james willis gibson festival

Gibson Arts & Guitars Festival: Saturday June 16th 12 Noon to 5pm at The Music Zoo

Click Here For Directions To The Music Zoo

You are cordially invited to what promises to be one of the most unique and spectacular guitar events on the East Coast this year.  The Music Zoo is proud to present the Gibson Art & Guitars Festival Featuring James A. Willis on Saturday, June 16th.  This very special event will mark the opening of a two-week exhibition of James A. Willis’ artwork, and also will go down in history as the largest collection of Gibson Custom Shop guitars on display in one place, ever.  We expect to have some very special guests on hand including guitarist Jimmy Vivino (Conan O’Brien).  This event is free and open to the public.  You don’t want to miss this!

james willis

We first met James A. Willis at the 2012 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, where he was displaying the first of the artwork that he has created in conjunction with Gibson Custom Shop.  We saw gorgeously painted Les Pauls, hand carved pickguards, even tooled leather.  James A. Willis is Gibson’s first Artist In Residence, a program that seeks to advance the arts around the world by supporting exceptionally talented artists.

Born and raised in South Georgia, James A. Willis moved to New York City to study traditional painting techniques under renowned realist painters David Leffel and Greg Kruetz at the Art Students League of New York.  Most famous for his impressionistic oil paintings of Manhattan, he’s been successful in many mediums, including leather, metal, and sculpture.  All of these talents come together in his partnership with Gibson guitars.  You will see some one-of-a-kind guitars and the more traditional artwork that inspired them.  The James A. Willis exhibition will be on display at The Music Zoo for two weeks starting on June 16th.

We are proud to have Conan O’Brien’s longtime guitarist Jimmy Vivino making an appearance from 12-2 pm.  He’s no doubt as excited as we are to see James A. Willis’ artwork as well as one of the world’s biggest collections of Gibson and Gibson Custom Shop guitars on display in one place.  Gibson is bringing up their trailer from Nashville that will be packed to the brim with guitars.  The trailer won’t be on display this time; they are forgoing the interior display in order to bring as many guitars as possible.  The Music Zoo will be breaking out all killer Custom Shop pieces that we’ve stockpiled in our warehouse, and combined with what Gibson is bringing we should have literally hundreds of the best guitars on display.

gibsons at The Music Zoo

Oh and did we mention that you could walk away from this event with a free Gibson Custom Shop guitar?  Someone will!  Sometime on Saturday afternoon, we’ll draw a name out of a hat for a brand new Gibson Custom Shop Limited Non-Reverse Firebird in Silver Mist (List price: $4,186.00).  This contest is absolutely free – all you have to do is be there!

free firebird

titos vodka

Representatives from Gibson Custom will be on hand to explain all aspects of the product, including why so many of the guitars at The Music Zoo are “hand selected”.  The Zoo gets the absolute best product from Gibson, and this is your chance to see it all.  Special thanks to Tito’s Handmade Vodka for being onboard for this event.  Please contact us if you have any questions.  We hope to see you there!

Below is some additional information about Gibson’s Artist In Residence Program (AIR) and James A. Willis:

Gibson Custom’s Artist in Residence program is unique to the guitar industry and seeks to inspire and support fine art on a global basis.  The Artist Residence program is dedicated to  advancing the arts through support of exceptionally talented artists from around the World regardless of their mediums while furthering the reach of the Gibson brand and its legacy.  The program’s first and current Artist in Residence is James A. Willis of New York.  After months of work in the Gibson Custom Shop and at a dedicated studio in Nashville, Gibson Custom and James have created the first exhibit of fine art works inspired and supported by “AIR”.  The first public exhibit of the the complete collection will feature instruments works on canvas, sculpture and leatherwork.  More information and examples of art are available at: https://www.facebook.com/AIR.GibsonCustom



Coverage of this event will be provided by Guitar Shop TV, an exciting new online TV show designed for passionate guitarists and music lovers worldwide!   www.guitarshoptv.com



James A. Willis Bio:

James A. Willis is the inaugural artist in residence at Gibson Custom Guitars in Nashville.  Established to inspire fine art through the support of established and emerging artists,  Gibson Custom’s Artist in Residence program is the first of its kind in the Musical Instrument industry.  Willis has been profiled in American Art Collector, Art & Antiques, and RefuelMagazine.com, among others and is currently the recipient of a studio space endowment from CHASHAMA, a nonprofit arts organization based in New York City.  In addition to his paintings and drawings, Willis has explored numerous mediums. He designs and paints motorcycles, surfboards, and musical instruments, and sculpts in leather, metal and traditional materials.  His art can be found in important private and corporate collections around the world.

 Willis has owned and operated three successful multimedia studios, and was involved in many of the early online technologies. His team was the first to stream the New York City Marathon live to the web and produced some of the first virtual tours for clients such as the American Museum of Natural History and the U.S. Navy. His most recent company, Asphalt Jungle, was the agency of record for Hanes online and worked for such diverse corporations as Pratt & Whitney, Relais & Chateaux, Cushman & Wakefield, Sony, and the U.S. Navy.

 Born and raised in South Georgia, James A. Willis moved to New York City to study traditional painting techniques under renowned realist painters David Leffel and Greg Kruetz at the Art Students League of New York.

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