Giving back and not giving up 

Artist Eric Waugh energizes Dennehy Foundation fundraiser with live painting performance to music of Fabulous George and the Zodiacs

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Waugh is another bright light for many, lending his paintbrush to countless charities, primarily catering to children. His works have raised more than half a million dollars for Starlight Children’s Foundation and Camp Heartland, alone an organization lending support to children inflicted or affected by AIDS.

Not only is Waugh’s artwork sought out by buyers around the globe, but audiences come to see him work as well. In addition to his studio collection, Waugh paints live to music, letting the music guide his brush, which infuses an energy and vitality into his colourful, bold and graphic works.

Waugh first began his live art practice three years ago, after art agent Jim Carter invited Waugh to paint live to a jazz band.

“He had been working with another artist, but the artist passed away of a heart attack,” Waugh recounted. “It was after one of his performances, but (Jim) didn’t tell me that at the time.”

From the small dive of Mama Maies Louisiana Kitchen in Atlanta, Waugh took his talent to larger stages, which included the likes of Tony Bennett, Nelly Furtado, the Doobie Brothers, countless orchestras and ensembles. Waugh’s most recent performance art was a five by nine foot painting with the Rochester Philharmonic Choir, done within an hour and with more than 40,000 people looking on. The painting also illustrated all 60-plus musicians.

Months of planning went into the work before the blank canvas was approached.

With Fabulous George and the Zodiacs boasting a five-person band, Waugh looks forward to creating a more spontaneous piece of art.

Performance art is only half of Waugh’s creative expression. The Guinness Book of World Records holder for the Largest Painting on Canvas also creates artwork in the privacy of his studio, where he has the time to implement greater detail into his works.

“When painting live, I am not putting everything I would do in a studio,” he said. “It is a totally different look. But there is still the same feel when you look at it. You can’t put as much texture into the piece, but on the plus side there is a lot of energy behind the painting because I am going to the beat and tempo of the music… I found (performance art) made my studio paintings more colourful. Usually when I paint live, I put a lot of colour in it. I am trying to project what I am doing to the back row, so I make it a little bolder and more colourful. I think that came over into the studio work as well.”

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