Patron’s “Simply Perfect” Art Project makes Headlines

By December 10, 2011 News No Comments

Patron Promotion Supports Local Artists

EVENT SNAPSHOT 12.05.11 3:56 PM

Patron’s “Simply Perfect” Art Project is taking place at 50 East Chicago Ave. through December 31. Tied to the spirit company’s “Eliminate Regifting” ad campaign, the pop-up promotion lets emerging local artists create pieces in the storefront space as holiday shoppers look on.

The activation is taking place in a Chicago Avenue storefront space.

The activation is taking place in a Chicago Avenue storefront space. Photo: Peter Barreras/AP Images for Patrón Spirits

The artists’ creations will feed an online art auction that passersby can access by scanning a QR code on the storefront’s window. Consumers then bid on items, and all proceeds benefit the Chicago Artists’ Coalition. The idea is that the donation, or generosity in general, is an offering that can’t be re-gifted.

There is, however, a little something extra in it for the artist whose work receives the highest bid: That individual will get exposure in a 2012 print advertisement for Patrón. The activation began on November 15 and is taking place simultaneously in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.

—Jenny Berg

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Patron Project 2011 Youtube Channel

The Patrón “Simply Perfect” Art Project 2011 will showcase live, working art studios that offer emerging artists the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind works of art for auction in support of four local organizations through the holiday season in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Click here to keep up with the Patron Project 2011 Artists




Dennis McCarthy: Colorful collaboration of wheels, paws

By Dennis McCarthy, Daily News Columnist

Posted: 12/07/2011 09:42:54 PM PST

Updated: 12/07/2011 09:45:47 PM PST

Tommy Hollenstein paints with his wheelchair at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. Hollenstein will be painting in the window-front studio from 3-10 p.m through Dec. 12. (Michael Owen Baker/Daily News Staff Photographer)

It was opening night Tuesday for the classiest, most interesting show on Hollywood Boulevard this holiday season.

Wheelchair artist Tommy Hollenstein and his service dog, Hiley.

They’ve been booked into the window room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel exclusively for six nights, so don’t miss them.

It was standing room only opening night, which makes sense since there are no seats to buy for this free show.

Just sidewalk and a big picture window to look through to watch Tommy make his wheelchair sing — spinning and swerving it across a big canvas — its wheels covered in vivid, colorful paint.

When the Patron Spirits Co. decided to showcase emerging, creative artists at work in vacant storefront windows in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Tommy was the guy the Los Angeles Art Association chose to represent our city.

“We wanted someone with personality and powerful stories to tell, and that’s Tommy,” says Peter Mays, director of the association.

He’s got that right. This 50-year-old Canoga Park man is all personality and power.

Tommy was only 24 when he broke his neck in 1985 in a mountain biking accident, leaving him a quadriplegic. He got a service dog named Weaver that was trained to carry out 89 commands.

After 13 years together, the Labrador retriever added one more on his own — inspiring his master in the wheelchair to reach back to a passion he thought was lost forever.

Tommy couldn’t paint with his hands anymore, but what about with his wheelchair?

“Weaver was 15 by then and I knew we wouldn’t have much more time together,” he said in a 2005 interview.

“I knew I had to find something special to remember him by, something he and I did together that no one else had ever done.”

They became painting partners, just the two of them on canvas. Tommy and Weaver. Wheels and paws.

Friends laid out two big canvases in Tommy’s garage, and he spilled some colors — grays and reds — on a big area of it.

Weaver sniffed around it. He wasn’t so sure about this. But when Tommy inched his wheelchair onto the canvas, Weaver wasn’t about to be left behind.

Wheels and paws was born, creating art together that within two years would be hanging in a few galleries in the Valley.

After Weaver died at 15-1/2, a devastated Tommy had to carry on alone. Hiley, his service dog for the last 12 years, doesn’t have Weaver’s artistic talent, but his paws manage to find their way into many of Tommy’s pieces these days.

With an aide covering his wheelchair tires in paint on opening night Tuesday, Tommy rolled onto a fresh canvas and began spinning and swerving 20 layers of paint he will apply over six days.

“You’ll be able to see all the colors, layers through layers,” Tommy says. “Hiley’s paw prints will be in there somewhere.”

Dozens of people walking down Hollywood Boulevard on Tuesday stopped to watch this talented artist at work. They knocked on the window and gave him the thumbs up sign.

“They all had these surprised looks on their faces,” Tommy said Wednesday. “They’d never seen anyone painting with tires.

“I even had one man in a wheelchair stop and watch me for over 15 minutes. He just sat there shaking his head.”

When it’s completed, the canvas will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to the nonprofit L.A. Art Association to help other emerging artists.

Tommy will be painting from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day through Monday in the main window at the Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd.

Trust me. It’s the best holiday show on Hollywood Boulevard.

Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

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Los Angeles Daily News