Ever wonder what happens when 20 visual artists, including Robert Longo, ThankYouX, and Domingo Zapata, are paired with 20 musicians, including Patti Smith, Miley Cyrus, The Roots, Warren Haynes, and Slash, to design a series of one-of-a-kind guitars? No, it’s not a weird new concept for a reality show, but rather a charity initiative to benefit VH1’s Save The Music Foundation, which supports music education in schools across the country.
Artists were tapped to design a guitar inspired by some of rock’s most legendary, like Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and husband-and-wife duo Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. The resulting Les Pauls range from colorful and graphic to moody and mellow, with the common theme that they all look (almost) too good to actually play. The partnership, which was created with the support of the Gibson Foundation and Julien’s Auctions, celebrates 20 years of Save The Music. Over the past two decades, the organization has aided over 2,000 schools in keeping their music curriculum alive — and given the values of our current presidential administration, supporting arts education feels more important now than ever.
Over the coming months, the guitars will be exhibited as part of the Art at Viacom initiative before being auctioned at Julien’s Los Angeles in October as part of the Icons & Idols: Rock and Roll sale. Highlights include a gold guitar covered in the scribblings of Patti Smith, who, fittingly, decided to play both artist and muse, seeing as she has a successful career as both a musician and a visual artist (not to mention a writer). Meanwhile, Sage Vaughn’s Miley Cyrus-inspired creation embodies the millennial icon’s “happy hippie” vibe, with flora, fauna, and the occasional mushroom. Hey, as long as it’s for charity, right?