Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And a final birthday note...

Actually it probably won't be my last post. I like to post on my birthday. But this is a sad one, and I would have preferred not hearing about it on an otherwise relatively rosy day.

The news? The demise of The New York Sun, the paper which brought you this:

Now that, dear reader, was a moment.

Watching news on television is like eating shit with a soup spoon. So the death of every newspaper is cause for the bowing of the head, the making of the sign of the cross, the drinking of a couple of beers. I've done the first two, and I can assure you the third is only hours away (it is only 11:30 as we speak).

A couple of weeks ago I had the following email conversation with one of the Sun's editors regarding a photo of my Richard Fuld painting also appearing on the front page of the paper:
Me: Hi [Redacted]--Loved the shot. Twice on the cover of The Sun; now I can die in peace.
Him: G-d willing it won't be the last time you're on the cover of the paper. All the best...
Me: I know exactly what you mean. All the best to you...
What a bummer.

And a birthday present from the New York Observer

The Observer, of which close readers know I am truly fond, offers up this fun item for my birthday. I not only enjoyed reading it, but was amused by what I can only assume to be a fortuitous typographical error--the noting of my age as 55 (I'm sure I told her I was 54) on the first day it actually became true.

If it wasn't a typo then Lysandra Ohrstrom must be the most fearsome reporter in New York.

Note: It would be good clean fun if everybody who reads this post and then clicks over to The Observer article would leave a comment there. It would be like something out of an Arlo Guthrie song. A movement of some kind. An Alice's Restaurant moment. A loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires (if I might also reference Paul Simon).

Shit...I'm Fifty-five!

Shit...I'm fifty-five.

I'm halfway through my life. If the rule of two thirds applies, I've got about 18 more good years. I wish I wasn't losing my hair.

And I wish my boy Johnny was still alive. I named this painting after him:

It's called "Self-Portrait 2; That Boy Could Sure Eat Some Beets."

The self-portrait part obviously refers to me. The "sure could eat some beets" part stems from long lunches Johnny and I used to have in the window table at the Gramercy Tavern (back when we were business men and could afford eating oysters, drinking chardonnay, flirting with the hostess and staring out the window at the snow coming down on a gray, 20th Street afternoon).

We used to discuss, among other things, what we wanted written on our tombstones. It was an ongoing topic until one afternoon when JB tore through a roasted beet salad the way a hungry lion eats a sick wildebeest. After that we agreed that Johnny would get "That boy could sure eat some beets" written on his.

Me? The jury is still out. Maybe I (actually it won't be me; it'll be my children) should just inscribe the words "The Annotated Geoff" and leave the rest blank. Next to the stone, in a little cup, would be a small hammer and a stone chisel. People could write their own stuff.

If forced to go in a more conventional direction, and because I'm a little self-absorbed, I'd vote for "sic transit gloria mundi." Literally translated: Thus passes the glory of the world.

This, however, comes from Wikipedia:
Traditionally, papal coronations are thrice interrupted by a monk (some say barefoot) holding a pole to which is affixed a burning piece of flax. After it finishes burning, the monk announces, "Pater sancte, sic transit gloria mundi." This is meant to remind the Pope that, despite the grandeur of the ceremony and the long history of the office, he is a mortal man.
Hey, baby--ain't we all? I'd like to sleep with Penelope Cruz once before I die.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Classic Post--April 5, 2008/One more item about CNN

Let me say this about CNN: they proved me wrong.

In April, I closed the lead paragraph of the post titled "My fight with CNN" (reprinted in its entirety below) with the line "... but I bet you won't see me on CNN anytime soon."

And yo, here I am, just six months later.

Which speaks well for the network. I like the notion that major organizations don't hold grudges. Although I should add that the anthropomorphizing of organizations is, by and large, a dangerous practice and should only be done by experts such as myself.

I would also add this: Never in the history of me being interviewed by the electronic media has a crew been so nice. The correspondent was gracious, but that--unless you really piss them off--is standard operating procedure in situations like this. But the producer! Man, she was showering me with the love! Maybe she was being nice because early in our relationship I disclosed my earlier tiff with Campbell Brown and company. But regardless of motive, she was showering me with the love.

Here's how it started: Close readers will know that I'm recovering from a nasty weekend, healthwise. So my throat was still a bit raw and I was coughing a bit. So I say to the producer, "Can we take a moment? I want to buy a Snapple." She, in turn, says, "Let me get it. What kind do you like?"

Hmmm, I'm thinking.

I'm thinking this because I'm the kind of guy who, when offered an inch likes the notion of at least exploring the possibility of taking a mile. I'm not saying I'll take the mile, but I like knowing that the option exists.

So, after a brief discussion about what kind of Snapples I like (Peach, Diet Peach, Lemon, Diet Lemon, in what one might call 2/1/4/3 order), she asks, "Do they sell them in the pizza shop?" At which point I say, hating myself as I do so, "Yeah. Maybe later we can grab a slice?"

This is called "planting the seed."

I'm tired now and want to watch that dancing program so I'll make it short. In the end I got two snapples and two plain slices of pizza from the minions of the ghost of Ted Turner. I was gobsmacked, frankly. Makes me wonder what kind of stuff the network people will give you. Probably, now thinking about it, nothing but attitude.

Oh look--Toni Braxton is dancing the rhumba. Here, for your reading enjoyment, is a classic post:


My Fight with CNN (April 5, 2008)

Did I tell you I had a bit of nastiness with CNN? More specifically, I wrote them a nasty letter about their coverage of The Annotated Spitzer and they wrote me an apology. Which I suppose is great, but I bet you won't see me on CNN anytime soon.

A portion of my letter went like this:
What really bothers me came later in the piece when Ms. Brown started talking about me taking the painting on a tour, ending up at room 871 of the Mayflower. At which point several things occurred to me:

I realized that the language in that portion of the segment was taken directly from, and without any credit being given to, Dealbreaker.com and its coverage of the painting. The copy from that piece ran, in part:

He'll be displaying it in front the stock exchange for the next week, before going on a tour that'll retrace Kirsten's steps from New York to DC, (hopefully) culminating in an exhibition in Mayflower room 871, which, interestingly enough, has yet to be cleaned.

This is the humorous ranting of a highly popular Wall Street blog. IT IS COMPLETELY FALSE.

As for Dealbreaker, I love reading it. I love that they have said some wonderful things about me in the past, some nasty things and some completely false things. Anybody who reads it regularly can tell the difference between all three categories. I'm a big fan.

CNN, however, is a completely different beast. Or one would at least like to think so. Surely whoever wrote that copy should have verified it in some manner, particularly knowing it came from a blog. Mr. [redacted], you know from personal experience that I am easy enough to reach and that I reply to inquiries quickly. Yet you guys just picked it up off the web and ran with it as if it were fact.
A part of their letter went like:
While we don't believe the story reported anything that is in any way damaging to you, we will accept that the line about the tour was not accurate. We apologize for any confusion that may have been caused.
Which I thought was nice enough. I mean, I take enough shit from Dealbreaker; you'd think I wouldn't have to get it from CNN as well.

I wrote a squishy note back accepting the apology.

The Bailout is Thrownout

Manomanoman, I would have bet money that, as noxious as it was, the bail-out package would have been voted through today.

But no. It wasn't. So, selfishly speaking, I suppose it was good that I was out today with "The Annotated Fed."

This is a shot of Lola Ogunnaike from CNN interviewing one of my annotators. Since you can't really see her, here's her publicity shot:

Ms. Ogunnaike, for the record, is the entertainment reporter for American Morning, CNN's morning news show--the show on which I assume a piece about me will air tomorrow. All of which, of course, leads me to a quick aside re. the University of Virginia...
Are you going to talk about how they got their asses kicked by Duke, of all people?
Duke. Wow!
Yeah. Notice how I italicized it when I said it the first time?
Yeah. I mean, Duke. Italicized.
But that's not what I want to talk about.
No? Well, do you want to talk about your plan to take a painting of Al Groh to the Maryland game and get it annotated? Orange for students, blue for alumni?
No. Although that is the plan.
Well, what do you want to talk about?
I want to talk about how, usually, University of Virginia graduates can sense that quality in each other. The way the big cats in the jungle are aware of each other's presence, even through all those leaves. Yet there I sat, chatting up (on tape) Ms. Ogunnaike like nobody's business and not once did either of us glean the other's inner Cavalier.
Wow. And, if I'm reading her CNN bio correctly, you and she were both English majors.
Yeah. Although I do have a leg up on her since I know for a fact she never took a Shakespeare class from Professor Irby Cauthen.
No. 'Cause he'd have been as dead as Banquo by the time she arrived. She's obviously quite a bit younger than you.
Hey. Not that much younger. She's obviously in her twenties/thirties and I'm obviously in my forties/fifties.
Enough with the Greek Chorus for a moment. This is the way Big Ben turned out by the end of the day:

Did I mention it was for sale? Email me a bid.
It looks great. The extra day of annotations has really fleshed out the image.
Yeah. I'm very pleased.
But I want to get back to this Ogunnaike thing.
If you're saying that she's in her twenties/thirties and you are in your forties/fifties, then it is mathematically possible that she's 39 and you're 40.
It's possible, I suppose.
So did you get her phone number?
Then I rest my case.
What does that mean?
By "my case" I mean my continued belief that you are a complete idiot.
I like the term idiot-savant.
I know that's what you like, but I'm going with the ordinary, garden-variety idiot.

Though not well, better

Though not well, I am better. That said, I hit the streets tomorrow with my Bernanke painting in tow, hoping to feast on the thinking of Wall Street on the first business day after this momentous weekend. With me? A crew from CNN. Their task: To immortalize the moment the way only the electronic media can.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

I know you rely on me to brighten your day; enlight the dark corners of your mind; do whatever it is to you that reading this blog does to you. But I am currently sick as a dog and can't quite rise to the occasion.

Try to carry on without me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Current version of "The Annotated AIG"

This is where we stand now:

Click twice to blow it up. And just so you know, blue for AIG employees, black for others during the time we exhibited in front of AIG, red for some people at the Peter McManus Cafe, and green for annotators from my session today behind Goldman Sachs headquarters.

We're looking at about 160 annotations, I think.

This from Reuters...

This from Reuters. And what's with comment number two? Is he talking about me?


Behind the deals and deal-makers

Some AIG employees want former chief executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg back at the insurer’s helm — at least based on comments scribbled on a portrait painted by artist Geoffrey Raymond.

Dozens of AIG employees signed the portrait — set up across the street from AIG’s Pine Street headquarters on Monday. Among the annotations: “Please, please come back,” and “Trust in Hank.”

Greenberg over a 38-year reign grew AIG from a small, foreign insurer into the world’s largest insurer by market value. He stepped down in 2005 after regulators laid allegations of accounting fraud against him and the company.

Over the last year, massive mortgage losses crippled AIG. It narrowly escaped having to file for bankruptcy last week by accepting a costly government bailout.

The portrait of Greenberg — annotated in blue by AIG employees, and in red by all others — will be sold on eBay.

Raymond’s portraits have become a fixture on the sidelines of the credit crisis. In the midst of Bear Stearns’ 11th-hour takeover by JPMorgan, the artist invited passers-by to scribble comments on a portrait of James Cayne, the bank’s former chairman. And he re-appeared again outside of Lehman Brothers with a portrait of CEO Richard Fuld after the company sought bankruptcy protection.

Some AIG employees want former chief executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg back at the insurer’s helm — at least based on comments scribbled on a portrait painted by artist Geoffrey Raymond.

Dozens of AIG employees signed the portrait — set up across the street from AIG’s Pine Street headquarters on Monday. Among the annotations: “Please, please come back,” and “Trust in Hank.”

Greenberg over a 38-year reign grew AIG from a small, foreign insurer into the world’s largest insurer by market value. He stepped down in 2005 after regulators laid allegations of accounting fraud against him and the company.

Over the last year, massive mortgage losses crippled AIG. It narrowly escaped having to file for bankruptcy last week by accepting a costly government bailout.

The portrait of Greenberg — annotated in blue by AIG employees, and in red by all others — will be sold on eBay.

Raymond’s portraits have become a fixture on the sidelines of the credit crisis. In the midst of Bear Stearns’ 11th-hour takeover by JPMorgan, the artist invited passers-by to scribble comments on a portrait of James Cayne, the bank’s former chairman. And he re-appeared again outside of Lehman Brothers with a portrait of CEO Richard Fuld after the company sought bankruptcy protection.

3 comments so far

Yesterday’s editorial in the New York Sun should be required reading for anyone interested in the current crisis. BRING BACK HANK!!!!! There is absolutely no constitutional basis for the US government confiscating a privately held corporation. There is a major difference between a LOAN and a TAKEOVER, particularly when there are alternatives out there that have not been explored. Yes, the bridge loan was necessary, but that is where it should have stopped. What happened is absolutely outrageous and a travesty. What is amazing to me is why our Congress is saying nothing. Do they simply not understand????! They’d better start doing some homework - FAST.

- Posted by Mary Teresa

…after shaking hands with this boob, you’ve got to count your fingers

- Posted by basho

[…] Chief Executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg back at the insurer’s helm? Seems so, reports Reuters’s DealZone. Permalink | Trackback URL: […]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And this from NPR

I do love stuff like this--a two and a half minute piece on Big Hank. I tried to imbed it but was unsuccessful. Just go to the address below, then click to listen, then listen to the commercial (which is totally ok), then listen to the lovely piece about me.


Shit! I'm losing my hair

Photographer Ray Brizzi shot me and The Annotated Fuld for a magazine called On Wall Street and passed this image along.

Nice shot. Taken at one of my favorite exhibition spots--the plaza behind Goldman Sachs.
That sounds like the title to a broadway play--"The Plaza behind Goldman Sachs."
You're thinking about something else. Like "The Light in the Fountain."
Is that it? I thought there was something about a plaza.

I don't think so.

I know what show you're thinking about.

You do?

Yup. "Hair."
Ha. In his note, Ray suggested that he liked the three-way dynamic of the guys standing in front of the photo. Me? All I can focus on is how my hair is thinning out around my crown. I'm gonna have to start combing it over like that ass, Trump.

Those sneakers look a little long in the tooth too. I think I might buy a pair of those Nikes that have the little piston shock absorbers in the back.

Big Hank--End of Day 1/End of Day 2

This is where we stood with "The Annotated AIG" as of last night:

Really a pretty pathetic showing from the AIG people (who were marking in blue). Big Hank sets the all time record for least annotations on Day 1. To be honest, I half-felt like I should just head straight to Wall Street for Day 2 (because you can only take so much rejection, and I must have said some version of "Sir, would you like a marker?" a thousand times, only to watch the recipient of the comment look around like a deer caught in the headlines and flee, either up or down the street).

Man up, AIG. Nobody's actually going to fire you for writing something on my freaking painting.

Anyway, I bit the bullet, went back to 70 Pine, and things actually brightened up a bit on the second day. I spent (in the company of a photographer from Fortune, the writer from the Observer and a French camera crew) about an hour and a half in front of AIG and netted more annotations in that one period than I got all of yesterday.

The damned thing was still looking kind of bare, though. So we decamped for my usual spot on the sidewalk across Broad Street from the NYSE. Imagine my surprise to find they were digging the whole place up...

To make a long story short, we propped ourselves against the base of a statue of George Washington and stayed there for about an hour, til the Park Rangers kicked us off what they referred to as Federal property. Then we stood across the street, had a pretty pleasant afternoon, and came up with this.

Which is where we currently stand. Not bad. Interesting comments. Double-click to see.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Questions about "The Annotated AIG"

Here are a series of important questions, and the answers as I see them:

Who am I? Porfolio calls me "the portraitist of the business elite."

Where am I going? I leave now for 70 Pine, the address of beleaguered insurance giant AIG.

My hook? My hook is baited for Leviathan.

The painting? A portrait, as yet unannotated, of their former Chairman and the protean force behind making AIG what it is today, Hank Greenberg.

How to buy? Send me an email or go to eBay and look for "Portrait of Hank Greenberg."

Why are these paintings like hotcakes? Because they tend to go quickly. Were it me, I'd order mine now.

Hey Rob...

Here are the images we are talking about:



And McCain and Obama hung next to eachother...

And me, just so you get a sense of scale...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sometimes we forget the obvious

Did I tell you Big Richard ("The Annotated Fuld" to some) sold off the street for $10,000? This was widely publicized, but I suppose I should confirm it here, on these very pages.

The obvious quote is "My heart soars like an eagle" from Little Big Man, except that now, after all these years, I'm told the actual quote is "My heart soars like a hawk."

Which, frankly, doesn't have quite the same ring.

Me? I'm not sure I entirely believe the revised copy. My heart, I can assure you, soars like an eagle.

Alternate side parking

I'm in charge of parking a friend's car while he and his wife are out west. It's a Toyota Prius, and although I always have some trouble remembering the exact sequence of activities one initiates to start the goddam thing, it is amusing to drive once it's going. For the record, I find the notion that there even is an exact sequence of what I consider to be disintuitive events--some bizarre analogue of foreplay--needed just to start a car [A CAR!] profoundly annoying.

Anyway, although I'm reporting all this now, I've driven it a number of times before. The first thing I noticed? It's zippier than I thought it would be. But once you get past that, the cool thing is this whole electric/gasoline engine interface. The astonishing thing about the Prius is the almost imperceptible smoothness with which it switches from gas to zap. And back.

Now I am here to tell you, dear reader, that I am an extraordinarily talented driver. Soft hands, a gentle touch, an almost otherworldly understanding of the dynamics of the thing writhing in thrall beneath me.
Wait a minute.
We're talking cars here, right?
Yeah. What did you think we were talking about?
I dunno. "Writhing in thrall beneath me?"
How else would you describe the act of driving a car?
Well, gee. I can think of about a million other ways to describe it.
Well that's how I'm describing it.
Okay. Just had to ask.
Back to the matter at hand: When I say this to you, dear reader; when I talk about automobiles to you, you must treat it as Gospel. (Speaking of Gospel, remind me to tell you about walking down the street the other day listening to Magic--Bruce Springsteen's better-than-you-would-imagine recent album.) So when I tell you that the gas/zap interface is a technological wonder, you must also take this as Gospel.

And really, what's the act of mashing your foot on the accelerator if not some version of call and response? If that's the term. Can I get a witness?

Anyway, back to driving: Some of my less talented friends confuse aggressive driving with good driving. My friend Earl does this, and as a result he's always hitting something or rolling sideways down embankments. This is not to say aggression isn't a good driving trait. It is, in fact, essential. But it's got to be enlightened aggression. Zen-like aggression. Open to wonder. Open to tears at the joy of it all.

Zen-like aggression is not to be confused with passive aggression, by the way. Passive aggression is a fine way to conduct your affairs in general, but it's a bad way to drive.

It's also a good way to paint. I keep looking at my portrait of Hank Greenberg, trying to decide what to do next, all the while succumbing to the feeling that it's great just the way it is. I'm just sitting here in the office (9.30 on a Sunday morning. You think this shit is easy?), looking at my painting. I guess I'm waiting for it to make the first move.

I keep a list of ways in which Picasso and I differ as painters. Me? I'm passive aggressive. Him? Protean fury (if that isn't the most overworked cliche about Picasso in the history of the world) 24-seven.

Which has never been confused with passive aggression. Crikeys--I better man-up or they're never gonna give me a fucking chapel to paint.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Life is a game of inches

Take a look at these two details from Big Maurice...

Here we are at Point A:

And here we are at Point B:

The shortest distance between two points is typically a straight line. We have, apparently, chosen a more circuitous route. Nonetheless, having screwed around with the the nose I find that, whoa, suddenly the rest of the face seems to be coming around.

And the fact of the matter is, all I really did was add some shadowing to the bottom of the bulb of his nose, and a little bit more shadow descending his flume, and maybe a little work defining the flume itself more clearly, and a slight rethinking of the line running from his right nostril (image left) to the corner of his mouth, and a bit of something on the upper part of his chin to help define the lower line of his lower lip, and a goober of red to define the left side (image right) of his face, ditto the bag under his left eye (I can't keep saying things like 'image right'--at a certain point you just have to keep up), and, by God, I think I might have it.

I was going to spend Sunday screwing around with the mouth. Now I'm liking it. Plus the rest. I'm going to spend Sunday screwing around with other stuff.

Like his eyes.

Which is fine.

Horatio Hornblower, when angry at a subordinate, would sometimes shout, "Damn your eyes, Sir!" This is what I'm shouting at Hank Greenberg. Because Hank Greenberg is all about the relationship between that voluptuous upper lip and the curl of his mouth. And, having achieved what I think I need to achieve in that particular department, the eyes are just gravy.

And speaking of food, I'm going to get up tomorrow, buy the Times, settle in at Belleville, order their Eggs Mediterranian, eat it, go for a bike ride, and then--only then-roll down the hill to the studio. Rumor has it that the guy from Paris Match is going to show up, but I haven't heard from him so we'll see.

zuit alors!

Zuit alors! Paris Match is sending a photographer to chronicle the-taking-of-Hank-Greenberg-to-the-streets. Starting later today a correspondent from The Observer is going to follow me around for a day or two. My cousin saw me on 20/20, I think.

Manomanoman, I feel like Britney Spears. Every time I get out of a car somebody's trying to shoot my underwear.

Back to The Observer for a moment. This has been one of my favorite New York papers since waaaay back. I worked for a company called Van Vechten and Associates in the mid 80s. It was definitely a formative experience on a number of levels. Anyway, during my first stay with VVA (I had two, neither of which ended nicely) I inhabited what I believe I am fair in saying was the nicest office that I, or anybody I know, has ever had. It was on the second floor of a townhouse on East 64th. Ten foot windows looked across 64th at snooty hotel Plaza Athenee. 14 foot ceilings, a fireplace, a fishtank. Carolina Herrera lived upstairs. I ate lunch at a restaurant around the corner on Madison called, I think, Le Relais. They had the most extraordinary cold lentils appetizer. Lord, I can still taste it.

Once, crossing the street on the way to those very lentils, I found myself staring at Vanna White and Regis Philbin coming the other way. Reege and I exchanged the same knowing glance that one sometimes finds with the big cats in the jungle. It's amazing that any work ever got done.

And directly next door to this bastion of nonesense? The offices of The Observer.

So I'm a long-time fan, and every time I find myself on their pages it makes me smile in ways that the New York Times can't quite match.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to you...

Lloyd Blankfein's birthday is today. He's 54--the same age as me. And Goldman Sachs is up 20% or so. Happy Birthday, Lloyd.

Hmmm. Maybe I should send him this painting.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Classic Post--November 13, 2006

I thought this might be a fun time for a classic post. I've chosen "On Deck..." from November 13th, 2006. The reason? I was running through the early part of The Year of Magical Painting and noticed that this post marks the first time, as near as I can tell, that I ever broached the idea of painting somebody from Wall Street.


Scrawl down to the bottom to see what the actual Grasso portrait ended up looking like.


On Deck...

On deck--Dick Grasso.

For those of you not in the financial uproar loop, Dick Grasso (former head of the New York Stock Exchange) has recently been asked by Now-Gov-Formerly-Attorney-General Elliot Spitzer to give back 100 million bucks from his retirement package.

Grasso resists.

Hi-jinks will, no doubt, ensue.

Depending on which side of the ethical fence you stand, Grasso's either a crook of the first magnitude (actually I take that back--let's call it 2nd magnitude and reserve first class status for people like Kenneth Lay or George W. Bush) or a folk hero.

Either way...look at that face and tell me he won't make an interesting picture.

Here he is in black and white--the image from which I will actually make the painting.

I mean, really! Double click on this image and look at the lines around those eyes; the downturn of the mouth; the way his whole head seems to emerge organically from the point right above the knot in his tie, expanding, filling with air, reminding one, surely, of those balloons in the Macy's Day Parade.

I could paint this same imaqe at least five different ways. Maybe ten.

I'm all fired up. Crikeys...I'm turning into Andy Warhol!

And this is what came out of all that thinking:

We are now seriously working on Greenberg

This, for the record, is the source photo I am using for "The Annotated AIG." It's a cropped version of the one from about five or six posts below. Some question remains as to whether I should include the hand with the pointed finger (cropped pretty severely here but more visible in the previous photo).

Cowardice shouts "No" inside my head. Objectivity tells me that the finger doesn't exactly lend itself to the way I paint, so I'm better off leaving well enough alone. My consistent need for self-destructive behavior is literally screaming, "Do the fucking hand, you pussy!"

Luckily, I won't have to decide until tomorrow or, perhaps, Saturday. Right now I'm trying to get that steely, scary glare in his eyes just right.

And as if that isn't enough of a hassle.

Every once in a while

JD, one of my key people, sent me a blog posting about me. And I swear to God, it is really about the most interesting thing I've read in a while...
On a more fellowship-related note, I am currently in awe of the PR skills of Geoffrey Raymond. I share his propensity to paint faces we see in the media -- I did Benazir Bhutto the day after her assassination as a sort of catharsis, I did a Bernanke (which, because I am an idiot and never put it on my portfolio, you can only see here) after reporting on him for a summer. It only makes sense - we see their faces splashed everywhere and in a way get to know them. They're friends, once removed. An interest in Bernanke's worry lines is only natural -- for anyone, at this point.

But Mr. Raymond is a genius. Not only did he quickly and deftly put together a fabulous and engaging portrait of Dick Fuld, the man of the hour for better or worse, but he set it up outside the Lehman office. This is wonderful on so many levels - speaking of catharsis, Lehman employees can write in green and laymen in black, on the actual painting. That appeals also to my constant desire to record everything - this Annotated Fuld is a magnificent snapshot of every random passing emotion, like a twittering painting. How fantastic, how of-the-moment in so many ways. And finally, Mr. Raymond is executing what is probably the best example of professional self-promotion I have ever seen. Well played, Mr. Raymond.

To bid, go to http://www.theannotatedfuld.blogspot.com/

The only flaw in his plan is, who has enough money to buy this (check out his range - I am dealing in pennies), after the very moment that made it so valuable?
I'm not all that comfortable with this genius business. I mean, look what happened to Jets Coach Eric Mangini after they started calling him "Mangenius."

I think I'm more of an idiot-savant.

You can see the entire post, plus a very interesting blog, at http://thenewcartography.blogspot.com/2008/09/i-am-not-quite-finished-in-my.html

Did I mention Eliot Spitzer is still for sale?

Did I mention Eliot Spitzer (the best and brightest, in my humble opinion, of my annotated series) is still for sale? Make me an offer that exceeds $15,000 and I will deliver it free in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

"Spitzer or swallow." I mean really, how can you not own this thing?

Likewise my McCain/Obama set. These are they, hung next to each other on the wall of my studio. And really, they are unbelievable when hung like this. Yin/yang. Yankees/Red Sox. All that stuff.

And this would, of course, be me. With them:

The fanbase weighs in...

This from a new, I'm assuming, fan:
Hey there gvraymond!
Just a quick note to say that YOU FUCKING ROCK.
Innovative art with a punk rock twist.
You are a true catalyst.
Do a portrait of the president!!
I would love to write on that one........
Peace and love
This from another:
I love your work!!

When are you going to do the "Annotated Palin" / "Annotated Hockey Mom" / "Annotated Lipstick Pitbull"?

I live on the west coast but would gladly fly across the country to leave a few choice "comments" for Sarah.
This from a third:
Mr. Raymond,

Have you considered a portrait of Detroit’s soon-to-be-ex-mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick? Check out www.freep.com, if you’re unfamiliar with his somewhat interesting story, it’s at least on a par with former Gov. Spitzer’s. I can pretty much guarantee there’s some folks in Detroit and its suburbs who’ll be happy to annotate THAT portrait for you!
And this too:
I love your recent work with some of Wall Street's and our government's corporate criminals and clowns. Your inclusion of public commentary is brilliant and adds a definitive edge of social conscience and satire.

I'm afraid you'll have many more opportunities for subjects for this series in the coming years - but please, paint them all!!! I hope you can profit off of their demise as they have all reaped obscene wealth at the cost of so many others.

Unfortunately, I'm not wealthy enough to support your work directly by purchasing it. Perhaps someday in the future I can buy a serigraph or two of my favorites and hang them next to my collection of framed worthless stock certificates that I accumulated in over 20 years of working with jerks cut from the same bolt of cloth as those you paint.

Keep up the good work!
This from a friend:

Times couldn't be better. Total economic collapse and redistribution of said wealth to you! Congrats on selling your paintings - keep up the greatness.
And this from the host of a radio station in Canada. I just got off the phone with him after five minutes of chatting:
[A quick thanks for] taking the time. A great tale and well told...!! Gotta love it when someone can take a powerful poke at the those who consider themselves above it all, laughing all the way to the bank, as they walk past those who wish they had need for a bank account.... anywhere.

We're putting a link on our site, ..... to yours, one of thousands I'm sure who have been caught up in your art, and your unique form of social comment. As I said, $10,000 today.... in the true nature of art, and its ability to mark moments in history.... you'll sell for millions, years from now... after we've all headed off on our final celestial journey. Your mention of Pollock struck a familiar note.... but clearly, you ARE an original.

Hopefully we have a chance to connect again.... like the way you position things, and the notes that are posted on your paintings give you a sense of the pulse of America.

That would seem to be all for now.
Man, you really think you are the cat's fucking meow.
Hey, I'm just passing on the comments
Cherry picking the good ones, more likely
No. Nobody, other than the guy who wanted to beat me up, has said anything nasty at all.
Not like that Dealbreaker commentor who suggested Elvis paintings on velvet?
No, nothing like that.
Well, your head's still getting big.
It's not my head, it's my double chin.
Yeah, I saw that video. I thought a Rottweiler had attached itself to your throat.
Yeah. I've got to lay off the potato chips.
You might want to give those pints of beer at the Peter McManus Cafe a rest too.
Let me think about that one.
Please. Do.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Final Fuld

This is the final version of "The Annotated Fuld."

Just as a reminder, I spent Monday and Tuesday outside Lehman Bros. HQ. During those sessions I asked people if they worked (or used to work) for LEH. If they said yes, they got a green pen. No--they got a black one.

Today I went down to Wall Street and collected a few more. This time everybody got a blue pen.

Most heart-wrenching annotation? See "Check/W" below:

This is a detail taken from the lower right corner of the painting. All that black is Fuld's shoulder. The annotator was a little boy, perhaps three years of age, who could barely grab the sharpie. At first I gave him a black marker, but his mother gently asked if he could use a green one--explaining that his father worked at Lehman Brothers.

Oy. Talk amongst yourselves. I'm completely verklempt.

There are also perhaps six or eight annotations that end with an asterisk. This represents what I call my risk-free annotation service. You whisper what you want written on the painting. I wait until you are a safe distance away and then write it down for you, followed by an asterisk.

My favorite one of these goes: "The girls at Hawaiian Tropic are gonna miss your money." It can be found hugging the curve of the top of his head, from sort of 11 o'clock to 12, presumably the way the girls at Hawaiian Tropic used to hug Mr. Fuld's head.

Lordy! Is that place a strip club?

A couple of videos...

This one comes from Newsweek.com...

Manomanoman I have got to lay off the potato chips.

Second is this one from TheStreet.com. You have to go to this link because I can't seem to imbed it. Let me know when you've finished watching...

click here

I like this for several reasons. One would, of course, be my pathetic need to speak at length and then be able to listen to it later. The word "windbag" may come to mind for those with an innate meanness of spirit. Speaking as an old video producer, I liked how they let the audio carry the story (which is odd for a video).

Disappointment? I suppose the only disappointment was that the correspondent insisted that I drape the lavaliere mike up through my shirt without her assistance. I feigned incompetence but she stared me down.

Last Public Showing of Big Dick Fuld

I will be taking annotations on "The Annotated Fuld" today from about noon to about three in the public plaza behind 85 Broad Street. After that, I will deliver the painting to its new owner and that, as they say, will be that.

The Associated Press weighs in...

This is one of the nicer articles written about me lately. Accurate, complementary, captures the moment in front of Lehman Brothers. And it comes from David Caruso of the AP, which means half the world will be reading all, or bits, of it.

NY artist records public scorn on Wall Street

NEW YORK - When controversy looms on Wall Street, chances are that Geoffrey Raymond isn't far behind, magic markers in hand.

The 54-year-old Brooklyn artist has become a regular sight lately on the scene of big Wall Street fiascos, where he gives the public a chance to vent by scrawling comments on his oversized portraits of powerful corporate executives.

He spent Monday and Tuesday outside the Manhattan headquarters of Lehman Brothers, urging passers-by to sign his latest work, a painting of the investment bank's chief executive, Richard Fuld.

Sign they did. Bystanders filled the canvas from edge to edge with comments about greed and comeuppance.

"Blood suckers," read one.

"See you at the soup kitchen!!!" read another.

Lehman Brothers workers were invited to sign, too, as they entered and left the building. Their remarks, recorded in green ink, ranged from wistful to angry.

"What a day. What a year. What a firm," said one.

Another worker scrawled, "You are a coward," next to Fuld's visage.

Called, "The Annotated Fuld," the painting is the latest in a series that began when Raymond turned up outside the offices of Dow Jones & Co. last summer as the company and its flagship newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, were being sold to Rupert Murdoch.

Since then, Raymond has produced similar annotated works of Bear Stearns Chairman James Cayne and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was forced to resign after a prostitution scandal. He is already at work on a new painting of former American International Group chief Hank Greenberg.

Raymond said he has been painting portraits of Wall Street figures for years but only recently became enthralled with the idea of giving the public a role in his work.

"It's about creating a snapshot of this moment in time," he said.

He said he wasn't out to make a statement about capitalism and was just as pleased with the Lehman worker who wrote, "Thanks for the memories," on Fuld's portrait as the one who scrawled, "Sold down the river."

"I just let people comment," he said.

Other subjects in the series unrelated to Wall Street's woes have included Barack Obama, John McCain and Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour.


On the Net:

Geoffrey Raymond's blog: http://theannotatedfuld.blogspot.com

One more reason to be a Democrat

I am angry with the Bush Administration.

The reason? Would it have killed them to wait a couple more days before bailing AIG out? Long enough for me to have finished my Greenberg painting? Now I am feeling very much behind the 8-Ball regarding Big Maurice.

Speaking of 8 balls, are you familiar with a Beatnik Speedball? It's a margarita with a cup of coffee. I would like to have one right now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This re. Hank Greenberg...

Do you even know who Hank Greenberg is?

There are, in fact, two answers:

A) He is the Detroit Tiger mega-slugger from the 30s and 40s. The first guy to earn MVP honors at two positions. Victim of possible anti-Semitic activities--i.e., when he was closing in on Ruth's single-season home run record, some baseball historians suggest that he was pitched around more than circumstances would otherwise dictate; the implication being that The Powers that Be in baseball at the time didn't want the home run king to be Jewish. This, for the record, doesn't surprise me a bit.

Additionally for the record, this guy is NOT the guy we are painting.

B) Former Chairman of embattled insurance giant AIG. His six or seven billion dollars worth of AIG stock (Billions, not millions) is now clocking in at around 1.7 bil. He is pissed, and he looks like this:

And it is HE whom we are painting next.

Hey Joe--get out your check-book. See you Monday outside 70 Pine.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Parallel Tracking...

I opened a temporary blog--www.theannotatedfuld.blogspot.com--to chronicle the comings and goings of my Richard Fuld painting. Just click over there and read that stuff because I'm too exhausted to run two blogs at one time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quick note on aspirations

I think it was Gawker.com who, in the midst of a lovely piece about Big Anna, took the briefest shot at my aspiration to become the preeminent portrait painter of the 21st century. Which, I should tell you, is totally ok. The first graph of the Gawker piece ran like this:
One hundred or so people finally got to give notorious Vogue editor Anna Wintour a piece of their mind at Fashion Week. Well, via a painting at least. An artist named Geoffrey Raymond (who aims to become "the pre-eminent American portrait painter of the 21st century") painted what he calls "The Annotated Anna" and set it up at Bryant Park this week with a request for people to write a little note to the Devil Wears Prada inspiration. Oh, and you can buy it! (Hear that Anna?) Starting bid on eBay is $3,500. The artist tells us more about his work after the jump.
To which I would say: "Hey, what's the point of shooting if you don't shoot high." Like that golfing saying that goes: "never up, never in," which, I'm assuming, has something to do with the fact that if you don't hit the ball hard enough to get it to the hole, it is never, ever going to go in.

Me? I'm loving Gawker because, in a world where people are frequently writing stuff about me that is wildly incorrect, it's nice of them to just copy down what I said and share it with the world.

Anyway, back to aspirations. For the record, I didn't say I wanted to be the preeminent painter of the 21st century. Just portraits. So everyone just remain calm. And it's not really a cut-throat competition. I mean, I don't look around and wish my fellow artist ill. But there are definitely ones that I'm jealous of.

Exhibit A--Roy Lichstein's famous BMW:

Lord, have mercy. If I could ever do something like this I believe I could die a happy man. I once owned a 3-series Beemer, but it definitely didn't look like that.

Likewise my buddy Matisse. Herewith Exhibit B:

I would like to paint a chapel. Art historians would call it the Raymond Chapel, which would make me smile. Or, possibly better yet, an elaborate French name like Chapelle du Saint-Marie du Rosaire (Chapel of our Lady of the Rosary), which is what they call Matisse's.

Stuff I'm not so jealous of?

--That goat with the tire around it by Rauschenberg.
--All the later Jasper Johns with the arced strings and screw-eyes.
--I could go on, but that's enough for now.

Stuff I do wish I'd managed to squeeze out?

--That big dog made out of flowers by Jeff Koons
--And, of course...

Because, I mean, really...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The media weighs in

I was pleased with the coverage of Big Anna on the gossipy side of the media (usually I'm in the business pages, more or less). New York Magazine, Gawker and Vanity Fair all had something to say, plus a bunch of blogs. My favorite came from VF's "Power and Politics Blog", which went like this:

Anna Wintour (No. 64) experiences the type of mortification usually reserved for junior high, when Geoffrey Raymond doodles an oversized portrait of her and invites strangers to write notes about her. Even still, she remains the most popular girl in school.

Now, let's assume that you are reading this at nearly ten in the morning on Saturday the thirteenth, and you have perhaps drifted here from the eBay site listing the Wintour painting, and you are contemplating making a bid. You've never heard of me before, nor have you experienced the bizarre journey that comprises the reading of this blog (unless it should be "is comprised of..."), I would say this to you.

Where else are you going to be able to buy a painting like this for $3,500? Go back to the eBay site and make a bid before it's too late!

The Final Day...

The final day, for intents and purposes, was rained out. I had a couple of annotations (done in blue, just for a change of pace), mostly from a group of women who were wearing "Save the Garment Center" t-shirts. One person wrote "Wow, nice painting." Which was nice.

When all was said and done, I collected between 150 and 200 annotations, the vast majority of which were positive.

This is it:

Note: disregard the fact that the painting appears somewhat trapazoidal in the picture. Shooting hand-held with a small digital camera, it is sometimes difficult to get all the angles just so. If you study the area around the painting, you can tell that I just propped it on a black sofa against a mustard-colored wall. I assure you it is as square as Beaver Cleaver.

And besides, the point of the thing is the writing. And that's pretty clear.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Brief Sports Note

I'd like to state, for the record, that Carlos Delgado has been my favorite Met since well before he embarked on his recent, flabbergasting spate of hitting. I like to call him Charlie the Cat. Hell, maybe I should paint him.

Bad idea. I've got to keep my eye on the ball.

That said, as we speak, I'm painting Lehman Brothers macher Richard Fuld, with an eye for exhibiting him outside LB HQ next week. That's him you see above. The assumption here is that he's whispering something along the lines of "Hey buddy, I've got an asset management division I can sell you on the cheap." Something like that.

And with AIG in a continued uproar, I think it might actually be time to paint my old buddy (we once shook hands; briefly conversed) Hank Greenberg.

The point being that one has to make hay while the sun shines since it gets cold on Wall Street in October, and it doesn't get warm until April.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Annotated Wintour, End of Day 2

Here is where we stand at the end of Day 2:

Things are filling out nicely, and it was an interesting day near the tents. That said, I think I'll collect my thoughts about the day and share them tomorrow. For now, as promised, this is the state of Big Anna as we speak.

Note: Because of the most annoying glitch imaginable, I am unable to update the photo on the actual eBay site. What a crappy organization eBay is--at least as far a my relatively extensive experience suggests. Given this, should you like to reach me, don't go through eBay but contact me directly.

Additional note: This is not to suggest taking eBay out of the loop. I am happy to conclude whatever transaction occurs in the appropriate manner, so that eBay gets it rightful fees. But right now, they are really pissing me off.

In a happier note: Doesn't Big Anna look nice? The field of annotations is quite a bit denser by now. I figure we are at perhaps 175 total annotations.

Girl with the Far Away Eyes/Day Two Begins

Day Two begins.

With luck (meaning if I get another mitzvah from the security guard who initially told me I had to take the painting across the street), I'll be again standing on the S.E. corner of 41st and 6th, more or less just south of the main entrance to the park.

My guess is that I'll be the only guy on 41st and 6th with a big painting of Anna Wintour. Nonetheless, if you need to find me, you can call 917 693 9936.

Regarding the painting itself, I'm of two schools. First, I painted it quickly (which is not a bad thing, just a reality) and I might have made some other choices were Fashion Week not barreling down on me. That said, as with all the annotated paintings, the image is really a vehicle for the commentary. So I'm happy with where we stand.

Second, I do very much like the way her eyes turned out. One of my favorite songs is the Rolling Stones' "Girl with the Far Away Eyes," and this would be that--kind of a dreamy gaze from a hundred miles away; her thinking, perhaps, something like, "Manomanoman, if Men's Vogue wasn't stinking up the joint, life would be reeeeeally good."

Something like that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Annotated Wintour

Here is where we stand at the end of Day 1. Bidding, as you may remember, ends Saturday morning at eleven.

Regarding the day itself, I found a position on the S. E. corner of 41st. and 6th. It was an interesting spot in that I could see a lot of the goings on on the stairs leading up to the main entrance to the tent. Or is it tents? Honestly, I couldn't tell what the hell was going on.

Anyway, although the environs were a bit more cramped than I would have liked, I got a lot of interest in the painting; a lot of commentary; a lot of "No, I can't" demurrals--clearly a function of the influence Ms. Wintour wields in the industry. One guy from Vogue came up to me and said, "Anna is not going to like this."

Me? My theory is, how could she not like it? I mean, I gave her a lovely look in the eyes and the commentary to date is largely positive. I mean, there are a lot of positive things to say about the woman.

Anyway, this concerns me only in indirect ways (like that whole "You'll never eat lunch in this town again" kind of a thing). I don't think I typically eat lunch with the kind of person to whom Anna Wintour would say, "I don't want you eating lunch with that man." Maybe I should get out more.

Demurrals, by the way, is the word of the day. It's what we call the things they paint on the walls of the big libraries in Brooklyn. There are also some in the subways.

The Obvious Reminder..

Big Anna is currently available on eBay. Bidding starts at $3,500. You can get there by searching for "Portrait of Anna Wintour" on the main eBay page. Bidding ends Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

Big Anna 1

Here's the first hi-res image of "The Annotated Wintour."

Double-click to make it bigger. And, if you drag it onto your desktop and use your jpeg reader, you can really bore in.

Okay, now picture yourself on a train in a station, with plasticine porters with looking glass eyes.
Shit, we must really be in the fashion industry now?
We are in deep, my friend. Are you frightened?
Not nearly frightened enough.
Okay, enough of that. Now picture "Big Anna" covered with two hundred annotations, like my current favorite painting, the one of John McCain I did during the RNC.

Really, the mind reels.

Fashion Week

Ahhh--Fashion Week.

I'm taking my painting of Vogue EIC Anna Wintour out to the tents, just to see what happens. I'd give you a picture, but I'm having a bit of a techno problem.

Remain calm.

Sometimes your children say nice things to you

I was complaining about a no-sale to my daughter recently and she said, "Don't forget, Jennifer Aniston had to audition for "Friends" several times before she got the part."

This seemed like valuable advice. And only fair, given the top-quality material I've been feeding her for 22 years.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Clickable version

This is a hi-res version of the two paintings hanging next to each other. I don't know why the same photo below won't blow up. It was posted from my laptop, which operates slightly differently. Try this one:

A preview of the first debate...

Here, for the first time, are "The Annotated Obama" and "The Annotated McCain" hanging side-by-side in my studio.  Double-click for the screen-filling splendor of it all.  You will be able to read every nasty, filthy, biased, demeaning, polarizing, objectivising thing.

Now that you are done reading, imagine how much fun it would be to have one or both of these guys on your very own wall.  I can tell you from experience that it is just, simply wonderful.

If you are coming here from either of the paintings' sites on eBay, you can get to the other one by searching for "Portrait of John McCain (or) Barack Obama".

If you are of a mind to see them in person; perhaps scrawl something on them, I'll be behind 85 Broad Street for most of today.  

If you are of a mind to buy them, remember that bidding closes for each at 10 am tomorrow (Saturday) morning.  And, even though they are on eBay, were you to walk up to me and make me an offer I couldn't refuse, I wouldn't refuse it.

And, although they  are for sale separately, it's hard to imagine breaking them up.  They're like Lindsay Lohan in "The Parent Trap" absent all the post-facto baggage.

And this, in closing, is me and the boys.  Just so you have a sense of scale.

More on the Ears

Alarming, to some degree, the structural similarity between disgraced Governor Eliot Spitzer...

... and the Artist as a young man.

Really, on so many levels, all we do is paint ourselves.  Over and over.  

I'm Sisyphus.
No, I am Sisyphus
No, I am Sisyphus
No, I am Sisyphus
No, you bunch of idiots, I am Sisyphus!

I never thought of myself as having particularly big ears

I never thought of myself as having particularly big ears.  But, based on this ...

-- which I'm calling "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" -- I may be fooling myself.  Which is, I suppose, good to know.  I mean, if you know you are fooling yourself, are you really doing it?

Anyway, it might be nice of some of the thousands of readers of TYOMP who actually know me could weigh in.  Something confirmatory, in a plus/minus kind of a way, like:  "Yes, Geoff, you do have big ears."  Or "No, your ears seem normal to me.  Well shaped, in fact."   Something along those lines. 

Moving forward:  This, because I'm perhaps inappropriately self-involved, is titled "Portrait of the Young Artist With Dog."

That's my cousin Sydney on the lower right.  Boy, it sure looks like she was photo-shopped in.

I'm assuming, for the purposes of these pictures, that I am ten.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Other favorite comments

There are several that I like:

-Suck my melanoma (might be the most arresting)
-Stop trying to pander to me. (signed) A Woman
-Cheers Senator. May your vile campaigning end in disaster and defeat, you Republican piece of crap.
-Do you really think you will get Hillary voters by selecting a completely unqualified woman as your V.P.? We're smarter than that.

-You Democrats may be laughing now but just wait. Vladimir Putin will eat Barack Obama for breakfast.
-You'd think Democrats would have better things to do with their time than writing on this painting.
-O.B.ama...designed for women by a female gynecologist.
-My V.P. belongs in a double-wide, not the White House.

I like a long annotation

Me? I like a long annotation. You can find this one on the middle of the painting, on the left side, running down the edge. The annotator was a female Democrat, and she starts with the words "Your zeal for war terrifies me. Your attempts to patronize infuriate me..."

Then she runs out of space, so she draws a line down to the next available white part, says a bit more, draws another line, says a bit more, draws another line and says a little bit more, then draws one more long line down to her concluding comment. Her last sentence, stretched over two sections, reads: "If you truly believe that GWB was right 90% of the time, that's reason enough to do anything in my power to keep you from winning."

At the end she turns to me and says, "I could have written more, but I ran out of space."

Wow. This is why I play this particular game. What genuinely excites me is that, unlike the Obama painting, where comments tended to be short and sweet, people are really pouring themselves on this canvas. I define a long annotation as ten words or more. "The Annotated McCain" has more long annotations than anything I've ever done.

And I get to watch the whole thing. I'm like Huck fucking Finn with that painting-the-white-picket-fence-thing (unless that was Tom Sawyer).

The painter watching someone paint my painting.

I think this is my favorite thing in the world. Well, maybe not favorite, but top ten, easy.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Where we now stand...

Here is Big Mac as of ten minutes ago. Almost exactly 100 annotations, and I am pleased to see that the Republicans have weighed in with some pithy items.

Note: double click and you can read the annotations to your heart's content. Tomorrow I'll break the thing into quadrants and really let you get a look at it.

Okay--quickly before I jump out the door...

Man, they are angry at Johnny Mac:

I could do with out the two anti-American screeds, one on the left, one on the right of the painting. But, hey. You give somebody a pen and they get to say what they want.

Apologies for the nasty treatment of the image, but I unrolled it on my kitchen floor and shot it freehand.

McCain on eBay

I will be on Wall Street today, standing behind 85 Broad St.--one of my usual exhibition spots--with my McCain painting. It is, as we speak, available on eBay with a starting bid of $3,500. Bidding ends Saturday morning at 10 am, EST.

At the same time, I have relisted my Obama painting. The auction details are the same as above.

As an experiment I tried "priming the pump" by taking Big Mac to the Peter McManus Cafe. Which was fine except everybody there appears to be a Democrat. Go figure. And now, with all that blue writing on it, I worry that the Republicans will be scared away.

The expection, as I may have mentioned, was that Big Barack would be primarily blue (and black), while Big Mac would be primarily red.

We'll see. The blue comments from last night are, in a word, scathing. And, strangely enough, two of the five or so Republican comments involved something nasty about Sarah Palin. One read "Redneck from Alaska!" and the other went something like "The VP belongs in a double-wide, not the White House."

Let the spectacle begin.