Living the Dream, Sharing the Stage with Madonna
I still can’t really believe it, but one of my paintings made it into the fan video that plays in the background during Madonna’s solo performance of the song Rebel Heart on her current world tour.
This for me, is pretty much one of those priceless moments I will never forget. And it all unfolded in such a surreal and unbelievable way, that I thought I should write it all down, just so it can enter the world and exist beyond more than just my own personal experience. I mean, this is what the interwebs is all about anyway, right?
Little back story for you, in case you don’t know me that well. I have loved Madonna since I was eleven. I spent a good 2 decades painting many, many portraits of her, and I still look towards Madonna as a great source of light and inspiration.
Circling back around to Rebel Heart, I quietly submitted some of my old paintings to an open call from Madonna’s Instagram page for fan art. I didn’t tell anyone (except for my partner, Nancie) that I had even submitted, thinking surely it was a long shot that any of my art would actually be selected. Months earlier, I had already purchased our VIP tickets to 3 shows (in Manhattan, Brooklyn & Atlanta), so by the time this fan art contest came up, I was pretty jazzed for the opportunity, but trying not to have any expectations.
When we finally saw Madonna the first night at Madison Square Garden in New York, I was sure we would have to watch our cellphone video playback later in the hotel room to hunt for any trace of my artwork. Until of course, we nearly fell over from elation and utter shock from seeing one of my paintings enlarged to fill the entire screen behind Madonna, and then split into smaller & smaller quadrants. This kinda blew my mind, and mere words could never really describe the feeling of seeing my artwork on stage with Madonna. The woman who I have loved and admired for so many years, and referred to as my own personal Jesus. I mean #holyshitballs, you really can’t NOT see it! It wasn’t until seeing it for the second time in Brooklyn at Barclays Center that I really felt the gravity of what was happening to me. As I watched from about the second row of the middle cross section of the stage, and Madonna started talking about the law of attraction. That’s what really got me thinking, that 3 days earlier, I first saw my painting on stage with Madonna. Then, the following morning, I learned that I had won 3 categories in the Creative Loafing Best of Atlanta 2015 Reader’s Poll. Which was a pretty overwhelming feeling on it’s own, but coupled with having just seen Madonna sing Rebel Heart in front of an image that I painted!?! There really just are no words for how I was feeling, other than I guess it just all seamed so surreal. How was it possible that so much positive energy could be converging for me, all at once, over this oddly incredible 24 hours? I didn’t understand it until 3 days later, when Madonna herself stated the obvious for me in Brooklyn.
I set this in motion, without even knowing, back in April when I went to one of Nancie’s vision board workshops. Never mind that I hold a degree in Visual Communications, and make a living in the visual arts, but not once have I ever made a vision board in my life (not counting my childhood bedroom/shrine). I was mostly at the workshop to support Nancie (who is an amazing Life Coach), in case you’re ever in need. Anyway, I came prepared and brought my own magazines, since I knew no matter what my vision board was going to end up looking like, at minimum it had to include 3 things I feel passionately about: Madonna, Miso Puggie and my photography. Here’s how my vision board turned out, and here are the facts, as it relates to those magical 24 hours in September of 2015:
1) We are in New York
2) We drove 14 hours so Miso Puggie could come with us
3) We learn about the Best of Atlanta 2015 Readers Poll wins in 3 categories (best street photographer, fine art photographer & Instagram artist)
4) We get to see Madonna from the 3rd row
5) My artwork is actually on stage, with Madonna
6) Mind blown, somebody pinch me