Friday, May 23, 2008

Today's big idea

I was at a gallery opening last night. Actually, I'm not sure gallery is the right word, inasmuch as I'd bet my life the exhibiting artists paid to put their work up.

Which, by the way, is cheating.

Anyway, the gallery is housed within a larger facility, one that provides large-scale printing and which also appears to have transformed its basement into a couple of shooting sets for photographers.

Which brings us to today's big idea. Or rather, Big Idea.

I'll warn you in advance that today appears to be a bit of a slow one in the Big Idea department. Today's Big Idea isn't really earthshaking. Nonetheless, it is roughly this:

Upon speaking with the manager, I found out that they can feed canvas through their large-format printers. So it occurred to me that wouldn't it be interesting to take an image of one of my paintings in mid-stream, so to speak, and print it on canvas at the same size as the original. Now there are two, and I continue to paint both from there to completion.

A couple of thoughts occur: First is the idea of rendering moot Frost's poem called "The Road Not Taken," which, if memory serves, goes like this:

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Particular emphasis should be placed on line 2--that business about being sorry he couldn't travel down both. Well, I guess he never had a large-format printer that could feed canvas.

There's also that business with Yogi Berra, the bit where you come to the fork in the road and take it.

The second thought that occurred to me has to do with doubling down in Black Jack. Let's say you're in Vegas. Let's say you are feeling a bit flush, flying off the handle a bit, and are playing at a $25 Black Jack table. And then, Glory Hallelujah, you are dealt two aces. You then double down by coughing up another 25 bucks and asking for each of your aces to be hit again.

Let's say the first Ace gets a Jack. A voice calls to you from the dark side. It says: "With luck like this, you should be asking around to see if anybody knows Kristen the Hooker's phone number." But you are a strong man and you push that loathsome notion out of your mind.

The dealer than hits your other Ace and, Glory Hallelujah, she gives you yet a third Ace.

At this point, weakened by the effort expended in trying not to openly cry with joy, you can't help shouting out: "Does anybody know the number of a great hooker?"

Anyway, we're getting side-tracked. The Big Idea is this: You paint the painting to the half-way point. You then double your image and continue painting both. What, the question is, keeps you from continuing to double down on a particularly promising image?
Are you with me?
Can't talk now. I've got Kristen on the phone.
One quick cautionary note: The process of printing on canvas is not a particularly new one. And, by and large, the results are a kind of cheesy mess. But the idea of printing out a work in progress, then further applying actual paint, changes the playing field considerably.

And then, of course, there's Warhol.

I once thought my image of Dick Grasso ...



... could be my version of Warhol's Mao ...



... repeated, ad infinitum, in all the colors of the rainbow. Sort of.

Like that Rolling Stones song ...

She comes in colors everywhere;
She combs her hair
Shes like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

She comes in colors everywhere;
She combs her hair
Shes like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

Have you seen her dressed in blue?
See the sky in front of you
And her face is like a sail
Speck of white so fair and pale
Have you seen a lady fairer?

She comes in colors everywhere;
She combs her hair
Shes like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

Have you seen her all in gold?
Like a queen in days of old
She shoots her colors all around
Like a sunset going down
Have you seen a lady fairer?

She comes in colors everywhere;
She combs her hair
Shes like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors
Shes like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors
Sort of.

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