by Dana Louise Kirkpatrick
From Tim Hutton's red barn in Patterson, NY., on the throwback metro north it is an hour and twenty minutes to Grand Central. From Lyn and Sam Schwab's refined, high brow, blow your mind collection on the upper west, it is the F train straight down to my bare bones studio 6th + Spring. From LAFCO's warehouse where I nail canvas into the concrete walls and borrow house paint it is 3011 miles to Los Angeles, California.
The subway fare is $2.50 a pop and I hadn't sold in weeks so was entering through the exit, kissing MTAngels every time. My converse high tops are wrapped in gorilla tape and covered in paint. On the night train back to Hutton's rocking slightly and hearing Hendrix, I wondered why I haven't quit yet. Looking down at a hand-me-down blackberry making sure it wasn't impossible to hit the connecting train the red light blinked slow:
Flea. The king of my heart that night would days later pay my way back to the City of Angeles. It was time, once again to hustle up some good and raise coin for his music school. My duty and privilege. Silverlake Conservatory of Music (no 'the' same as no 'the' before Red Hot Chili Peppers) is the home I never had and the family I'll always fight for. Founded in 2001 by Flea and his not by blood brother Tree, SCM as we've tagged it facilitates basic music education at a low-cost for the youth of Los Angeles. If a child cannot afford to study, they receive a scholarship and an instrument. Period. Walk in the door at 3920 Sunset Boulevard and you'll be cold clocked by LOVE.
The dream is big. To purchase a neighboring building on Hollywood Blvd expanding the Conservatory's breadth and locking in its' permanence. Truth be told, when its all said and done the project will run close to 10 million bucks. Sitting in the 8am sun at Cora's in Santa Monica, Flea, Anthony and I all heard Steve Bing when he said with his trademark fast certainty- "...buy the building, raise the funds later....people need to see first." He is right.
Massive white art walls were erected by our beloved and brilliant friend Gareth Kantner whose vision matches his fire without fail. Takashi Murakami sent a portrait of Flea in a Fort Knox tight crate plastered with Japanese anime ‘fragile stickers’. The notoriously meticulous artist used Gus Van Sant’s photo of Flea clad in a ‘fuck you I don’t care about you’ tee as a floating foreground played over trademark pop daisies painted in platinum dust. Take it to the bank.
Shepard Fairey's Bad Brain's redo was our eastside punk wink hanging alongside Patti Smith's photograph of Flea. Patti's work regardless of medium- fluid, poetic brilliance. Ed Ruscha's oversized limited edition, 'On The Road' (courtesy of Gagosian Gallery) carried the weight of Kerouac's words and went home with Owen Wilson. Owen's old boy cattle dog Garcia made my night with his hustler nonchalance. Damien Hirst's 2 bass guitars crossed the pond and sold high, each housed in rock hard, high shine cases splattered with matching pallets. He also managed to deliver a massive spot painting to Flea's back door as a birthday gift without blowing it.
Cold War Kid's Matt Maust, printed up a work so fine that Tony Hawk beat out the competition (what else is new) with the winning bid. Sage Vaughn rained his butterflies down in steady pastels but if you look closely they will back hand you. Douglas Kirkland's John Lennon portrait sourced by powerhouse beauty Susan Wiesner stared back, Lennon's prophetic eyes full of his brave peace dare; "war is over if we want it". LA institution Gary Leonard donated not one but two photographs- one a portrait of Vin Scully holding a bobble head baring his likeness with a rainbow swooping across dodger field. Josh Klinghoffer (RHCP) loaded this and the Pettibon ballplayer into his truck just after midnight.
No one fell in the pool.
We raised close to $650,000.00 in a matter of hours.
Drops fill buckets and music unites.
I'm back on the C train covered in paint.
Silverlake Conservatory of Music I love you.
See how you can help Silverlake Conservatory of Music here.