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May 13, 2011

‘Tron’ auction: Jeff Bridges hopes his Grid painting lights it up for charity

Posted in: Movies

tron painting Tron auction: Jeff Bridges hopes his Grid painting lights it up for charity

Jeff Bridges is a truly restless artist — beyond acting he’s a musician, a photographer, a ceramics artist and a painter. “The painting isn’t something I’ve done as much of — compared to the acting, the music and the ceramics — but when I do get into it, it’s like hanging out with an old friend,” Bridges said. “It’s a wonderful thing using everything you have, and you do that with art. It all comes out and not always in the way you expect. I’ve been painting ever since I was a little kid, and it always surprises me a little.”

The 61-year-old Oscar winner called up the other day to talk about one his paintings, which is now being auctioned off for a very worthy cause. More on the cause in a moment, but first a bit about the piece itself: The painting is white acrylic on clear plexiglass, 46.5 inches by 70.5 inches, and the subject is inspired by the “Tron” universe with which Bridges is so closely associated after starring in the landmark 1982 film and its recent sequel, “Tron: Legacy.

jeff bridges Tron auction: Jeff Bridges hopes his Grid painting lights it up for charity

Jeff Bridges in "Tron: Legacy" (Disney)

The painting was art created in a spotlight, in a way. Bridges was the focus of an “American Masters” documentary and the show’s creative team decided to put a paintbrush in his hand for the camera.

“The director, Gail Levin, she had this notion of doing something inspired by that documentary about Picasso where he paints on plexiglass,” Bridge recalled. “It’s wonderful if you haven’t seen it. We kind of borrowed that idea, and I was intrigued by it. We got this big piece of plexiglass and paint,  and I just went to town. The way I do it is I put paint up there and see where it goes; I don’t do the painting, the painting does me. So I throw some stuff up there, and it started to remind me of something and all of a sudden I’m painting a portrait of my family, my brother and my sister and my mother and my father. That whole process was captured for that ‘American Masters’ PBS special.”

It turns out that the family portrait gave way to a visit to the Grid. Bridges explained: “On that same piece of plastic, I wiped that and then put some more paint on it and waited to see where those splashes went. I was just coming off of ‘Tron,’ and I found myself making a painting of a guy on a lightcycle and doing an abstract thing based on ‘Tron,’ and I put some words on there, a message about the Grid.”

Now, about that good cause, a quick video snippet…

Bridges is hoping his art will raise money for a charity that’s become very close to his heart.  “I kept the painting for a while, and I started to get involved in the No Kid Hungry campaign to end child hunger in our country by 2015, and we’re doing that by working with mayors and governors to identify the specific problems in each community. There’s over a billion dollars of federal funding that’s available to the states that’s not being used currently in support of hunger programs that are working. It’s heartbreaking, and it doesn’t make any sense. I thought we could auction this ‘Tron’ painting off and raise some money for the program, and Disney was kind enough to get it framed and use the powers they have to make it special. We’re hoping someone likes it and helps us do some good work. ”

— Geoff Boucher

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