READ ME first please...
A Kickstarter has been LAUNCHED to bring back PonderMonster to the Gorge for the 3rd time for 2016!
After you read this blog, super duper pretty please take the time to take a look and consider contributing to what I LOVE to do!
Kickstarter Link: https://goo.gl/i7Rvim
This is my video for Kickstarter that takes you on a PonderMonster treasure hunt from start to finish!
EVERY pledge gets a piece of art from PonderMonster, and all pledges are entered to WIN various one of a kind sketches until time runs out!
These prints from the Gorge 2015 are finally available, but ONLY via Kickstarter!
Signed and numbered (run of 41)
-"Big Eyed Fish"
-"Let You Down"
Moving on... Strap in for this HUGE bonus adventure, because this post is part TWO of the DMB Gorge treasure hunt by PonderMonster!
Also, before you continue, join in on future art drop treasure hunts that can take place all over the world by following PonderMonster on these links: Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
THIS IS THE STORY about how 9 paintings were hidden over the course of 5 days, found by 9 completely different people who have NEVER met, given the task to FIND each other, REASSEMBLE the puzzle AND take a photo together (with the COMPLETED piece) within the last 24-hours of Labor Dave Weekend!!
In other words... "This sh*t just got real."
Leading up to what is essentially Mecca for Dave fans, the PonderMonster treasure hunt for the Gorge 2015 had to be special. Always flooded with ideas and inspiration for various paintings based on a particular dMb song, there is one group of songs that continue to baffle the mind.
They all have their own special meaning, and they can't be grouped together for any other reason other than their titles are named after numbers. Seven (7), 27, 34, 36, 40 & 41.
Now, to those who aren't Dave fans, one might imagine that naming songs after numbers is just lazy. Well, there's not much time to make a case against that, but they DO all makes sense and are all unique to the reasons why they were chosen to be the number that has been assigned for each.
Each and every numbered song has a special place in everyone's heart for various reasons. There were a number of times that an idea for a painting was sketched out for "41" in particular, but the feeling of the lyrics could not be interpreted the way it was envisioned to convey what the song means to me... yet. There are hopes to still create a painting for "41".
Before the conclusion to create a puzzle was made, brainstormings sessions took place. First, thoughts on what number songs there actually are, and the question of doing something like 34 AND a 34 came up, and how this could possibly be interesting enough to create excitement for all of YOU beautiful people. Admittedly, a painting with only a number on it is probably not that exciting. So the brainstorming continued. How can they be numbers, PonderMonster-style, and dMb related?
...and the octothorp ties it all together. (Click on the word, I'll wait)
Welcome back! Learn something? Hope so.
From Sketch to Painting
The blank canvases...
Working diligently to make it perfect...
The finished product!!!
Comprised of 6 numbers, 3 beautiful letters, and all tied together by one gigantic octothorp.
Amazing how many reasons there are to love this "#" symbol. Not only is it a huge number sign for these numbered songs, an octothorpe for all you word nerds, or a pound sign for those who remember touchtone phones... it also represents the hashtag that PonderMonster lives by!
So what am I going to do with this thing? Hide it all at once? Hide each piece individually? Would someone really just want a "b" or a "34"? How are they going to take the best picture for others to understand what they have just stumbled upon.
Another epiphany! What if they all had to find each other to put the puzzle back together?!
As a huge Zelda fanatic, this idea somewhat came from the hunt to track down and rebuild the Tri-Force to unleash its true powers against evil. Knowledge, Courage and Power of course...
Making it Happen
Some things left to skill, some things left to past experience, some things left to blind faith. The paintings all had to be hidden in a time frame where they could all be found, posted, and leave enough time for each person to find each other. Got it. Hide 3 paintings everyday Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. This gives the finders both Saturday and Sunday to find a time to get together and make this epic photo come together.
The most important key to making this successful will HAVE to be the letter. So after hours of perfecting my words, this is what accompanied the first set of paintings.
That's right. All 3 paintings spelling out "dMb" were dropped at once, but we all know that "With great power... comes great responsibility." (Had to finish that quote for all those who aren't as nerdy as some of us) Besides, who wants just a "d" or "b"? The "M" maybe, but this was for sure the best option.
This letter has it all to get the ball rolling. It says what it is, who I am, what to do with it, and where it belongs in the puzzle as a whole. The next letter I added an extra piece of motivation of, "The world is watching" to help show the seriousness and magnitude of what they have just found.
The First Drop
Before we rolled into Wildhorse Campground on Wednesday morning, we pulled over off of Exit 143 to post the first round of paintings! Yep. You know EXACTLY where this is don't you?
"dMb" hiding spot. The post: "Mwahahahahaha!!! Let's start this sh*t off properly. The treasure hunt has begun! Welcome home everyone."
With this set in place, the help of a little velcro and a kiss to the wind for luck, this journey has begun...
Found by some homegrown (CO) heroes and a familiar face! Friends from back home ended up getting there not long after this was posted. Their camp ended up being almost right next to us at Wildhorse Campground, and their excitement to have made this find was so awesome to witness! It sounded like they almost rolled their car pulling over so fast to snag the paintings!
However, they KNEW the task at hand, and got down to business!
This set the tone for the adventure that would ensue to complete this seemingly daunting task. They were the most motivated individuals I had ever come across. Although they came to me from time to time for clues or help, all I could do was put up my hands and say, "Sorry, it's no longer my responsibility. Go forth and make this happen, and remember... the world is watching."
Cool. Great start! Which one should I do next? Let's start low and work our way up to "41".
The hiding spot. The post: "Well, HELLO ToupsTown! 7 wanted to come play..."
Hiding spot. The post: "Don't worry... I'm making my way to you guys next. Who's ready for me?" (Referring to trying to hide paintings in other camp areas, but I was unsuccessful. Shut down by tight security... which I can appreciate, but still.)
Hiding spot. The post: "#34 painting dropped. So if you decide to take an evening stroll tonight through the parking lots on the road to will call... look for vine row 34."
Hiding spot. The post: "Safety first."
Found! (However the photo of the finder was NOT... it was, however, recently sent to me from the last blog post from the finder but I've spent WAY too long trying to find it while writing this and I just need to get it done and stop being frustrated. If I come across it, I'll post it.)
Hiding spot. The post: "Okay everyone. To shake things up, this whole last set is going to be rather random. Still possible to hunt down, just more difficult and designed for more random action!"
This, still, is the first and only post (complete with hashtag) from the finder... Congratulations! We all have a soft spot for Honey Buckets, us Gorge goers, don't we?
Hiding spot. The post: "You will go in this way, and you'll find your own way out... Walking from general camping."
All paintings accounted for! Now...
The Task at Hand
Now begins the final phase to the PonderMonster puzzle challenge! Come together as a group to take a photo of all the finders holding the pieces together to recreate the whole puzzle.
The 3 fabulous finders from day one have been on a focused rampage from the beginning, absolutely DETERMINED to make this happen.
I just so happened to walk by their camp to find that they had a chart mapped out with names! They were putting in all the work needed to perfectly coordinate a meet up. Check this out...
There we rumors that they had all found a way to contact each other through the posts on Instagram. With ONLY Saturday and Sunday to find a way to come together to complete the final mission, I heard that they picked Saturday as their day to meet.
Something happened. Scheduling must have gotten tangled in the throws of the festival atmosphere, and the initial plan to meet up was unsuccessful. Determined to make this happen, they found another time to meet on Sunday, the LAST POSSIBLE DAY to do this.
With what appears to be INSIDE the venue, they create a meeting place for everyone to come together. Let me remind you that this is the first time most of these 9 individuals had ever met. I kept checking my feeds as the hours agonizingly passed by. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
Then this happened...
It worked. It.. it really worked.
Oh my God it F*#KING WORKED!!!!!!
When I reposted this picture, I quoted something that Dave said at the Gorge about a glow stick worm that made its way all the way to the front of the crowd.
"Look at what you can do when you work together." -Dave Matthews
There's SO much truth to this and I'm flabbergasted by the results of what happened. Am I surprised? Yes and no. I'm surprised because there were so many factors that had to come together perfectly for this to actually work. I'm NOT surprised because humans are amazing, and can do AMAZING things. Especially with each other and for each other. Sometimes I think that we don't give people enough credit to think that we can actually all work together to accomplish goals.
This re-creation was basically a miniature version of what we can all do as humans if we just all come together over love. This is something that I've found to flourish in the dMb family. The idea of love, family, connectiveness, teamwork, friendship, sharing and giving. Which brings me to another thing that happened from all these adventures! A bonus if you will...
An incredible fan of mine, who had found one of my paintings the first year I did this in 2014, took it upon himself to spread the same joy and love to the world. He purchased some prints from me, custom framed them and gave them to people all week long. He even left this one of "Little Red Bird" on his way out of town for someone to find. I don't know what happened to it, but the message of love and giving has been seeded in others and is growing. Also the much deserving finders of "34" and "7", these two tagged me in this photo to share a piece they had left behind for someone else to find. The post thanked me for everything I had done to make their weekend that much more special, and I can say the same right back.
This has been the whole goal from the beginning! To INSPIRE others to give, to share, to love and to do it without reward, recognition or even a response. The practice of letting something, that means SO much to your soul, go. To release it into the world and in the off chance, have someone stumble upon it and have it change their life path, for the better, forever. Causing a chain reaction to TRULY make this world a better place! It is possible, and it does start with one person. You.
So from the bottom of my heart and depths of my soul, THANK YOU. Thank you for caring, thank you for sharing, thank you for giving, and mostly, thank you ALL for playing along with me in my favorite game ever...
P.S. Again, PLEASE consider helping my next dMb Gorge adventure possible by contributing to my Kickstarter. I want to make this year BIGGER and FUNNER than ever!
Kickstarter link: https://goo.gl/i7Rvim
It would truly mean the WORLD to me and to all those who are destined to find my works of LoVE. EVERY pledge will receive a piece of art from me, and ALL pledges will be eligible to win various prizes along the way until the clock hits zero. SHARE it, POST it, TAG it. Thank you.
SUPER DUPER EXTRA BONUS!!!
DMB Gorge 2015 was crazy, amazing, and packed with non-stop action from the moment I got there, to the second I left.
Take a minute to look at this photo... what do you see?
If you said "Boyd's tour bus backstage at the Gorge!" You're absolutely correct.
Look a little closer...
Did you see this?!
Now, I'm not at liberty to say why I was there, but I CAN tell you that I had an incredible opportunity to film a project with Boyd all weekend long! Pretty surreal. Pretty amazing. In between filming every day, I was running around busting my buns doing the PonderMonster treasure hunt. I was in my FULL creative element all weekend long!
Many of you may have had the opportunity to meet Boyd in the past, and I'm sure you'd agree that he is one of the kindest souls one will ever come across in this life. The man exudes love and only wants to feel a connection to us all. If you've ever had a "Boyd hug", you know that he won't let go of you until he feels the warmth of your soul.
We had a great weekend together, some good conversations, tons of hugs and a few safety meetings along the way. You know because, safety first! On Sunday, before he started his prep for the show, I thanked him for letting me onto his project for the weekend and that I had a gift for him as a 'thank you'.
I explained to him a little bit about what I do, pulled a painting out of my bag said that it's rare for me to give one of these away. Usually one has to find it, or REALLY earn it. I handed him the "Much LoVE" piece and he looked up and me and said, "Aw man, thank you! I can keep this?!"
He gave me the biggest hug EVER and I told him to have a wonderful show. He had it in his hand, and said, "I know exactly where to put this. It's riding up front!" Boyd walked over to the front windshield of this bus, pulled the blinds and set it on the dash!
Little did I know, that #MuchLoVE is a frequently used tag in his tweets. My tweet game is still in it's infancy, so I didn't really know this until after, but it was a pretty amazing coincidence that we frequently use the same words of love.
What an experience! Looking forward to seeing him, and possibly the rest of the band, this upcoming 2016 Gorge weekend. Dave was right that Sunday night, and it was one of the best setlists I'd yet to experience live. It truly was a "HUMDINGER"!!!
Thanks for the memories.
Take me back...