C.R. Vavrek Staging Art Burn Tonight

Local artist C.R. Vavrek is going to bring new definition to the phrase "fire sale" tonight in downtown Phoenix.

With lighter in hand, the 31-year-old will be selling off his entire oeuvre of paintings at bargain prices before burning the leftovers in a giant bonfire.

And fittingly enough, it's taking place outside The Firehouse, where Vavrek has resided for the last few years. He's heading to L.A. soon to finish his Masters in Fine Art at Cal State Long Beach, and is hoping to lighten his load.

"I don't actually have a place to stay yet in Long Beach, so I will have to travel light. I figure if nobody wants [my paintings] why should I have to continue storing 'em?" he says. "Besides, if I try to give 'em all away I'd have to make new friends and I'm a little antisocial."

Vavrek will start the sale at around 8 p.m. ("After it gets dark and people can really see the fire," he jokes) and will start the art inferno after an hour or two of selling pieces in a "make your best offer" fashion. He's turning the event into a farewell party of sorts, which will feature music from local bands like RPM Orchestra, The Coitus, and Ray Reeves.

Vavrek says there are currently more than 60 paintings in his collection that will either be sold or burned to ashes tonight, including some works he's been slaving over during the last week.

When asked why he'd put so much work into a piece when it's likely going to be torched, Vavrek shrugs it off.

"Sometimes I have to paint just cause I have to paint," he says. "They'll get seen once, I guess, so I've succeeded in some way."

C.R. Vavrek's "Escape to L.A. Art Burn" takes place at 8 p.m. tonight at The Firehouse, 1015 North First Street.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.

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