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The History of the #Abstraction

You hired a DJ. Most peoples mental conception of a DJ is they show up, play music and make people dance...and many do just that, sometimes not even the dancing part. There's just got be more. Some entertainers, like myself, also tell love stories, use voice recordings, create scripts, timelines and work closely with the photographer to deliver more than just music. Even after all the dancing is over, most DJs are still not giving the couple anything they can "keep" except for memories. I have often asked folks who were married anywhere from 3-10+ years ago, "Who did you use for a DJ?" Their reply, more often than not, "I cannot remember." Following my desire to produce better weddings and events which are more personalized, and give my friends a gift to keep on their wedding day they will never forget, I came up with the #Abstraction. Most of the ones I have done are hanging on my friends walls in their houses and everytime they see it, they think of me. That warms my heart!

History: In late spring 2014 I was meeting with one of my friends (my clients are my friends, I love them like a friend) and she was telling me about an idea she saw on Pinterest where there was a canvas mounted on a board that had small balloons attached to the top of it filled with colors of paint. The guests would throw darts at them during cocktail hour and the paint would splatter and run down the canvas. She was having an outdoor wedding and could easily do this on a lawn with a tarp, but for me to try this in a banquet house would be out of the question. We had a team meeting and discussed some other options. Ultimately, we decided on brushes and controlling the paint better, using smaller canvases also, but much more personalized as you will see as you read on. Well my friend Kortney did end up doing hers at her wedding and used paint in squirt guns/spray bottles which actually made a pretty cool Abstraction. Here it is, truly a work of art to be cherished forever...and that's a HUGE one too!

So we had to try this concept out, but we started in June with our first one and her wedding was in September, plus, I had to change the idea to make it our own. We decided as I mentioned on brushes, and also put a picture under a piece of glass glued to the canvas...had to make it more personal. The first one we did was for two of our employees birthdays. Here it is...pretty basic.

Alright, a bit messy but still cool, and we only had about 6 of us making it so not too much creativity. I had to try this at a wedding next. I got one of my clients to allow me to "test drive" it. I thought for sure it would be awesome. I learned two lessons on this attempt: Don't leave the paint out for people to keep adding and use smaller brushes. We went with a photo under glass again that included a picture their photographer had made for them and added the other vendors from the Adirondack-Albany Wedding Association who serviced their wedding on the sides. Here's wat it looked like when we brought it in. The second picture is the completed version.

So yes, control the paint better, smaller brushes and we need some new elements aside from just a picture under glass because they cannot always be the same. The next run was a graduation party for my dear friend Emily whose sweet 16 I did just two years before. This one we used a raised letter and tapeline. The results are pretty neat! More people contributed, it was engaging and fun, and came out great! The first picture is how it arrived, second one is completed before we removed the tape line and the third is after we removed the tape. Last pic is guests working on the #Abstraction during the first hour of the party. (normally, at a wedding or event, we would do this during cocktail hour, let it dry for a few and present it during dinner to the couple. Use water based paint, it sets up very fast and washes off things too if a mishap happens.)

Awesome, so we're on to something now...we did a few more from my brother and his wife at their holiday party, and another for a DJ friend of mine Mike Reilly and his wife at one of their barbecues last summer as well. They came out pretty cool too and people are enjoying making them!

I felt confident enough not only that this would be a cool idea, but I had to share it with other DJs around the country so I decided to enter it in the DJ of the Year-Best New Game category at DJ Times annual DJ Expo in Atlantic City in August of 2014. (I had won best new game before in the event in 2011 for my game "Dude looks like a lady," so I thought why not.) If nothing else, I can maybe touch one persons life enough to want to do it for their clients, it's a win! I chose to do four different styles representing the ones I had done up to this point. One for Sean Big Daddy McKee my dear friend and overall inspirational monster, one for Mike Walter's company Elite Entertainment who hosts the competition each year, third for DJ Times Magazine and the last for Darryl "Jake" Jacobsen, who hosts the game seminar each year and continues to spread knowledge of new games and interaction to DJs all around the country. Jake also allowed me to use his game seminar at the convention as my "cocktail hour" to get my abstractions started. I revealed them all on Wednesday night at the competition, and even though I did not win, I know I gave not only a great idea to others, but, a nice gift of appreciation to some wonderful entertainers who truly deserved it. :-) Here they are along with a shot of folks making them the day before and one of me presenting them during the competition.

After that, I have continued to provide these #Abstractions for my Signature clients who have chose them in their planning when supplies are available. I keep trying to come up with new ideas and combinations of the tape line, raised letters, pictures and other things. It's a never ending process of creativity and passion to not only provide more than music, but to touch as many lives as I can and create something special for my friends. I hope you will try this sometime too. Here's the latest creations from the #Abstraction tables. Many thanks to all who contributed to them! Marky loves you!

Lisa & Mike's canvas during the creation phase in our office.

Lisa & Mike's #abstraction sitting on their gift table after it's completion and presentation.

Making of Dave & Renee's guest art during cocktail hour.

Dave & Renee's completed #Abstraction.

My loves Leah & Darrius got this gift from me on their wedding day.

Working on Rebecca & Josh's guest art during cocktail hour.

Rebecca & Josh, with the inset picture hidden during creation.

This is how we started Tyler & Heather's guest art on their wedding day.

Tyler & Heathers final #Abstraction. Bright and colorful!

AAWA members working on our own #Abstraction during a mixer.

The completed AAWA #Abstraction. It is displayed in our office.

Kalyn & Bob had an 8 x 12 photo in the middle.

Beginning of Meg and Andrew's guest art the day of their wedding.

Megan & Andrew had tape lines and raised last name letter.

Jenny & Eric had raised letters and a nice mix of color.

Elizabeth & Matthew had a tape line and inset picture.

Christina & Bruce had my first wedding date numbers with a picture from their engagement shoot with their photographer, Keith Hitlin Photography.

Mikayla & Sean had a Gatsby themed wedding, I added that touch for them with the tape line.

This is the beginning of Amy & Dave's for this weekend! Can't wait to see them! <3

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