Iggy Pop, Michael Stipe Design Guitars for Charity Auction - Rolling Stone
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Iggy Pop, Michael Stipe Design Custom Guitars for War Child Charity Auction

Dave Stewart, Robby Krieger and Muse’s Matt Bellamy also create unique six-strings to benefit humanitarian organization

michael stipe charity guitarmichael stipe charity guitar

Michael Stipe of R.E.M

Courtesy War Child

UPDATE: The auction raised over $70,000 for War Child, with the highest-selling guitars designed by Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy ($16,250) and Shepard Fairey ($12,500).

Iggy Pop, Michael Stipe, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, Dave Stewart, Robby Krieger and film director Gus Van Sant have all designed custom Carparelli guitars for an upcoming auction at Bonhams New York, which will take place November 9th at 7 p.m. Proceeds from these unique items will benefit War Child USA, a humanitarian organization focused on helping children and young people in areas of armed conflict. 

Other artists who created their own axes include musicians (former Cure guitarist Pearl Thompson), filmmakers (Sam Taylor-Wood), comic book artists (Steve McNiven) and other artists from across the visual spectrum (Slater Bradley, Shepard Fairey, Sterling Ruby, Michael Adamson, Zevs, Ginger Gilmour, AIKO).

iggy pop

Stipe created a six-string, which he christened “Radiant Guitar,” because he believed so strongly in War Child’s mission. “No person, and certainly no child, should have to endure what many of these children have lived through, and in some cases, still live in,” Stipe tells Rolling Stone. “I am honored to be able to make a small contribution towards helping them. Thank you War Child for that opportunity.”

Van Sant’s untitled guitar was created out of a similar desire to rally behind the organization’s efforts. “War Child’s mission to bring war-affected communities the resources that their circumstances demand is not only crucial and appropriate, but speaks to a fundamental quality we have as humans to respond and react to injustice, even when we’re not directly affected ourselves,” he says. “There is some mystery in the contrast between lives lived in abundance and lives lived in poverty and struggle.  There is mystery in the connection we have to each other and the ability to react to injustice.  Art can be a meditation on these mysteries, as it was for me during the process of this project.  I’m grateful to be able to take part in a response and to support War Child’s programs that make a difference in the lives of over 375,000 war-effected children a year.”

matt bellamy muse

Meanwhile, Pop offers a more oblique statement for his custom axe, “Soulman”: “Soulman goin’ 110 / colored dots signify the end / Soulman sings a soulful song / clear and simple, deep and long.”

War Child International was founded in the UK in 1993 and consists of three implementing offices: War Child Holland, War Child North America and War Child UK. The organization, which impacts over 375,000 children and their families each year, focuses on helping children “reclaim their childhood through access to education, opportunity and justice.” Proceeds from the auction will directly benefit War Child’s programs in some of the world’s most devastated regions.

“From the anguish of Picasso’s Guernica to the righteous fury of the Clash and Public Enemy, art has always held up a mirror to humanity’s fascination with war and violence,” Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder of War Child USA, tells Rolling Stone. “War Child has always looked to artists to help us give voice to the millions of children marginalized by conflict. This Bonhams guitar auction is the latest outstanding example of the remarkable support we have received over the years.”


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