An abstract painting by the artist Sean Garrison created in downtown Minneapolis on the day Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd, hits the virtual auction block on Wednesday. “Walking on Air” will be sold by Revere Auctions, based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with a starting bid of $150,000 beginning at 10 a.m. on September 22.
Back in April, Garrison was featured on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes.” In the segment, Garrison was interviewed about the work while it was being created, just before and after Chauvin’s conviction was announced. “If Sean is selling that painting, I would like to buy it,” Hayes said after the segment concluded. “That interview just really made this day in a lot of ways.”
Garrison, originally from Detroit, moved to Minneapolis as a child. He’s currently an artist in residence with the Minnesota African American Cultural Heritage Museum, where he’s been involved with several public art projects, including murals and an outdoor gallery exhibition full of art responding to George Floyd’s death.
Garrison knew he had to be in downtown Minneapolis when the decision about Chauvin’s trial was announced. He wanted to be out there painting, he says, and expected to be surrounded by anger, rubber bullets and tear gas. “I got my gas mask, and my plan was to go down to the middle of Hennepin Avenue and just paint what I felt,” Garrison says. “It turned out to be something positive. When the verdict was read, I just fed off of what I felt from the people in the area.”
Garrison is hoping to go big with the auction, particularly after the attention the painting has received. Besides the segment on "All in With Chris Hayes”, he was invited to the Cowles Center in Minneapolis to give a live lecture about creating the work. “Between this auction and the ancillary products— I'm going to get ten million out of this,” Garrison says. “Everyone thinks I'm crazy, but I claim that number in the universe. With ten million I can go to North Minneapolis and create change. And for me, that's what it's about