Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My man Gussie

Does the name Gussie Fink-Nottle mean anything to you? Wikipedia notes (and really, who would imagine that Gussie Fink-Nottle would have his own Wikipedia entry?):
Augustus "Gussie" Fink-Nottle is a recurring fictional character in the Jeeves novels of British comic writer P. G. Wodehouse, being a lifelong friend of Jeeves's master Bertie Wooster, and a possible member of the Drones Club. Described as "a teetotal bachelor with a face like a fish", he wears horn-rimmed spectacles, and devotes his life to the study of newts.
The answer to the opening question is, actually, immaterial. Because we are here, dear readers, not to discuss my man Gussie Fink-Nottle, but rather, my man Gussie Klimt. Gustav to many. An actual person, who also warrants a Widipedia entry, a portion of which goes like:
Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862February 6, 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Art Nouveau (Vienna Secession) movement. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches and other art objects, many of which are on display in the Vienna Secession gallery. Klimt's primary subject was the female body,[1] and his works are marked by a frank eroticism--nowhere is this more apparent than in his numerous drawings in pencil (see Mulher sentada, below). These female subjects, whether formal portraits or indolent nudes, invariably display a highly sensitized fin de siècle elegance.
For the record, I very much like the idea of the use of that last sentence to describe my work. As far as frank eroticism is concerned, I think he had the house two doors down when I was growing up on the Jersey shore. The other side of the Shelbys. I think I dated his sister Maxie.

Anyway, all this talk of "Hey Joe..." makes me think of Gustav Klimt.

Take a look at this:



Now turn it upside down. One is an angel. One is my boy Joseph. Crop about 25% off both the left and right sides. Something like this:



Take into account that in my painting they won't be kissing. And the copy scrawled across the upper half. And, by Jove, I think we have it. Sort of.

What there is to love about Klimt, among many other things, is the way relatively realistic faces emerge from relatively abstract backgrounds--for lack of a better word.

To this very point, check these bad boys out:



(Disclaimer--even though the above photo looks like it, this painting is not just hanging on a wall in my house waiting for me to snap it's picture.)



One of my many failings is that, in the face of such greatness, I can't help myself but to make a joke or two. The obvious one here would focus on the fact that he obviously had access to a better brand of hallucinogens than I.
If I could get some acid like that, I could really paint.
That, my friend, is a slippery slope.
What do you know? You're just the Greek Chorus.
Exactly. It's my job to know shit like this.
Okay. Let's change subjects. How did you feel about them taking the "Sweeney...Sweeney Todd" number out of "Sweeney Todd, the Movie"?
Don't even get me started on "Sweeney Todd."
What's that--like a union thing?
Exactly.
The Greek Chorus union? What's that--like Local something something something?
Exactly.
Anyway, the middle one above has always been one of my favorite paintings. And it is this whole realistic/abstract blend is what we are shooting for with "Hey Joe..."

Kind of a Gustav Klimt/Jackson Pollock fusion.

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