Fall River artist Rene Gagnon auctions painting for Barstool Sports fund
FALL RIVER – Artist Rene Gagnon uses his talents to give small businesses affected by COVID-19 the financial relief they need.
Gagnon’s painting by Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy will be auctioned until midnight on December 31st. The highest bidder receives the painting, and all money raised through the bid goes to Barstool Sports’ fundraiser, The Barstool Fund.
Ironically, Gagnon said he started Portnoy’s 30-by-40 mixed-media painting titled “Stocks Only Go Up” before the Barstool Fund launched. “I only recently started following Dave Portnoy’s videos and I thought he was a character. As an artist, I never really got into Barstool Sports, ”he said. “He did the fundraiser about halfway through the play and I thought that was perfect. I will do my part … I have a lot of artificial currency. “
As of Tuesday, the highest bid ever direct message sent to Gagnon was $ 17,000. Gagnon said he initially placed multiple bids in the $ 1,000 range, then the $ 3,000, $ 5,000, etc. increased. After the bid ends at midnight on December 31st, Gagnon will contact the highest bidder on January 1st.
According to the Barstool Sports website, the Barstool Fund raised more than $ 9 million as of Tuesday lunchtime and helped 38 companies. The fundraiser statistics are updated every five minutes. In addition to restaurants, bars and taverns, the recipients also include a yoga studio, a massage therapy practice and a concession company for carnival. Companies in need of support can apply through the Barstool Fund.
Gagnon’s post about the painting’s auction received a nod from Portnoy himself, who replied, “This is wild” on his Twitter account @stoolpresidente.
After that, bid prices rose faster, Gagnon said.
Gagnon was one of several artists who worked in a former mill on West Street that is now a cannabis store. When the building was sold, Gagnon and the other artists had to move their studios within a few months, which resulted in his work being delayed by several months. Now he works in a home studio in his garage.
The mixed media painting “Stocks Only Go Up” is one of Gagnon’s “Jagged Tears” series. On site, his best-known piece Jagged Tears is the mural on the side of Alexandra’s Bridal in South Main Street, which he created as part of the FABRIC Arts Festival in 2019. Traditionally his “Jagged Tears” series features old Hollywood stars, but lately he’s been joining celebrities like Portnoy and a former college student who is now a rap artist in LA.
Unlike other artists, Gagnon said he had to take inspiration from a specific image in his artwork, rather than receiving commissions, to create paintings based on specific people or images. In addition, he said he worked in multiple styles of work and not one particular style. “I am not that person. The idea for that is just miserable for me, ”he said, adding that he sees himself as an artist who works more like Damien Hurst or Jeff Koons, both of whom present completely new styles with every major gallery show.
Gagnon, a graphics teacher at BMC Durfee High School, said he has about 10 different works that he revisits from time to time to add to those series. “What also happens is that I discover working bodies as I look back at these different series of work,” he said.
His work has been shown in galleries in New York and Los Angeles. Not only was Gagnon driven into helping small businesses through his art, but he said he was impressed by the stories he saw about the distress in the restaurant amid COVID-19. He also personally has friends in New York and LA who have lost their jobs in the hard-hit restaurant industry due to the pandemic shutdowns. “Certain industries have really been slammed,” he said. “Regardless of how much the painting costs, I was able to donate through my art.”
Regarding the possibility of Portnoy buying the painting, Gagnon said, “Anything is possible.”
To bid on Gagnon’s painting, send him a direct message on Twitter @renegagnon. Instagram Rene Gagnon or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/renegagnonfineart.