Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Art Of Making Friends

"Let's Meet at the Pond" 2009

Someone recently asked what inspires me and it didn’t take long to answer that it’s other people. Whether they produce films, build furniture, or lay tile, I am inspired by people who find joy in creating and share their creations with others. I had the pleasure to meet three such people when camping last weekend and seeing Phish at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado.

Prior to going to Phish I created a “Phish Phriends” painting made up of four 12x12 inch canvases that together make one 24x24 inch painting titled “Let’s Meet at the Pond.” I didn’t know at the time what I was going to do with the 4-piece painting. Perhaps I would sell it, maybe use it to barter and trade, or give it away to people I met and connected with. Either way, like a friendship necklace that you break and give the other half to someone else, the individual pieces would be separated from one another. As the weekend unfolded I met many creative people that were generous in spirit, but I decided to give three of the paintings away to the people that made the weekend the most enjoyable to honor the experiences we shared.

The first recipient was independent film producer, entrepreneur and conduit Brett Magdovitz of Memphis, Tennessee. It was a blast hanging out with Brett all weekend and I was so moved by his passion for his latest indie film endeavor “Cigarette Girl” that I had to give him one of the paintings in return. To learn more about Brett’s latest project go to

The next recipients were Thomas Banaszek and his life and business partner Jeanne Sullivan. They not only let me and a dozen or so other Phish Heads camp on their property in Kittredge for 4 nights, they feed us, kept us entertained, and repeatedly inquired as to whether or not our needs were met so I had to give them a painting as a token of my appreciation. Thom and Jeanne were incredible hosts and are the proprietors of Knot New Wood. For more information about eco-sensible custom design wood future check out their website at

I also felt moved to give one of the paintings to Red and his lovely lady Rachel who safely drove us to Red Rocks and back each night in their RV so that we didn’t have to deal with traffic and parking. They didn’t have tickets to see the shows, but patiently waited hours for us in the parking lot. Our trips back to the camp site were almost as much fun as the concerts themselves as we laughed and talked about the evenings’ events. When Red isn’t playing chauffer, he lays tile for a living.

To remember the amazing people I met at Phish I kept one of the painting pieces for myself – the lower, left corner. I had the time of my life and I will never forget the “phriends” I met. The painting serves as a visual reminder of some of the best memories I’ve created since moving to Colorado.

What will become of the 4 individual painting pieces? Will they ever be reunited? What adventures will they see? I wrote my email address on the inside of each quarter, so with any hope, the recipients will email me about their adventures and the 4-part painting.

So tell me, what inspires you? And more importantly, what have you inspired lately in someone else?

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