Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My children don't appreciate me...

One last Christmas post before I go back to eviscerating that Potvin guy...

My children don't appreciate me. This is the two of them (as shot by me) limping toward the restaurant we went to on the day after Christmas. Remain calm, I'm sure that by the time you see this, Meaghan will have doffed her crutches.

Nonetheless, the point of the story is that your children should try to support you; just as you try to support them. So when I mention my pending vampire movie, what do I get? At exactly the :40 mark, the scoffing response of Elizabeth is there for all to see.

I don't believe they fully appreciate me.

I mean, really. I think my logic (as roughly verbalized from :47-:59) holds fast ... is unassailable ... a Maginot Line of a sort. Simply put, here in print: Nobody thought I'd amount to much as a painter and, bang, there you are. Eat that, haters. So how hard, really, can it be to make a vampire movie with a Canon XL-1 (the camera that made pornography what it is today) and two or three Flip video cameras (on which this footage was shot)? I mean, how hard? Plus, it's not even a movie. It's a five-night-a-week television series. Between you and me, I've sized up the competition and I am not fazed.

The show, by the way, is called "The Horror/The Horror." It's like "Frost/Nixon" meets "The Blair Witch Project."

Top that.

Christmas Eggs

Spent the weekend in the Catskills. Really there's nothing to do there but cook and drink gin and tonics with extra lime.

Although this video is titled "Christmas Eggs" they were actually filmed several days later. The bacon shot reminds me of one of those Gilbert and George paintings. This one, titled "Blood on shit", is a classic:

The focus on the painting is a little better than the video itself, but hey--I'm still figuring out how to work my new camera.

And this, I can assure you, is The Yule Log itself. Brought to you, annoyingly, wide screen format. Which means, as near as I can tell, it's gonna shmoo over into the right column. But really, what the hell. It's Christmas.


Hate Mail

Season Three of The Year of Magical Painting has been a momentous one. That said, I'm pleased to announce that another milestone has been achieved.

As follow up to my 20/20 piece I have received some hate mail. To wit ...
I saw the 20/20 piece, $28,000 for a painting, then trying to pitch it on 20/20. Who's the greedy one now? Maybe it's time for a self portrait!

Chico Potvin
Biddeford, Maine
Who is this Chico Potvin guy? Ordinarily I redact the name of whoever's email I might miscellaneously share on TYOMP. But yo, I'm wondering? If that's even a question. What gives this guy the right to sit in judgment of me? What gives this guy the right to determine whether my pricing structure represents actual greed or merely sensibly behavior within a set of market dynamics? My daughter Elizabeth, who, as I type, is in the other room, said, upon reading Mr. Potvin's screed, "Thank God you've got me for emotional support."

Thank God indeed. Although, truth be told, I'm not bothered at all. If this is the worst thing that happens to me today I'll be fine. Truth be told, it just gives me something about which to make a fuss. So I'm going to keep talking about it until you are sick of the subject of hate mail.
Oh shit, I'm having a vision!
A what?
A vision! One of those quasi-mystical psychodynamic moments when you know what you are experiencing can't possibly be real but it feels that way nonetheless.
Like an hallucination?
It's a lot like an hallucination except the term "hallucination" makes me seem like a whacko wheras the term "vision" makes me seem like a mystic. Like somebody in touch with the music of the spheres. Stuff like that.
Interesting distinction. What is it?
Okay...okay. Let me get it straight. I'm in Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are playing the Islanders. I've just read my hate mail aloud over the public address system. And everybody's chanting the same thing over and over again.
What are they chanting?
They're chanting "Potvin sucks!"
Wow. Cool vision.
Really. You don't know the half.
Do you usually precede your Hs with "an" rather than "a"?
I do, most of the time, yes. It's a conditional thing. You?
I'm of two schools.
Aren't we all. I stopped trusting the English language back when, apparently completely out of the blue, everybody stopped pronouncing "harass" with the emphasis on the last sylable and started putting it on the first. HAR-ass.
I hear you. Makes me think of "niche."
Exactly. Everybody used to pronounce it nitch and then suddenly, maybe twenty years ago, everybody adopted the French pronuncination.
Right. As if, in the middle of an English sentence involving the name of the capital of France, I choose to pronounce it Paree.
These are all questions.
Perhaps we'll receive some hate mail.
If we get just one, will it be an hate mail?
That's a question too.

Friday, December 26, 2008

If you're heard about me from 20/20...

If you heard about me from the 20/20 piece and are interested in an annotated painting of a controversial Wall Streeter, I have two currently available--Bernie Madoff and Alan Greenspan. Double-click on the image to read the comments.

This is "Seasons Greetings"--a portrait of scoundrel Bernard Madoff. It measures 4'x5' and is painted with acrylic paint on canvas with markers. It costs $28,000.

This is "The Fallen Prince" -- a portrait of Alan Greenspan that I painted, and had annotated, in conjunction with his testimony before Congress in October. It, like almost all of my Wall Street paintings, measures 4'x5'. The medium is acrylic on canvas with markers. It, too, costs $28,000

I also have three annotated portraits of Barack Obama (1) and John McCain (2) available. Each is an amazing snapshot of an individual election year moment. I am also working on a portrait of Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, although it is not finished.

You can see the entire set of this year's annotated paintings (most of which are sold) if you click on "November, 2008" in the Archives column just to the right of this post. Scroll down a post or two and you'll find images of all of them. Again, double-click to read the comments. Also note that the prices quoted in November are no longer accurate. The current price for an annotated painting (other than "The Annotated Palin" which I loathe so much I'm letting it go at fire-sale prices) is $28,000. That said, it is the holidays and I'm not an ogre, so if you tried to talk me down a tad I'd be willing to have the discussion.

If you are not in the mood to pay quite as much money for a painting as these go for, I am producing by commission a series of smaller annotated works on paper. These are priced at $2,800 and I am doing ten of them at this price. You get to pick the subject and I execute it on paper in the same manner as the paintings in the 20/20 piece, although the annotation process differs slightly.

Contact me at and I would be happy to discuss both matters further.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Steve Jobs (channeling, I presume, Vin Scelsa) thinks I should be listening to the nine minute live version of "Sweet Jane" by Lou Reed. On my iTunes window it's marked "explicit," which makes it that much better. There's a lot of talk, and after you've listened to it several times that part of it gets a bit old, but still, if this is what Steve wants then that's what I'm going to do.

Merry Christmas, Steve.

Me? Having opened all my presents I'm on my way to the 11:30. I'm wearing my navy Welch's polo shirt and black jeans with a big goober of blue paint on the right front thigh.

Merry Christmas to me.

A while back I talked a lot about painting a Madonna with Child scene. What interested me was the idea of seeing the back of the baby Jesus' head through the splayed fingers of his Mother. Since it's a religious painting, there will, of course, be a halo. I like the idea of the halo streaming through the fingers as well. I haven't figured it out yet, but it is on my mind. I'm calling it "Mother with Extraordinary Child."

Also, I'm thinking about putting ads on The Year of Magical Painting. Not so much to make money (since my traffic levels are typically too low) but rather as an additional visual element. Plus I'm amused by the general stink of an artist selling out.

Merry Christmas to you.

I'm reminded of that song from "Miss Saigon."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Remain Calm...

Remain calm. Spencer and Heidi didn't quite get the job done. So, that said, I can assure you that I'm glad I didn't pull all my skin off.

Oh, and here's a mostly annotated "Seasons Greetings."

The red markers are inscribed versions of annotations submitted through The green ones are annotations gathered at the Peter McManus Cafe.

"Seasons Greetings" -- 4'x5', acrylic on canvas with makers, $28,000

Spencer and Heidi

Can you believe Spencer and Heidi got married? She's telling her mother right now (on Tivo) and I'm so physically uncomfortable I think it might be better if I just peeled my skin right off and sat there, nerves exposed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The blue light was my baby... Volume 3

Actually there might be seven boxes. Top left, blue area; top right, eye and forehead; middle left, blue/green area (what a glorious color that is); middle right, nose; middle right (volume 2), the orange band that doesn't seem to extend across the entire image but, rather, seems content to exist only on her face; bottom left, light blue area; and bottom right, mouth.

That's seven. If you're counting.

Also, and I ask this purely as food for thought, is it a better painting cropped like this?

The idea being that the vertical line described by the side of her face evenly bisects the image? Hmmm, these are questions. Feel free to vote.

The blue light was my baby... Volume 2

Just to recap: The blue light was my baby. And the red light was my mind.

All by way of saying, I suppose, that I've not forgotten about this picture. It haunts me, in fact. Because I want to paint it, but am afraid I'll just screw it up in one of those embarrassing scenarios where the painting is so bad it makes the other people in the room uncomfortable.

Do you ever have paintings like that? "Waitress #5 (torso)" is like that (although I think I've turned a bit of a corner).

Now, go back and reread the above but change, in your head, all the present tense verbs into past tense. Because I'm not afraid of Big Edie anymore. I used to be afraid, but now I've figured it out. I once was blind but now I C.

U C, dear reader, I didn't realize that, when push comes to shove, if you just paint it like a huge obscured box painting, albeit one with only four boxes, it'll turn out fine.

The boxes, from top to bottom, are the blueish band that shows her eye clearly, the greenish band that contains her nose and the other eye, the orange blur just below band #2, and the bottom band with her mouth.

My previous thinking was that I was going to paint her face, then superimpose what we are calling bands 2 and 3. What a terrible idea that was. Destined, as certainly as the sun will rise tomorrow, to be one of those embarrassing scenarios where the painting is so bad it makes the other people in the room uncomfortable.

Do you have paintings like that?

Anyway, it is also worth noting that the coloring of band 1 is really quite different than the coloring of band 4. Which, I think, is what makes the photo so interesting.

Herewith, we proceed apace. Come Watson, the game's afoot. Whatever any of that means.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The blue light was my baby...

It's 10:40 am and it's snowing. And although I will shortly step out the door and confront the elements, I've spent the last hour or so drinking coffee, reading The (Facsimile) Times online and listening to the Genius setting on iTunes.

Are you familiar with this program? You pull up a song (let's say "Love in Vain" by the Rolling Stones) from your library, hit the Genius button and up pops what Steve Jobs (channeling, I presume, Vin Scelsa) thinks are the 25 most interestingly related songs currently in my computer. They also recommend some other ones as well--ones you can buy, of course.

What makes this fun is that up pops more stuff than you ever dreamed you even had on your computer. Although not on today's particular list, "Ina-gadda-da-vida" (spelled roughly) has been showing up a lot. I have 3300 songs on iTunes--probably about average, I would guess--and really, who knew I even owned that one? A soul loses track. I wonder if I have "Smoke on the Water."

The other part that's fun is that when the right song comes up, I jump up from the computer, sling my guitar over my shoulder, stand at the window and play slide guitar while the snow comes down. I mean, Lord-have-mercy, this is a soothing experience.

Who was that famous cartoonist who said: "The hardest thing about my job is convincing my wife that staring out the window is an important part of it?" James Thurber has now come to mind but I'm not going back and restructuring that last sentence.

And getting back to the notion that playing slide guitar while looking at the snow is a soothing experience, if we could: I'm a terrible slide guitar player, so the soothing part applies only to me, the player. I only switched to a slide after my left hand stopped working in a conventional manner. I'm sure that to people walking past within earshot the sound more resembles the strangling of a chicken. Or perhaps a ten-year-old learning the violin.

Keith Richards used to say "I can play slide guitar, but there was always somebody in the room that could do it better."

Steve Jobs (I hope he isn't really dying) currently thinks that Tom Waits singing "Jersey Girl" is what I should be listening to. So I am. But I'm thinking about "Love in Vain."
Well I followed her to the station
With a suitcase in my hand
Yeah, I followed her to the station
With a suitcase in my hand
Whoa, it's hard to tell, it's hard to tell
When all your love's in vain

When the train come in the station
I looked her in the eye
Well the train come in the station
And I looked her in the eye
Whoa, I felt so sad so lonesome
That I could not help but cry

When the train left the station
It had two lights on behind
Yeah, when the train left the station
It had two lights on behind
Whoa, the blue light was my baby
And the red light was my mind

All my love was in vain

All my love's in vain
The snow is beautiful. And it is really coming down. A freaking deluge, if that's an appropriate use of the word. I love the feel of the neck of my guitar against my thumb, the feel of the strings against my slide. Poor Robert Johnson--that is a really sad song.

Just to recap: The blue light was my baby. And the red light was my mind.

Life is good.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Seasons Greetings

Looks a bit like Tony Bennett, doesn't he.

I like the title.

Actually I like the painting too. Back to the title, though, the alternative was "a shande for the goyim," but I thought it might be a little obscure. For the goys at least.

This, by the way, is your last opportunity (at least as offered by me) to offer a comment through Since you've waited so long, you now have to scroll through three or four pages to get to the post--although you can't miss it since there are three thumbnails of my paintings staring you in the face.

I, by the way, would put the number of TYOMB readers who have already taken the time to offer up their thoughts as exactly zero. This, I can tell you, really pisses me off. This, I can tell you, is how people like John McCain get elected. There are life lessons at work here--issues like friendship, loyalty, the support of the arts, the willingness to give back to a cause that has given you so very much. And a ton of other shit.

Consider yourself warned.

Addendum: If you can't think of an annotation, write "I am Spartacus."

Monday, December 15, 2008

As we work our way down the face of the painting...

Well, perhaps I spoke too soon with all that negativity about "Waitress #5 (torso)." Completed, as evidenced below, are Squares 13-16.

And I'm kind of liking it.

But more importantly, take a look at the bottom row, still a work in progress:

Note the fingers on Square 20--a new development. I mean, everybody should have a few fingers (although if you follow that argument too scrupulously you can come up with the notion that everybody should have head too, and Waitress #5 is definitely headless).

Anyway, I'm liking the fingers and I'm wrestling with what to do with the other hand. I spent a lot of time this evening staring at the painting on the easel, just as you see it above, listening to music and reflecting on fingers (in lieu of starting in on Bernie Madoff). I must admit the whole experience would have been enhanced with a couple of fingers of unblended Scotch, but hey, you do what you do.

Me? I'm sanguine.


I want you to stop what you are doing and go to Dealbreaker.  

Scroll down to the bottom of the first or top of the second page to a post entitled "Say it to his face."  The subject is my Dealbreaker-only annotated painting of hypercriminal Bernie Madoff.  The idea is that, given the weather (today's spectacularly lovely temperature notwithstanding), the outdoor annotation season is over.   So Dealbreaker and I came up with the idea of gathering comments from their readers.  Your job is to become one of those, if only for a moment or two, and post an annotation in their comments section.

Do it now so you don't forget. 


I just met a girl named Maria

Actually I don't know anybody named Maria, but I'm watching "West Side Story" and Tony (a cheeseball of the first rank) just sang "Maria" and, I mean, really ...

Say it loud and there's music playing
Say it soft and it's almost like praying

Now that, I'm here to tell you, is a lyric. To be able to paint like Sondheim ...

I'll never stop saying Maria

Did you know that they decided Natalie Wood couldn't sing well enough so they dubbed all her songs? This I find troubling.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The power of positve thinking

The strategy is as follows:

We white out squares 13 through 20. We then rethink the top arm with more yellow and the bottom arm with more red--like the color of the thighs you see below.

The thighs then become more yellow, or at least yellow blending into a kind of rose color.

That's the theory. Unfortunately, this is what we currently have:

I know you people love the behind the scenes stuff. So here's the back of "Waitress #5."

The biggest mistake you can make, once everything is masked off, is confusing which end of the painting is the top and which end is the bottom. Putting an arrow on the back solves a number of problems in this regard.

Plus, metaphorically, it's like a big thumbs up. It's a symbolic statement of optimism. The glass, you see, is half full. Everything will be all right. Stuff like that. It's about thinking positive thoughts.

I like to tell my children to think positive thoughts. But what, really, are the chances of this ending well? Me--I'm thinking very low. Me? I'm not thinking positive thoughts. Which makes me a hypocrite, I suppose. I hope my children don't read this.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Old Bobby Lee

I'm worried about Waitress #5.

Worried enough to consider whiting out the bottom eight boxes and rethinking her forearm and thighs. 'Cause as it stands now, her arm looks so much like a turkey drumstick that all I can think about is Thanksgiving. Which is fine most of the time, but not in this particular situation.

This, by the way, is Old Bobby Lee:

Old Bobby is a 4'x5' obscured box portrait of the Confederate general. Man, I love this painting. I call it to your attention to illustrate just how cool the OBT can be.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The 8th and 9th Innings...

The 7th Inning Stretch is history. Here's what happened today:

For starters, all the existing painted surfaces are masked off and we smush down some paint...

Dribble some more ....

And finish this set of boxes ...

You wouldn't think, to look at it, that it's finished, but it is. At least for now. Then mask it off...

Smush down some paint...

Smush down some more...

And the final set is done and next step is to unwrap the damned thing--almost a moment worth savoring, good or bad ...

This, as a still shot, is what we unearthed:

Some corrections get us to here...

Interesting. I'm troubled by something about the forearm that occupies the lower third of the picture. So I mess around with it a little bit more...

At which point, I go home to stew (in a good way). Somebody said she thought my palette was pretty. Truth be told, I might have been better sticking with the version just before this one. But hey--never up; never in. One must strive.

As Herm Edwards once testily said, "The reason you play the game is to win."

We're all pretty excited. Tomorrow is the end--I'll maybe mess with it a little bit more, sign the thing and then throw down about five layers of varnish. Which might, actually, take more than a day. But I don't count the varnish as the painting process. I view it as something else.

A note on confidentiality

In a perfect world, the first image you would have seen in the post just below this one would have been the photo I am working from. But I promised the individual currently referred to as Waitress #5 that I wouldn't splash photos of her nude body across the internet. So I'm not.

That said, send me $500 and I'll send you a lovely jpeg.

Naaaah--just fooling. I'm afraid you will have to live or die with the painted image. Which I would describe as walking a mile in my shoes.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The 7th Inning Stretch

We haven't seen an obscured box painting in this parts for quite a while, so the term "7th Inning Stretch", as it applies to this particular process, perhaps merits explanation. T7IS is what I call that moment when the painting is half done--either in horizontals or verticals--and I take all the masking off and just let the magnificence of the thing wash over me. Or not, depending on how pleased I am with what I see.

Here, I think I'm feeling pretty good. So you'll get them in order:

This is what you saw before--just the canvas taped out...

Plus some paint ...

Plus some more paint ...

I'm loving Box 8.

That said, the first set of boxes is now finished (more or less--I reserve the option to continue to fix what needs to be fixed once all is revealed) so we cover everything we've done so far with newspaper. The fun of the obscured box technique is that, for my next trick, I shall try to paint the second set of boxes without the benefit of seeing what's going on with the now-masked, adjacent boxes.

The excitement is rendered all the more acutely when you realize that I have poor short-term memory, so really, I usually have no clue as to what exactly happened before this ...

Here's the masking in place ...

And here, after a while, is how the second set of boxes ends up looking like ...

Then we tear off the paper and tape and we have--voila--The 7th Inning Stretch:

I like a lot about this. Repeating what I said earlier, I am particularly fond of the nipple in Box 8.

After all this down-time (plus my general sense that I'm liking where the painting is going) I'm feeling particularly fired up so I may end up finishing Sets 3 and 4 tomorrow.

Oh, and did I mention that the name of this painting is "Waitress #5 (torso)"? So even though a lot is missing, you can start to piece together the image of a nude female torso with her arms crossed over her lap.

If you're still not getting it, remain calm. It'll become clearer tomorrow night.

Watching Fred and Ginger in lieu of painting, Volume 3

Really, there can't be enough said about this clip. There's a lovely young woman at the University of Richmond (go Owls or Spiders--I can never remember which) who's writing her semantics thesis on my Wall Street paintings. Me? If I had a thesis to write, I'd write it on this dance number.

My favorite moment, just for the record, comes at 1:23.

I know how you people think...

I know, from personal experience, that you all think I'm just screwing around. That I'm watching Fred and Ginger on u-tube and not doing much else. That I've embraced some sort of ill-conceived early retirement and this will be the last you will hear of me.

Well, you couldn't be more wrong.

I mean, yes, you're right. I am doing all of the above. But just to throw you a bone, I'm passing along the beginnings of "Waitress #5 (torso)". It's a two by two-and-a-half foot obscured box painting of a recent nude subject. In case you're not a close reader, the blue stuff is tape that is regularly removed, repositioned and eventually discarded. I am not, nor hopefully will ever be, in a Mondrian phase.

This would be it:

A couple of items:

a) As I occasionally do, the background has been painted as a first step--in this case a kind of variegated mustard color.

b) I'd be farther along, but I've been obsessed with reading the NYTimes in the beta-Mac facsimile version. Not as good as the paper version but way better than the website. Way.

And, I've got a Christmas-based secret project that, like Big Walter of last December, can't be illuminated (in the classical sense) until after the deed is done, if you catch my drift.

And, as an expression of my unholy Andy Warhol obsession, I am giving serious thought to painting a series of three Edie Sedgwick portaits shot directly from the TV screen. This would be one:

Wow, what a shot this is. The other two are, in fact, very similar--part of a set of shots taken in quick succession using the ability of my new camera to actually shoot a picture at the moment you click the button (what a fucking relief that is). The only thing that's different is the quality and position of the TV scan-bar, if that's even remotely what that thing obscuring the middle of the image is.

Here are two selections from another, similar set of shots. I love the green. The relationship to Warhol is happening on about five different levels (of which certainly the first three don't need to be spelled out here) but I'm also attracted to the Hitchcockian flavor of all this as well. Particularly this second group:

If anybody has a suggestion as to what shutter speed I should be shooting at to make the band go away (which I would sometimes like to do), please forward a comment.

So I'm pretty busy in my own disfunctional way.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Watching Fred and Ginger in lieu of painting, Volume 2

Okay, I'll give you the other one too. Remember, 47 takes. Finished the thing in one day. One cut (at the top of the stairs, so they could move the camera) in over three minutes of dance. My favorite moment happens at 4:18, if you're curious.

Really, it's enough to make you want to pop your eyeballs out and scream at the top of your lungs.

For the record, Francis Bacon was fascinated with this image. He painted it at least once, as a complement to his Screaming Pope series. It would make an interesting annotated painting, yes?

Watching Fred and Ginger in lieu of painting

Did you happen to watch "Swing Time" last night?

It and "Top Hat" are thought to be the twin peaks of the Astaire/Rogers partnership and although I only caught the end of it, I did replay the final dance number about eight times. The words absolutely stunning don't begin to do it justice. 47 takes, by the way, is how the legend goes.

This one came earlier in the film:

Manomanoman, to be able to paint like that.

A couple of items:

a) The best Astaire/Rogers numbers always begin with Ginger slightly befuddled or protesting in one way or another. Watching her, in the first fifteen or twenty seconds, transform herself from the unwilling participant into a partner who's every step the match for Big Fred is one of the great joys of life. For you obsessives, in this particular clip, this exact moment occurs at the :45 mark (exactly 20 seconds into the dancing part), when she hitches up her skirt for the first time, as if to say "Game on, Freddie." There's an unfortunate cut back to "Mr. Gordon" moments later, but from there on it's like drinking a Guiness Float. Possibly better.

b) Did you see the end of the number as they leap that fence and just keep walking out the door? That's how I leave the studio every night.

c) On a personal note, Ginger Rogers is why I think I dream in black and white.

To be an artist...

"To be an artist at all
is a sort of vanity."
-- Francis Bacon

"Geoffrey Raymond is a man of both
towering intellect and the sort of
craggy good looks that makes that
new James Bond guy look like
Isaac Mizrahi."
-- Geoffrey Raymond

They're taking my boys away, Volume 2

This, for the record, is them taking my boys away. This is them packing up and taking away the spawn of my metaphorical loins:

Bolts from the head of Zeus himself made mortal by two guys with a truck and some packing materials. Oy.

Big Hank is already wrapped and ready to go. Big Ben, as you can perhaps tell from the reflective sheen, has been sheathed in tight plastic wrap. The guy on the right is getting ready to, as they say around Christmas, wrap him in swaddling clothes. Or, more accurately in this case, bubble wrap. They seem like nice men.

Good bye. Be good. Don't let anybody tell you you are not an important painting. Remember everything I taught you. Listen to Bob Dylan once a day. Don't eat the brown acid.

Friday, December 05, 2008

I love this stuff too...

So I put an ad on Craigslist for triplet Swedish hookers...
Hey, stop blogging. That's not right.
I thought your ad was for help creating a Wikipedia page.
It was.
Then what's with the Swedish hookers?
Just thinking out loud.
Well, I'm sure everybody would appreciate it if you kept that stuff to your self.
Really? I mean, if that's what they're thinking, why on earth are they reading this garbage?
Fair question, but if you'd just start over I am sure everybody would be happier.
So go ahead.
So I put an ad on Craigslist for help with developing a Wikipedia page. Got lots of responses and hired somebody I think I like. Now all I have to do is write the damned thing. I'm thinking about starting the bio section with something like: "Artist Geoffrey Raymond is a man of both towering intellect and the sort of craggy good looks that makes that new James Bond guy look like Isaac Mizrahi."

Okay, so it needs work. Regardless, back to the narrative:

So I put an ad on Craigslist and get a lot of responses. One respondent, during the course of his pitch, asks the follow:
May I ask if you are Mr Geoffrey Raymond? If so, I have seen the media coverage of your work, and I find your approach to be ingenious, and beyond excellent as art, it is a direct documentation of the times and how people are personally affected by the turmoil in our society.
A) Thank you very much, sir. You are making my day.
B) Sometimes I feel like my life is an out-of-body experience.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The subs at Pollio's

A quick note about the half tuna/half egg salad sub from Pollio's that I referenced a couple of posts back:

They do not mix the tuna and egg salad. Jeeze, what a lousy idea that would be. No--they put egg salad on one half (the word "half" here references a longitudinal measurement, not a latitudinal one. Or vice-versa) and tuna on the other. Then they put the tomato, onion and lettuce across the top, close the sandwich (as if it were a coffin, if you can envision), and wrap it in that white paper delis use to wrap sandwiches.

The key is this: When you get home, you pull the still wrapped sandwiches apart, still unaware as to which one you are going to get. The most fun is to quickly put it in your mouth, perhaps with your eyes closed, although this can be risky if egg salad is going everywhere, before you have time to identify it by smell, and just let the experience wash over you.

It's like that first glug of beer. Nothing that follows tastes as good as the first long glug. Sharp, clean, cold--it smells like ... like ... victory!

And speaking of food, I'm on my way to Elmo (a place you might almost call "the scene of the crime", at least as it relates to the genesis of my current style) later to speak to someone about a painting. Love doing that.

I love the lurkers

I love it when people just weigh in out of the blue. This from a self-acknowledged "long time lurker." I wonder how may of them there are. Perhaps legions?

Good morning from a long time lurker on your blog.

I thought that you might like to see a picture of the model (Sue Tilley) for Lucian Freud's painting. She was interviewed when Christie's sold the painting for $33mm.

She recalled posing several days per week over about nine months. While the pay (20 pounds per day) was nice, it wasn't the best part.

"The best thing was I got lovely lunches. I got taken to the River Cafe most weekends. It was worth it for that."

My favorite anecdote was regarding an art critic at an exhibition that she attended.

"The man was so mortified. It was the Whitechapel Gallery. There'd been a big exhibition on, and my painting had just been finished, so they put it in for the last week.

"So I went with my friends to see it, and there was this man - you know those so-called art lecturers who think they know everything - 'yes, this painting was painted because Lucian hated women . . .'

"I started laughing. He was going 'excuse me madam' and I said, 'well actually that's me'.

"Poor man, he thought was going to fall through a hole in the floor.

"He said: 'oh but you're really pretty in real life.'"

When I read that Christie's had sold Freud's painting for a ferocious amount even though Lucian was still alive, I was relieved. I was concerned that in order to achieve your goal you would have to pass on . . . and I would miss your blog !!

Signed, [redacted]
I love writing the word "redacted."

The picture he attached is this one:

To which I add this one:

Sorry they are both so small. I particularly hunted for a larger version of the first.

In case you have forgotten, this is the object of the discussion:

This is a painting I would love to reinterpret using the obscured box technique. I would remind you of this--my reinterpretation of Picasso's portrait of Gertie Stein:

Which, in person, is a smasher of the first rate. Underappreciated by many, I believe.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dr. Rice

Since somewhere in the Jan/Feb range I'm going to paint a series of nipple paintings featuring those members of the Bush Cabinet who annoyed me the most (the word "annoyed" here represents the degree to which these individuals, to my mind, wrought mischief on the fundamental nature of Mom, apple pie and the American Way), I thought it would be nice to say something nice about Condoleezza Rice.

As near as I can tell, her last international gig, conducted yesterday, was to play piano for the Queen, accompanied on violin by the wife of the British Foreign Secretary and three members of the London Philharmonic. For those of you out of the classical music loop, Condi played with the Denver Symphony Orchestra when she was fifteen and has accompanied Yo-Yo Ma.

She played Brahm's piano quintet, whatever that is.

Which reminds me of Potter Stewart, the Supreme Court Justice who said, in this case about pornography, "I know it when I see it." So when I tell you that I'm not familiar with Brahm's piano quintet that doesn't mean that I don't know that sitting down with some cats from the Philharmonic and banging it out in front of The Queen Elizabeth isn't something ordinary folk just can't do.

So, I mean, really. That is something. Wait til she sees her painting.

They're taking my boys away

Today, for me, is Black Wednesday.
Why, you ask? Because they're taking my boys away.
First Plaxico Burress, who I know I will miss sorely at some point in January. And then, a bit more immediately close to home, Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke. Complete strangers are coming to the studio today, sometime between one and three, armed with bubble wrap and something called "slip cartons" to pack up and cart away "The Screaming Pope" and "The Annotated Fed."

And while you know, having received payment and all that, that the day will come (the way any parent knows the day will come when the child says something to the effect of "Hey Dad, shove it up your ass. I'm out of here.") when the paintings will go away, that doesn't make it any less of a wrench.
my father was a tattoo artist in Haiphong
but his designs on mother didn't last too long
my mother sold her body, high on Betel nuts
my job was bringing red-faced monsieurs to our huts
selling your mom is a wrench
perfume can cover a stench
that's what I learned from the French

then it all changed with Dien Bien Phu
the frogs went home. Who came? Guess who?
are you surprised we went insane
with dollars pouring down like rain?
businessmen never rob banks
you can sell shit and get thanks
that's what I learned from the Yanks

I'm fed up with small-time hustles
I'm too good to waste my talent for greed
I need room to flex my muscles
in an ocean where the big sharks feed
make me Yankee, they're my fam'ly
they're selling what people need

what's that I smell in the air
the American dream
sweet as a new millionaire
the American dream
pre-packed, ready-to-wear
the American dream
fat, like a chocolate eclair
as you suck out the cream

luck by the tail
how can you fail?
and best of all, it's for sale
the American dream

greasy chinks make life so sleazy
in the States I'll have a club that's four-starred
men like me there have things easy
they have a lawyer and a body-guard
to the Johns there I'll sell blondes there
that they can charge on a card

what's that I smell in the air?
the American dream
sweet as a suite in Bel-air
the American dream
girls can buy tits by the pair
the American dream
bald people think they'll grow hair
the American dream
call girls are lining time square
the American dream
bums there have money to spare
the American dream
cars that have bars take you there
the American dream
on stage each night: Fred Astaire
the American dream

shlitz down the drain!
pop the Champagne!
it's time we all entertain
my American dream!


come ev'ryone, come and share
the American dream
name what you want and it's there
the American dream
spend and have money to spare
the American dream
live like you haven't a care
the American dream
what other place can compare
the American dream
come and get more than your share
the American dream

there I will crown
Miss Chinatown
all yours for ten percent down


the American dream!
Remind me sometime to tell you about my then friend Jay Van Vechten and I scalping tickets to Miss Saigon in London and then sneaking into the empty box right above the stage.

The operative lyrics here are, of course:
selling your mom is a wrench
perfume can cover a stench
that's what I learned from the French
Selling your painting's a wrench ... is all I'm saying. And it's not even like that scene in "Sophie's Choice" where she has to pick one. They're taking both of them away.

Thank God "Woody Alan Greenspan" remains. And let me tell you this.
What are you going to tell us?
Oh, right. Let me tell you this: It's going to take a lot of fucking money to pry "Woody Alan Greenspan" out of my hands.
Wow. It's like your channeling some weird fusion of Vivien Leigh and Charlton Heston.
Really? Then let me tell you this: As God is my witness I will never be hungry again!
That's the spirit ... except that you are constantly hungry.
True enough, but the idea is that I'll always have enough money to go to Pollio's and buy a half tuna/half egg salad hero with lettuce, tomato and onion.
That's an inspirational thought. What's that I smell in the air?
The American Dream?

Monday, December 01, 2008

The insects are eating each other...

The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.
Even within the most beautiful landscape,

in the trees, under the leaves the insects
are eating each other; violence is a part of life.
Francis Bacon

Now we're getting someplace. That's what Vietnam was like. Likewise, high school.

I would draw your attention to Cheerleader with Banana (Fallen Angel):

Really, you can almost feel the insects. You can smell 'em. You can hear 'em chompin' around in the fetid, rotting, tree-trunk ridden swamp.

Likewise, my boy Lucian's socko 1995 masterpiece called Benefits Supervisor Sleeping...

Lord have mercy, that's a painting! Somebody get me Faulkner on the phone.

I bought a new camera

I bought a new camera. And while I don't have anything to show for it, I did spend quite a bit of time in the studio, just admiring the magnificence of it all.
The Month of Mystical Painting has begun.
If you listen carefully now you can hear.
More substance to come.