For those of you that are unfamiliar with George Rodrigue and his Blue Dog, he is a native of Acadiana – my home for my formative years. Legend has it that my father used to play cards with him a long time ago. Now, he’s an internationally known artist, with a gallery in Carmel.
I have a little history with Mr. Rodrigue, even though we’ve never met. It started – wow – 10 years ago, I think, on a trip to Quebec with my mother. We went up there after I moved back to Atlanta to teach. We flew up, stayed in Montreal for a while, then drove to Quebec – it was awesome! While I was shopping in Montreal, I came across a store selling large format Blue Dog calendars at a greatly discounted price. I think that they were $2.00 Canadian, which was like $1.25 USD at the time. I immediately bought all of them – I think there were 75 in all.
I had to cart them around until the end of our trip, and it was a bit of a pain getting them checked in on our flight home. I kept a couple for myself – one of which I cut up to make a bulletin board display. I gave one to my best friends, and I gave the rest to my father, who is a bit of a flea market/collector/dealer guy. I didn’t really make any arrangements for reimbursement for his selling them – I think because he had put me up and sent me back to college the year before (allowing me to get re-certified to teach).
One day, maybe 4 years later, I started to become familiar with E-Bay. I was an instant fan, of course, but didn’t do a whole lot of buying at the time. One night, I decided to do a search on the Blue Dog, and an auction for my very calendar came up. The high bid at that time was $275 and it probably sold for more. I was shocked – of course, I immediately put my calendar up – it was probably my first auction. I think I made over $300 for that calendar – that I paid $1.25 for!!! Of course, I was then full of “if only” thoughts and recriminations, pining for the other 74 calendars. But I got over it.
Then, I started making my little shrines, which were made from unpainted triptych frames I bought at Hobby Lobby. I had bought a box of note cards with the Blue Dog on them, and decided to frame one of them, painting and decorating the frame. In case anyone is wondering, what I did was fine. If you go online or to the French Quarter, people everywhere have bought the cards and matted or framed them for sale individually. I even went to the gallery in New Orleans and left one of my shrine frames for George. I never got a thank you, but that’s okay!
I also make shrines to Frida and to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and I am thinking of trying an Elvis shrine. I was forced to have frames made in China and bought 100 of them, which I am still using. I also picked up 30 of these awesome Gothic door triptychs at a junk store on Buford Highway. I was told that they were from a display at Neiman-Marcus. They are twice as big as my other shrine frames. I have only just started using those, because there were a few challenges I had to overcome – including adding a back panel for pictures. I have so far made two Guadalupe shrines with them, and I only have about 25 left.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to frame a page from a Blue Dog agenda (one of 12 that I bought on E-bay). It takes a bit longer to paint the frame, and I had to figure out how to decorate the outsides of the doors. The frames were part of a wall display and kind of opened backwards so that they could be hung with the decorative doors on the inside, opening out. I have put the new shrine on E-Bay, and hope that it sells well. To see it, check out my E-Bay auctions.
It is day 2 of testing. This year, ITBS testing is on the same week as Conference Week, so the schedule is really wacky. In addition to having conferences with my own advisement group, I am doing translation for other teachers. I will be so glad when the week is over. Tonight, we stay until 7PM. Tomorrow, we have a faculty meeting. It’s like we never leave this place!!!!