Sunday, January 28, 2007

To Market...

Starting Monday, I will be exhibiting Big Jim I around the NYSE neighborhood, attempting to tap into my piece of the American dream. The good news is that projected temperatures are now 30, not 20.

To view the eBay listing for the painting, go to then type in "portrait of jim cramer."

I would give you the direct link, but eBay is so fundamentally screwed up that it is impossible for me to access the general link to the item, only my "seller's link," which is different. And secret.

I am also looking forward to getting a haircut.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Wall Street's a Cold Place

I am troubled by the Washington Post's suggestion that it will be 21 degrees in New York on Monday.

You do the math.

Irish Car Bomb

Speaking as an Irishman, it's an ugly name for a drink. I can honestly say I was shocked when I first heard the term. And I don't shock easily.

There's a Seamus Haney poem about a young man drawn back from university for the funeral of his baby brother, and struck by the smallness of the coffin. I'll try to find it, for it is something.

In the meantime, for your consideration, herewith a recipe:

1/2 pint Guinness
1 oz Jamison
1/2 oz Bailey's Irish cream

Pour Guiness into a pint glass. Float Baileys on top of Jamison in shot glass. Drop shot glass, carefully, into Guiness. Drink quickly before it curdles.

Strangely enough, I get the following, contradictory directions on the construction of said bomb from a different source:

Add the Bailey's and Jameson to a shot glass, layering the Bailey's on the bottom. Pour the Guinness into a pint glass or beer mug 3/4 of the way full and let settle. Drop the shot glass into the Guinness and chug. If you don't drink it fast enough it will curdle and increasingly taste worse.

The question is which one floats atop the other--the Jamison, or the Bailey's? Maybe its a Catholic/Protestant thing.

One thing they both agree on is that speed is of the essence.

A Thought on Portraits

Portions of two conversations:

--I just had my first car bomb...
--Did you explode?


--Your painting doesn't look like me...
--It will.

The first is, of course, a text message exchange between my youngest daughter (who is, for the record, 21 years of age) and me.

The second is Gertrude Stein complaining to Picasso about what would eventually become one of his most famous paintings. It would, of course, be this:

Picasso's response is telling on a number of levels, but most significant because it brings me to my thought on portraits. Which, of course, is:
The idea is not to copy what people look like, but rather to capture what they look like.
Me? My preference is for my paintings to look like the subject's fraternal twin. The first entry I ever made on my now somewhat extended blog was entitled "Chuck Close Must Be Freaking Out" and featured my painting of him entitled "Close, But Not Quite." Which is the idea in a nutshell.

And which brings me to my rendering of the Sex Machine himself, Jim Cramer; here shown just prior to me scrawling the name of the painting across his forehead.

Wikipedia has this to offer:
Carbomb (also known as "Belfast carbomb" or "Irish carbomb") is a boilermaker made with stout (for example, Guinness), Irish cream (i.e. Bailey's) and Irish whiskey such as Jameson's or Tullamore Dew.
We're jumping around here a little bit. Have you had one? Can't recommend them, although my "Did you explode" was, if I do say so myself, positively first-rate.

Anyway, I think I've hit Jimbo on the head, so to speak. You might feel that his face is a bit thin compared to the actual guy, but that could be that you've never really gotten a clear shot of him. He jumps around alot on his show. But the sneer? And the eye on the right side of the painting? Both eyes, really! I think I've got him.

Also worth noting, from this viewer's perspective, is the flipped resemblance between Cramer as depicted and what is commonly referred to as the Droeshout Engraving? Drawing a blank? Perhaps this helps:

For the record, this might be a colorized version of the Droeshout Engraving. But you get the point. I think it's the nose. And/or the forehead. And this resemblance would, I suppose, encourage us to refer to Cramer as the "Bard of Buy and Sell"?

What's Avon going for right now? Probably not even a company.

Anyway, as a closing note, do you know what happens if you Google "Jeremiah+forehead" in their "images" section? You get this. Which brings us, of course, to the famous line from the bible about people's foreheads:

...and you had the forehead of a harlot - you refused to be ashamed
Jeremiah 3.3

Which sounds a little like a software update.

And now we really are jumping around.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

For The Record

Just for the record, the finished version of "Big Jim I: Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" looks like this:

Without the title scrawled across top and bottom, it looks like this:

I like the fact that if you stare long enough at his right eye (the one to your left), you think you may have dropped some acid.

Dealbreaker breaks news of my return to The Street

Dealbreaker--always a supporter of my humble efforts--breaks the news today of my pending return to Wall Street. Next week I'll be hawking (not my word--it comes from previous coverage in The New York Times') Big Jim I in front of the Exchange.

The media initiative will begin in earnest tomorrow with the release of some version of this press release:

Grasso, Blankfein Portraitist Returns to Wall Street with Cramer Painting

-“Painter of Record” adds TV stock-picker to expanding group of
Wall Street denizens -

New York, NY (January 25, 2007)—Wall Street portraitist Geoffrey Raymond has returned to The Street with “Big Jim I: Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine,” a portrait of Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money.” He will be exhibiting “Big Jim” al fresco in front of the NYSE and elsewhere in the Wall Street area throughout the week of January 29th, in conjunction with the painting’s availability on eBay. Bidding closes Friday, February 2nd at noon.

“I was listening to ‘Live at the Apollo (1962)’ when I decided to start naming some of my paintings after James Brown songs,” Raymond explains. “I decided on ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine’ for the Cramer painting for a couple of reasons. The words ‘Get Up’ allude to the idea of buying low and selling high while the predatory sneer on his lips speaks directly to ‘I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine’.”

Raymond previously garnered attention for his display and subsequent sale of portraits of former NYSE head Richard Grasso and Goldman Sachs top guy Lloyd Blankfein. He also chronicles his quest for painting greatness in his blog entitled “The Year of Magical Painting” (

As noted, I reserve the right to change the above.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Big Jim I: Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine

Un-cropped, un-corrected, propped in my father's solarium, this would, of course, be the first public image of Big Jim I: Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine.

The appended James Brown song title makes me laugh.

You wouldn't believe how long my hair is

You wouldn't believe how long my hair is. I recently pulled a two-inch eye brow hair out. Telling my daughter was a mistake. She didn't talk to me for days.

I suppose my worry is that if I cut my hair back to normal (a one-and-a-half clipper cut, if you're counting), I'm going to be walking down the street one day, an unmarked van is going to pull up, tires screeching, and the next thing I'll know, I'll wake up days later as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

And then I won't be able to shop in the "Hispanic Foods" aisle.

Where they keep--get this--not only lentils...but mayonnaise too.

To which I would further add, there are two ironies here. First, mayo is the whitest food in the world. You do the math. Second, I've discovered, in what can only otherwise be called a food wasteland, the finest commercial mayonnaise I've ever tasted. It's called Duke's and it's the house brand for Harris Teeter (which is a supermarket). It leaves Hellman's and Kraft, the brands I had previously considered interchangeably as the best, in the dust.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Song of the South

I can hear it. I can hear it.

"Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' 4 2 carry me home..."

If that's how it goes. Or can that sweet singing be scantily clad women sitting atop low-lying rocks, waiting for me to shatter the planks of my Sneakbox? Sirens, if you will?

Either way, it's nice to walk out the door and not have to wear a parka.

And while inside, progress against my Jim Cramer painting is being made. I just can't show you for reasons related to technology. Don't ask.

I'll leave you with this last thought. Are you familiar with Le Reve, Picasso's portrait of Marie Therese Walter, most famous perhaps for his integration of a penis into the composition of the head? It would, of course, be this:

Le Reve is even more famous because this is the painting that Las Vegas Impressario Steve Wynn put his elbow though. Witness, if you would, the accounting of this in The New Yorker:

You might have seen “Le Rêve,” Picasso’s 1932 portrait of his mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, in your college art-history textbook. The painting is owned by Steve Wynn, the casino magnate and collector of masterpieces. He acquired it in a private sale in 2001 from an anonymous collector, who had bought it at auction in 1997 for $48.4 million. Recently, Wynn decided that he’d like to sell it, along with several other museum-quality paintings that he owns. A friend of his, the hedge-fund mogul and avid collector Steven Cohen, had coveted “Le Rêve” for years, so he and Wynn and their intermediaries worked out a deal. Cohen agreed to pay a hundred and thirty-nine million dollars for it, the highest known price ever paid for a work of art.

A few weeks ago, on a Thursday, a representative of Cohen’s came from California to inspect the painting. She removed it from the wall, took it out of its frame, and confirmed that it was in excellent shape. On Friday, she wrote her condition report, and so, according to their contract, the deal was done. All that was left was the actual exchange of money and art.

That weekend, Wynn had some friends visiting from New York—David and Mary Boies, Nora Ephron and Nick Pileggi, Louise Grunwald, and Barbara Walters. They were staying, as they often do, at his hotel and casino, the Wynn Las Vegas. As they had dinner together on Friday night, Wynn told them about the sale. “The girls said, ‘We’ve got to see it tomorrow,’ ” Wynn recalled last week. “So I said, ‘I’ll be working tomorrow. Just come on up to the office.’ ” (He had recently moved “Le Rêve” there from the hotel lobby.)

The guests came at five-thirty, and Wynn ushered them in. On the wall to his left and right were several paintings, including a Matisse, a Renoir, and “Le Rêve.” The other three walls were glass, looking out onto an enclosed garden. He began to tell the story of the Picasso’s provenance. As he talked, he had his back to the picture. He was wearing jeans and a golf shirt. Wynn suffers from an eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa, which affects his peripheral vision and therefore, occasionally, his interaction with proximate objects, and, without realizing it, he backed up a step or two as he talked. “So then I made a gesture with my right hand,” Wynn said, “and my right elbow hit the picture. It punctured the picture.” There was a distinct ripping sound. Wynn turned around and saw, on Marie-Thérèse Walter’s left forearm, in the lower-right quadrant of the painting, “a slight puncture, a two-inch tear. We all just stopped. I said, ‘I can’t believe I just did that. Oh, shit. Oh, man.’”

Wynn turned around again. He put his pinkie in the hole and observed that a flap of canvas had been pushed back. He told his guests, “Well, I’m glad I did it and not you.” He said that he’d have to call Cohen and William Acquavella, his dealer in New York, to tell them that the deal was off. Then he resumed talking about his paintings, almost, but not quite, as though he hadn’t just delivered what one of the guests would later call, in an impromptu stab at actuarial math, a “forty-million-dollar elbow.”

A few hours later, they all met for dinner, and Wynn was in a cheerful mood. “My feeling was, It’s a picture, it’s my picture, we’ll fix it. Nobody got sick or died. It’s a picture. It took Picasso five hours to paint it.” Mary Boies ordered a six-litre bottle of Bordeaux, and when it was empty she had everyone sign the label, to commemorate the calamitous afternoon. Wynn signed it “Mary, it’s all about scale—Steve.” Everyone had agreed to take what one participant called a “vow of silence.” (The vow lasted a week, until someone leaked the rudiments of the story to the Post.)

The next day, Wynn finally reached his dealer, and told him, “Bill, I think I’m going to ruin your day.” The first word out of Acquavella’s mouth was “Nooo!” Later that week, Wynn’s wife, Elaine, took the painting to New York in Wynn’s jet, where she and “Le Rêve” were met by an armored truck. Cohen met them at Acquavella’s gallery, on East Seventy-ninth Street, and he agreed that the deal was off until the full extent of the damage could be ascertained. The contract, at any rate, was void.

The painting wound up in the hands of an art restorer, who has told Wynn that when he’s done with it, in six or eight weeks, you won’t be able to tell that Wynn’s elbow passed through Marie-Thérèse Walter’s left forearm.

Last Friday, when Wynn’s alarm went off, at 7 A.M., his wife turned to him in bed and said, “I consider this whole thing to be a sign of fate. Please don’t sell the picture.” Later that morning, Wynn called Cohen and told him that he wanted to keep the painting, after all.

— Nick Paumgarten

The mind, of course, reels.

Anyway, in my continued efforts to capture the spirit of financial movers and shakers--my so-called Wall Street series--I am thinking about re-interpreting Le Reve with Steve Jobs' head.

Again, the mind reels.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Arles, Charles?

This would of course be Vincent van Gogh's answer to his brother's query about where he thought he might go for a sunnier clime to sooth his darkened spirits (providing van Gogh's brother been named Chuck instead Ted). The total conversation, one might surmise, went something like this:

"Vincent--any thoughts on someplace you might go that's a bit warmer than here?"
"What do you think about Arles, Charles?"

I, too, have moved to a sunnier place to paint: Leesburg, Virginia. I hasten to say the move is a temporary one and done more for the purposes of soothing a sick parent's brow, but I have dismantled my father's kitchen, created a studio of sorts where the breakfast table used to be and have begun painting Jim Cramer. I'd offer a photo, but I'm still a bit handicapped electronically.

There are several positives to be gleaned from this:

1. Leesburg, while not the south of France, is, nonetheless, significantly warmer than New York. You need only walk around in a fleece vest; maybe a long-sleeved shirt (note--disregard recent warm spate in the New York area while reflecting on this).
2. The space where the breakfast table used to be is really quite small. Should I ever end up in prison, I am pleased to realize that I will still be able to generate my trademark products.
3. One of my daughters goes to college in the area, so I can see more of her than I might otherwise.

All this said, there are some odd parts too. For one, the local Giant supermarket has an aisle labeled "Hispanic Foods." This I thought was strange. Good, but strange. Before you know it, everyone in Leesburg will be eating tacos and refrying their beans.

My father, by the way, is riding the crest of the Hispanic-Food-Comes- to-Northwestern-Virgina wave. I opened his cupboard the other day and found tobasco sauce with chipotle. Tastes pretty good.

Me? I await Gaugin.