Get Your Own Painted Piano

Since discovering Pinterest, I’ve made a lot of bad decisions. For starters, I tried to curl my hair with a sock. (Check out the sock bun. It doesn’t work for me.) I also decided to take my perfectly maintained upright piano from my childhood, sand it down, and paint it yellow. I can’t draw a stick figure. I don’t know why I thought I could paint a piano. Next time, I’m just going to pay someone else to do it. Or. I could go to Art Con Saturday and pick up the Pianoctpus, painted by artist Kevin Obregon. He blows my piano out of the water. So I sent him a few questions to see how he did it. Jump to see what he says about his love of the octopus, painting a piano seen as blasphemy, and the type of person he thinks will bid on it.

Q: Where did you get the idea to: 1. paint a piano? and 2. paint it with an octopus?

A: When we were initially planning this years’ Art Con, it had coincided with the opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge, and I wanted to do something as a neat commemorative to cars, so I had talked with some people at Dallas Can! Academy about the possibility of having a car donated to Art Con where in turn I would paint it up and auction it off. I wanted something big and somewhat a centerpiece that could literally be driven across the bridge. When the opening was postponed, though, we decided to scratch that idea. Plus, we moved the date from mid-October to the second week in November. However, once we found our beneficiary for this year, Musical Angels, we decided to have something musical as our centerpiece and Musical Angels was kind enough to donate a piano to be painted up.
In regards to the Octopus as the subject, I had been on a jag painting Octopuses since 2009, when I painted a mural called “Octopop” (a playful jab at OctoMom) here in the OC, which at the time was decided upon because I was looking for something cool that started with “OC” and when I came upon the Octopus idea, I fell in love with the totemic aspects of what an Octopus represents. It’s a fascinating totem, actually. It has many facets to it, but the one I most glommed onto was the Octopus represents “utilizing all your resources”—which given the amount of artists and mom and pop shops in OC, thought was particularly apropos.

Q: Have you painted pianos before? If so, what have you done to them?

A: No, this is my first and probably won’t be my last, heh-heh.

Q: Where do you see this piano going? (What kind of person do you think will bid on it? I love it, but you do have to be a little brave to have an octopus piano in your living room.)

A: This can be in anyone’s home, frankly. Obviously, someone with imagination and a sense of humor and adventure! Not only does it play (it does need tuning), but it’s a work of art, conversation piece, and most likely doesn’t go with your sofa. (heh-heh)

Q: Do you have any tips for painting a piano?

A: Cover the keys. Cover the strings. Anything goes.

Q: What do you say to those who think it’s blasphemy to paint a piano? (And that it will mess up the tone, etc.?)

A: Well as a percussionist (and the piano is a percussion instrument), if this were a concert piano, yes, I would believe that to be somewhat blasphemous. But any good musician can make a sub-par instrument sound good. In this case, this is a one-of-a-kind work of art/instrument that happens to be playable. Whether you love sculpture, paintings, or music in your room, this piece is a keeper and I believe it can draw players and non-players into plinking on it. I know if I had to take piano lessons and had the “Pianoctopus” to play on, I wouldn’t skip a lesson.