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Auction Heroes 

Wednesday, Jan 2 2002
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“Do we hear a hundred?”

“One-fifty!”

“One-fifty! Do we hear two?”

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“Two hundred!”

“Do we hear 250?

”Two-hundred going once . . . 200 going twice . . .

“Sold! ’Alien Love No. 1.‘ One 22- by 30-inch Iris print by COOP.

”Next up: ’meow meow eek eek,‘ Lot No. 9, 11- by 14-inch, cel vinyl acrylic on paper, by Carlos Ramos.“

Rabbits, mummy-girls, rodents, dragons, caterpillars, dragon slayers, tiki-tikis, Bigfoot, fairies, swamis, sirens, witches, axes, rocket ships, Bahooka, monkeys, apes, ghosts, Bambi, more monkeys, Don Quixote, Venus, kittens in space, a tree of death, a flying nymph, a ”hole in the bottom of the sea,“ poisonous plants, still more monkeys, cobras, Godzilla, Frankenstein, extraterrestrials, krakens, princesses in need of saving, porn stars in need of loving, Bruce Lee and frisky devils and that’s not all: Welcome to the Burning Brush Art Auction.

The Story

Once upon a time, Tim Biskup -- illustrator and painter of strange, wonderful, blobby creatures -- went to a party, hung up some art, and at the end of the evening auctioned it off to the highest bidder. Inspiration! Frustrated with the gallery scene, yet spurred by a love of painting and a desire to see fellow artists justly compensated for their work, Biskup started the Burning Brush Art Auctions. Auctions are held live twice a year and are focused around themes, such as ”The Future“ or ”Cabin Fever.“ Next year‘s theme is ”Playing With Fire -- Memories of Childhood.“ To those artists who wrack their brains struggling to set a price for their art, Biskup says, ”Let the market decide.“

The Artists

On the auction block: original work by illustrators, painters, tattoo artists and animators the likes of Biskup, COOP, Shag, Glenn Barr, Sunny Buick, Craig McCracken, Dan Collins, Lynne Naylor, Carlos Ramos, Calef Brown and Gary Baseman. Burning Brush artists are a mix of current and soon-to-be heavyweights in the illustration and animation industries, alongside some of the hippest representatives of the underground crowd. Think Juxtapoz and hot rods. Think Powerpuff Girls and Ren and Stimpy. Think odd, yet friendly. Savage, yet funny. Freaky, but groovy.

The Pot of Gold

A 7-inch-by-9-inch vampire bat in gouache on paper for $86.60? A 10-inch cat-girl space explorer in cel vinyl acrylic paint on glass for $1,082? While a few pieces have gone for $35 and $85, the average prices are around the $250 mark. Depending on the aggressiveness of the crowd, bids can creep along at $5 increments or race forward a hundred bucks at a time. The highest price paid at auction so far? $1,732 for Shag’s tiki-inspired ”Crandall Meets His Match.“ Bring it on, big spender, and take that baby home.

Burning Brush Art Auctions happen twice yearly; the next auction is in May 2002, venue to be determined. For more info, updates, or to submit artwork for consideration or view art from previous shows, visit www.burning brush.com.

For more auction action, try the Comic Art Collective. Like Burning Brush sales, full proceeds from CAC go directly to the artists: www.comic artcollective.com.

Reach the writer at galimurung@laweekly.com

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