I was hesitant to write a post about the multi-talented Amanda Dunbar® because she is so ridiculously copyright protected. Seriously, there are warnings all over sites about terms, conditions and the like. Even her name and personal 'tag line' are registered and trademarked. She was dubbed a child prodigy at age 13, so most likely her parents and or guardians and managers went to great lengths to protect her since she was so young. She is also respected and known by many celebrities so I'm sure this comes into play as well.
I guess I'm taking a risk writing this post, but, because I am using images found on her own sites which are unaltered and since I'm not saying anything except how fabulous her hand painted crystal clad guitars are, I'm hoping they'll take mercy on me for the free positive press. Please note that all the images you see in this post are property of Amanda Dunbar, LLC.
She has several websites, many loaded with press and video, but I really wanted to share one small facet of this very pretty young woman's creations with you. In addition to being an artist who paints in oils, etches on copper plates (intaglio) and works with stone lithography, it is her Precious Rebels™ collection of hand painted, Swarovski crystal clad guitars that I wanted to blog about.
They are just too damn beautiful not to share:
In both an effort to be both thorough and law-abiding, I'm reproducing an article about her guitars that was written by Chris Coats for the Dallas Morning News in 2006:
Sarah Losinger had run out of wall space to place any more artwork. But that didn't stop her from visiting the gallery of her favorite artist, Amanda Dunbar. What she came across surprised her: painted guitars clad in Swarovski crystals.
"I'd never seen anything like it," Ms. Losinger said. "Who'd think of using a guitar for a canvas? But then again, Amanda does everything out of the box."Ms. Dunbar is used to standing out. At 13, the Allen resident was dubbed an art prodigy, appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show and selling more than $500,000 in paintings in her first show. In 2006, at 23, she became the youngest inductee to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame.
In addition, Ms. Dunbar's Angel Alliance charity has raised more than $1 million for various causes, including the Grammy MusiCares Foundation for Artists."MusicCares raises money for health care for artists, not just visual but also musical artists," Ms. Dunbar said. "We're all self-employed, and I wanted to do whatever I could to help artists, and my projects sort of organically evolved."Now her guitars are capturing the attention of bigwigs in the music world and entertainment industry. Called "Precious Rebels," the blinged-out works of playable art run from $15,000 to $75,000.
She began painting on guitars after working with projects with Gibson Guitars, most recently for the company's Austin GuitarTown project. Nearly three dozen artists were given 10-foot guitar sculptures to design, with the finished products displayed around the city and then auctioned last fall to benefit local art charities. Having worked with the Grammy Awards and other musical organizations in the past, Ms. Dunbar came up with the idea of offering playable art.
"I'm passionate about painting and want it accessible to as many people as possible," she said. "I wanted my guitar pieces to be the art and the music world. It's kind of a way to combine sculpture, music, painting and collage."
So far, the artist has created more than 30 guitars, such as the "Capri Tiger," which features a metallic blue-and-black tiger crystal design. Another, "The Parisian," is an intricate black-and-white swirled number.
What Ms. Dunbar loves the most about her creations is that they have become a collaborative effort with her family. Ms. Dunbar, a student at Southern Methodist University completing her master's in art history, creates and paints the original acrylic on the guitar. Her mother, Judi, also an artist, does a lot of the finishing work of gluing thousands of crystals to each instrument. "It's working a week straight, 12-hour days of gluing," Judi Dunbar said. "It's a lot of meticulous work for each one."
Amanda's father, Ken, an engineer and guitar buff, travels the country looking for classic guitars. Each is refurbished and is also equipped with radio frequency identification technology."Each one can be played, and it doesn't affect the sound or performance of the instrument," said Mr. Dunbar. "That is just as much of a priority as the art."
The Grammy Awards requested a special guitar created by the artist that will be used to commemorate their 50-year anniversary, the Dunbars said. The guitar – a Gibson Black Beauty Les Paul with predominantly jet-black and black-diamond Swarovski crystals – will be played by different celebrities at various events around the country.
A major retailer is also looking into carrying the line, and musicians and others in the music industry have shown interest. Until then, the guitars are not for sale to the general public, the Dunbars said. Ms. Losinger, the only customer to snag two so far, had to persuade the artist to part with them."They actually are playable instruments, and they make a great conversation piece," she said. "Now my daughter wants one. I'll probably have to get her one, too."
Amanda Dunbar websites:
• her Precious Rebels site: Dunbar Studios
• her "official" site: Amanda Dunbar
• a site with several videos and galleries: her fan site