners, interested parties and some of the artists working their way from the libation stations, picking up tasty tibits on trays balanced by friendly service staff courtesy of “saffron.59“. We were the newcomers to the party – as we watched competitive bidders greet each other warmly – inquiring about past purchases and collections. They are all here looking for bargains and that is what they got. Rarely did a print go to the value price – most were picked up for 1/3 – 1/2 the cost if purchased through a gallery. (Basically knocking off the gallery commission). The silent auction is a little less exciting because you quietly write your paddle number on the corresponding sheet of paper for each print with incremental bids of $50, circle the room and come back to add your paddle number any if outbid. The silent auction closed 10 minutes after the end of the live auction so if you are intent on going home with a piece of art and had bowed out during the live auction you can still walk away with a beautiful print at a bargain. Not every slient auction piece was bid upon so I consider myself lucky to have had 5 bids. ‘Inner Workings – red umbrella’ sold for $450. I don’t know if I will find out who purchased it – but I know that FWAB will send me the final sale price in a thank you letter along with the total amount raised from the event. Jene’s Met Life Building print went for a steal. As he said winning photo awards for the piece has nothing to do with someone wanting to buy it.
It really was a great way to spend an evening – It is a honor chatting with Kenro Izu, who can flash a warm welcoming smile at will. He exudes grace and charm – nice mix of worldly people – young and old. Picking up bits of conversations about the works, recent travels, the artists around the open bars. The delectable appetizers along with the usual cheese, cracker and fruit tables seemed to please everyones pallates. Really when you think about it, $50 was more than reasonably priced. A very pleasant social evening, I met Beryl Brownman because I had to compliment her on her turquoise jewelry pieces. Again, a well traveled photographer, she recognized the red umbrella and recalls the tea garden in Japan where I shot it. She doesn’t have a website so I couldn’t see what type of work she does but Jene is going to research vendors to see where she can get some of her film scanned for digital output. Jene also spent some time talking with a Vince Cianni, who donated “Muay Thai Kickboxer – Siem Reap, 2004. Somehow one of Jene’s favorite subjects “Rome” came into the conversation. It’s gratifying, I love meeting new people, passing pleasantries back and forth and you never know if your paths will cross again.
I was a little disappointed in the layout of the prints, for some reason like images were clumped together, a group of horse prints, portraits, flowers, etc. Certainly not the flow I would have chosen had I hung the exhibit. The individual images lost that “BAM” effect. I thought it took away from the impact of each piece. My red umbrella was hanging under a “red room” print. Oh well. I do hope that the fundraiser was a super success and that many children’s lives will be saved because of the overall effort of all those involved. The hospital is also a training hospital – upping the skills of the nursing staff and the local doctors. Helping people, help themselves is the way to overcome poverty. They teach families about good hygiene and nutrition.
A fun evening for a great cause – The Art in heart. I hope my print brings years of enjoyment to it’s new owner.