Intuition’s compass guided local artist Madison Roy from the existential throes of art school to Hawaii’s carefree beaches. And the jump from painting on the beach to adorning Fender’s coveted Custom Shop guitars blossomed from the happy coincidences intuition seems to manifest.
“It was pure serendipity the way it all happened.” Madison said. “I was going to UT for Visual Arts and I wasn’t feeling supported and I didn’t feel like it was making me a stronger artist.”
The choice to leave school allowed Madison to focus on her art and ended up being a great career move. “In the pursuit of happiness.” Madison began creating art in Hawaii and posting the pictures to Instagram, where she amassed an online following.
She found sharing her art through Instagram self-affirming and the frequency of her art posts increased. “I believed in what I was doing and that’s what was making me happy so I started posting more and more pictures of my work on Instagram and I was getting a lot more feedback and interest from people than I ever imagined.”
The flair guitar
The choice to move to Hawaii payed off when one social media admirer showed her father photos of Madison’s hand-painted ukeleles. This particular admirer, a seven-year-old, happened to be the daughter of Fender Custom Shop director Javier Reynoso.
The Fender Custom Shop, located in Corona, CA, produces special-order and limited-edition guitars for the international musical instrument manufacturer.
Javier found himself inspired by the work, and emailed Madison about giving her a line of Fender Custom Shop guitars. She would be sent ten guitar bodies: 5 Telecasters and 5 Stratocasters, the company’s signature electric models. Encouraged to pursue her style, she was given full creative control of the pieces. Using acrylic paint, she transformed the blanks into colorful canvases with intricate mandalas, a staple of her art. Madison’s devout attention-to-detail required her to spend up to 70 hours on a single guitar.
The finished bodies were then sent back to the Custom Shop to be lacquered, assembled and strung by Fender Cus- tom Shop Master Builder Greg Fessler. Fender flew Madison to California for the renowned National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) trade show so she could see her guitars on display. Two black-and-white Madison Roy guitars are destined for a buyer in Japan while the remaining eight are on display at the Fender Headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. The guitars will eventually be sent to Fender Custom Shop dealers and dis- tributors around the world where hungry buyers can purchase the one-of-a-kind playable canvases, for a price.
Playing on and back in Toledo
In the meantime, Madison has already been contacted by the Custom Shop regarding future commission work. She is still amazed by the opportunity, “Having my art represented by Fender, one of the top names in the music industry, is still a little unreal to me.”
Working with Javier not only catapulted her art career forward, it put her back on track to earning her degree. “Javier is the one who convinced me to go back to school… He’s the main reason I’m at UT again.”
Now a senior, studying visual art at the University of Toledo, Madison is set to graduate in May. She summed up the experience by telling us, “I owe more to Javier than just being thankful for this line of guitars. I’m grateful for everything Fender has done for me.”
Her work is on display in Toledo at the Davis Building, the UT Ritter Planetarium and at Artomatic with Art with a Heart Gallery.