Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Buddha 12, Kulkin 0

"Chalk It Up 2!" author Joey Kulkin. Buy his books HERE
(Photo by Art Gallery Dude)

BENNINGTON -- The FedEx guy delivered both boxes yesterday, one atop the other.

Excitement filled Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery because inside the boxes was new stuff. The possibilities! Indeed as someone once declared with a bowling ball in his hand and lust in his voice, "To the most beautiful moment in life, better than a deed, better than a memory, the moment ... of anticipation!"

The big box contained packing peanuts galore and a ton of bubble, and wrapped in all that bubble were 14 Buddha head candles ...

They are made from 100 percent pure beeswax, so they burn for hours and hours and emit a scent of honey. They're colored with aniline dyes. The two big Buddha heads burn 50 hours. Fiddlehead customers usually snatch 'em up soon as they arrive.

The other box was small and contained two copies of this ...

"Chalk It Up 2!" is the second in Kulkin's series from Fiddlehead's Graffiti Vault. During the summer Fiddlehead's manager urged the owner to create a graffiti wall somewhere in the gallery but Joel Lentzner, who graduated from Bennington College, took the idea one further when he transformed the Animation Vault into the Graffiti Vault by painting the walls into chalkboards and inviting the world to showcase its skills.

Since the Graffiti Vault became a reality in October 2012, hundreds of gallery-goers have chalked it up. Kulkin said the idea for Chalk It Up! the book sprung to life during the first week after he noticed everyone emerging from the Graffiti Vault with big smiles. Their fingers were always covered in chalk. He began photographing the artistas next to their work and one thing leads to another ... and Chalk It Up 2! arrived yesterday.

Chalk It Up! has sold 17 copies. Kulkin said he doesn't expect to sell a single copy of CIU2!

"Coffee table books aren't popular anymore," he told Art Gallery Dude yesterday.

AGD asked Kulkin why he published Chalk It Up 2! and has begun Chalk It Up 3!

"Because," he answered, "Pain is a part of it all."

A part of what?

"Love. Now stop asking stupid fucking questions, douchebag."

Kulkin said he added a new feature to Chalk It Up 2! -- QR codes that lead to fun and quirky stories of some of the subjects in the book. Those stories are on his blog The Incredible Kulk.

"I figured readers could appreciate the pictures in the book in one hand then get the backstory on their smartphones in the other hand," Kulkin said. "It's groundbreaking publishing, really."

When AGD reached Kulkin this morning and told him that 12 Buddha candles had sold within 45 minutes of arrival and that Chalk It Up 2! hadn't registered a sale, he said "Well good for Mr. Buddha head candle. He can go burn in peace for all I care."

UPDATE (3/22): Kulkin reported that metrics for Chalk It Up 2! recorded 5 sales.

Here are photos that will appear in Chalk It Up 3!

The Mount Anthony Six

One of them is Alexis Menneto