Friday, July 31, 2009

And here's a movie...

Not really a movie. More of a sequence of images, just to put one more painting to rest. Ahhh ... closure. Time to move on.

Here's the movie...

I like this painting a lot. But you could argue that it was at its best at either stage 3 or 4. And it was Stage 3, for you close readers, that directly led to "73 Notes to: Pedro Espada."

Which, you could argue, is either a good thing or a bad thing.

A word to the Readership

Here's a note to you, dear reader. You must not only always do the things I recommend you do, but you must do them immediately. Case in point? The John Tudor Jones video (from a couple of posts ago) has been taken off u-tube. If you missed it, you missed some good clean fun.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dancer #3 ...

... is complete. All, that is, but about ten layers of gloss varnish.

Dancer #3 (Reclining--Chelsea Hotel)

Me? I'm delighted. Particularly with the way (if I do say so myself) I retained the black and gray checkerboard pretty aggressively but let the flesh tones, by and large, minimize it.

This from Bruce Springsteen (which I play as I type):
Princess cards she sends me with her regards
barroom eyes shine vacancy, to see her you gotta look hard
Wounded deep in battle, I stand stuffed like some soldier undaunted
To her Cheshire smile. I'll stand on file, she's all I ever wanted.
But you let your blue walls get in the way of these facts
honey, get your carpetbaggers off my back
you wouldn't even give me time to cover my tracks.
You said, "Here's your mirror and your ball and jacks".
But they're not what I came for, and I'm sure you see that too
I came for you, for you, I came for you, but you did not need my urgency
I came for you, for you, I came for you, but your life was one long emergency
and your cloud line urges me, and my electric surges free

Crawl into my ambulance, your pulse is getting weak
reveal yourself all now to me girl while you've got the strength to speak
Cause they're waiting for you at Bellevue with their oxygen masks
But I could give it all to you now if only you could ask.
And don't call for your surgeon even he says it's too late
It's not your lungs this time, it's your heart that holds your fate
Don't give me money, honey, I don't want it back
you and your pony face and your union jack
well take your local joker and teach him how to act
I swear I was never that way even when I really cracked
Didn't you think I knew that you were born with the power of a locomotive
able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?
And your Chelsea suicide with no apparent motive
you could laugh and cry in a single sound.

And your strength is devastating in the face of all these odds
Remember how I kept you waiting when it was my turn to be the god?

You were not quite half so proud when I found you broken on the beach
Remember how I poured salt on your tongue and hung just out of reach
And the band they played the homecoming theme as I caressed your cheek
That ragged, jagged melody she still clings to me like a leech.
But that medal you wore on your chest always got in the way
like a little girl with a trophy so soft to buy her way
We were both hitchhikers but you had your ear tuned to the roar
of some metal-tempered engine on an alien, distant shore
So you, left to find a better reason than the one we were living for
and it's not that nursery mouth I came back for
It's not the way you're stretched out on the floor
cause I've broken all your windows and I've rammed through all your doors
And who am I to ask you to lick my sores?
And you should know that's true...
I came for you, for you, I came for you, but you did not need my urgency
I came for you, for you, I came for you, but your life was one long emergency
and your cloud line urges me, and my electric surges free
I mean, really! Bob Dylan once said he could never come up with the stuff in his early songs. Bruce has gotta be thinking the same thing. Your cloud line urges me? My electric surges free?

I mean, really! Is all I'm saying.

Me? There's a very real part of me that desperately wishes I could paint this again:

And this:

One looks like God. The other looks like a stained glass window.

And hey--if you don't think painting is like prayer then you just don't understand it.

And I'd like to revisit the word "desperately." I'm happy with my current lot, and you can't look back so much you bump into something. And when I paint something like this...

Well ... my electric literally surges free. Which, let me tell you, dear reader, is an astonishing sensation.

So I'm good.

Good God Almighty! I'm a Republican

I was reading a post on my cousin's blog, Red Elephant, the other day titled, I think, "Republicans DOA on Healthcare Reform" and smiling in that smug, self-satisfied way that Democrats do while they witness the chaos engulfing the thing formerly known as the Grand Old Party (Ole? Grand Ole Party?) when I happened to cast my eyes on his bio.

It runs, in part, like this:

Allen’s family has deep Republican Party roots that include the second chairman of the Republican National Party, Henry Jarvis Raymond (appointed by President Abraham Lincoln), and a great, great grandfather, Darwin Rush James, who was a Republican Member of Congress from 1883-1887. He is the author of How To Rig An Election; Confessions of a Republican Operative, published by Simon & Schuster and has appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Real Time with Bill Maher, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Hardball with Chris Mathews and Fox News, MSNBC, NPR’s Talk of the Nation among others.

Typographically speaking, I'm going with flush right as an obvious visual metaphor--if a metaphor can be visual--illustrating the man's political leaning.

Anyway, I couldn't help but clap my eyes on one Henry Jarvis Raymond. He, I'm told, being the second chairman of the Republican National Party. Oy, I'm thinking. Oy gevalt! What if it's in my blood! What if I'm some sort of latent 21st Century Cylon?

This, I can assure you, is the last time I'm listening to All Along the Watchtower.
That's not fair.
What's not fair?
The All Along the Watchtower joke. Do you honestly think even five percent of your readership is gonna get it?
Isn't that the fun of it?
No. I call it intellectual snobbery. Like the guy who wrote "Robespierre sends greetings" on your Blankfein painting.
"To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is barbarity."
You just can't help yourself, can you?
No. I'm an asshole.
That, my friend, is undeniable. Where'd you get that quote?
(Long pause as the Greek Chorus smiles in that smug, self-satisfied way that Democrats do while they witness the chaos engulfing the thing formerly known as the Grand Old Party)
Wikipedia? You have GOT to be kidding.
Okay, okay. Here's a better one: "Any institution which does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil."
Now THAT, my friend, is a quote.
Yes it is.
Now, can you explain the Watchtower joke?
Okay, but quickly. It turns out in the final season of Battlestar Galactica that there are four latent Cylons amongst the crew of Galactica, including the crew chief and the XO. Oy. Anyway, each of them thinks they are going nuts because they hear this strange music eminating from the hull of the ship. Finally, in their search to figure out what the hell is going on, they meet face to face in the bowels of the ship. At which point they realize they are not human.
And the song they are hearing is All Along the Watchtower?
Exactly. But a very weird version.
I can imagine.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Paul Tudor Jones

Did I ever tell you about the time Dave and I went to a basketball game at the John Paul Jones Center in Charlottesville to watch the old alma mater host Florida State? Well, to make a long story short, not only did we get to see Virginia win a tightly fought game with a long jumper--maybe a three--at the buzzer, but we got to do so in the luxurious confines of UVa's (at the time) brand new basketball palace. I'm thinking it was maybe five years ago.

Well, the guy featured in this piece is the guy who gave Virginia the cash to build the palace.

Warning--this is pretty addictive. I watched this one (the first of seven), then just sat on u-tube and watched the rest. In a weird sort of way, it was like watching them build the arena. Early stages. Sort of.

The video itself, just for the record, is an extreme rarity. Gawker, of all things, notes:
A 1987 PBS documentary about trader Paul Tudor Jones is now on YouTube. This is noteworthy because after it originally aired Jones, now a multi-billionaire, demanded its removal from circulation, a move that inspired ridiculous interest in the film.

The documentary, titled Trader: The Documentary, has become legendary over the years with finance people clamoring to see it, some paying hundreds of dollars online for VHS copies, in the hopes that they might glean some savory nugget of trading wisdom from Jones.

And Dealbreaker offers:

At some point over the weekend, Trader: The Documentary made its way on to YouTube, after it went out of circulation in the 90s and Paul Tudor Jones bought up all remaining copies. Those of you who listen to every damn word we have to say watched it yesterday, and probably got a kick out of PTJ's vintage shades and pet turkey who Jones thought of as a dog. But it wasn't just entertaining-- it was educational. For the more observant ones in the bunch who were paying close attention, the flick was filled with tips on how to get a competitive edge that, when put to use, could make you a mult-billionaire one day, too. For example, start every trading session with a couple Buds. And also, prominently display pics of scantily clad/nude ladies in your domain. Whoever tickles your fancy should do just fine, though if you want to do it "just like PTJ," someone please identify the lady above at this time. She looks familiar, but we're having difficulty putting our finger on it, and Jones has yet to return calls for comment.

This man needs a painting. Go Hoos.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Squid Vicious

Herewith the results of a day behind Goldman Sachs with what I am now calling "Squid Vicious" but which formerly was called "Big Lloyd 3 (The Root)."

Do you get the squid reference? No? Well, the second sentence of Mike Taibbi's partly-fair, partly-unfair undressing of Goldman Sachs, and probably it's most oft-quoted, went something like:
The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.
Actually it went exactly like that.

Oh shit--Rachel Maddow just started talking about Goldman Sachs. Man, that thing is everywhere. Which adds some weight to Taibbi's opening sentence, which went something like:
The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere.
Actually it went exactly like that.

Me? I don't want to get into the whole relativity of evil question about Goldman Sachs or, for that matter, any of the other banks. Except maybe the vampire squids at Morgan Stanley who, when opportunity literally knocked on their front door, chose to write virtually nothing on my painting.

Note to Morgan Stanley employees: how ya gonna become masters of the universe if you got nothing in your underwear? How ya gonna become a BSD if you got no D?

Ernie DiGregorio, famous offensive wizard out of Providence College and the Buffalo Braves (rookie of the year--'73/73), was such a bad defensive player that when he hit the pros the commentariat changed his nickname from "Ernie D" to "Ernie No D." The assumption here is that he's currently playing for the Morgan Stanley league team.

Anyway, all that negativity aside, I don't want to get into the whole relativity of evil question about Goldman Sachs. I just want somebody to depart one of the upper floors of 85 Broad Street, take the elevator down, walk out the back door, stride over to me with that imperious Goldman Sachs stride (a type of walking that says something along the lines of "Not only did I go to Duke, but I played lacrosse there. And yes, everything you heard is true. I then overcame the hurdle of not going to an Ivy League school, much less someplace as fundamentally sissified as Duke, got my MBA at Wharton and then leveraged family connections to land at 85 Broad." Surely you've seen walking like this?) and say, "You, my friend, are providing a valuable and unique public service by means of your art and I would like to trade you this check for thirty-thousand dollars for your painting of my boss."

Is that asking so much?

In return for your $30K (which--c'mon, really--is the equivalent of two hard nights of bottle service, plus a shitload of drugs, plus a couple of hookers, at Marquee--and basically represents chump change for somebody who has made five/ten million dollars-plus annually for the last five/ten years), I can guarantee that for the foreseeable future, your friends are going to walk into your home or office (okay--that would take some balls) and say something like:
"Oh my fucking God! You've got one of those?!?!?!?!?"
And that, my friend, is:

a) worth way more than two nights at a fading Chelsea nightspot; and
b) the reason people buy my paintings.

And later that same night, my friend, I guarantee that you'll hear that same guy talking on his cell, saying something like:
"You are not going to believe what Figby has hanging on his wall."
And that, my friend, is how you become a master of the universe (assuming here that your name is Figby).

Final note--check this out:

Freaky, yes?
Another bottle of Patron, sir, to go with that line of blow?
Actually, that's a viperfish. This is a vampire squid:

Odd-looking, yes. But does it look like it could harm a fly? Hell, it looks like a Muppet.
Count my feet! Count my feet!
Quant Dracula? Anyway, taking the long way around in explaining the Squid Vicious comment, it's a rif on famous punk rocker Sid Vicious and the Goldman-as-vampire-squid notion.

Absolute Final Note:

The photo session for "Dancer #3 (Reclining--Chelsea Hotel)" took place in Room 103 of the Chelsea Hotel, directly across the hall from where Sid met his ugly end.

Vah Teck

I think they should let poor Michael Vick be.

He, the perpetrator of a heinous crime, has paid his debt to society, to the tune of almost two years in jail and massive financial penalties, and should be allowed to return to his day job while he still has the energy to perform it satisfactorily.

This is my friend Jake. And he agrees with me. And he hates Virginia Tech. Old school, he still calls it VPI, which makes me smile.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

This is why I take the F train to McManus

Or the R to the 2/3 to the 1, which is a hassle, but it lets you off right across the street.

Do you know why the bridge is moving? The freakin' D train is tearing the thing apart, bolt from bolt.

This is why I take the F train.

The Majesty of Lance

For the record, I'm not the biggest fan of Lance Armstrong. That said, and to quote from that woman in that play by that guy, "Attention must be paid."

The Majesty of Lance is not necessarily gleaned through traditional standards of measurement. I would use the word 'metrics' there, but I loath it. Likewise, 'granular' when it comes to talking not so much about sugar but, rather, things related to business.

Case in point, the man's sprint a couple of stages ago across the gap from the chase group to la tete de la course. Bruneel shouting into his radio, "Lance is coming. Lance is coming alone." And so he was.

Sadness too is a part of the scene. Watching the guy huff and puff on the final individual time trial--once an event he dominated so much that he, starting last (as befits the leader), pulled in and passed the guy in front of him, arch-rival Jan Ulrich who had started two minutes earlier, going by him like a missile. And Ulrich was the second best rider in the world at the time. Compared to that Lance, this one's a frail old man. There's a Lear thing going on these days with Lance.

I write this not yet having seen the battle to the top of Mont Ventoux. I leave now to do so, to watch Lance howl at the storm, with the hope that something wonderful happens but the suspicion that it won't.

At this point, it's preordained. The die is cast. The roles are set. The players now tumble towards their fates. It is, I suppose, a tragedy.
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, and germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!

Winds at the top of Mont Ventoux are reported to exceed 40mph. Plus there's a forest fire about 20 clicks away.
Rumble thy bellyful? Spit, fire? Spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
You owe me no subscription: then let fall
Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man:
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That have with two pernicious daughters join'd
Your high engender'd battles 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! 'tis foul!
The roles of Goneril and Regan will be played today by Alberto Contador.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And, of course, Squid Vicious

This makes me smile:

I mean, it makes me smile in general. But more specifically, I like "Squid Vicious?" just beneath the Lloyd in the title. Likewise, just above his left shoulder, below my signature: "Lloyd, is that hair on your palm?"

I'm thinking (and I don't usually do this) about reentering the painting and doing something about his double chin. Not in an effort to make him look better. No. But there's something about it that bugs me. Probably the unrealisticness, if that's a word (obviously, it isn't), of the thing. I wonder if I could just let it fade into the sort of black that defines the shoulders of his jacket.

Other faves include: "Everyone remain calm. We're making money again" and, roughly, "If Goldman is such a shithole, how come everybody wants a job here?" This last one from memory, so no guarantees.

As much anxiety as I invested in painting that hand, nice that somebody saw fit to comment.

But "Squid Vicious"!?!? That's golden.

73 Notes...

Behold the spectacle that is ...

"73 Notes to: Pedro Espada"

I'm still of the opinion that the concept is a strong one. I'm less convinced that Big Pedro is the most compelling embodiment of the concept.

Still, I'm going to bean away until I get my desired total of 73. 67 to go, by my count.

One of the problems is, nobody knows who the hell Pedro Espada is. I wonder if I should have done Hiram Monserrate instead. More memorable name, for sure. I wonder how things are on the island of Monserrat. I happened to pass it by one night in 1997, I'm thinking, on a cruise liner right after (if that's the right word--it's still erupting on to a degree) the eruption of the island's previously dormant volcano. Covered, as I understand it, two thirds of the island. I woke up the next morning and ran my hand along the ship's railing. A light dusting of volcanic ash. I never saw the island itself.

Anyway, if you have a note to offer Pedro Espada, let me know.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Limited Edition Prints

I have reproduced a number of my most popular paintings into series of signed, limited-edition prints. Each measures about 24" by 32" and they are signed and numbered on the front in editions of 100. The cost is $250 per print, which includes shipping within the United States. I also offer them unsigned for $100, but how interesting is that?

This is what one of the Red Geithner prints looks like. To give you a sense of scale, I've added a paint-speckled shoe.

Here are the images currently available as prints:

Red Geithner

The Annotated Fed

The Fallen Prince

Big Maria I (Plane Too Many)

The Annotated Fuld

If you have a particular favorite, let me know and I'll see if I can accommodate you.

To purchase, send me an email at and I'll give you the address to which to send your check. I'll also be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

74 Notes... continued

Yo-check this out:

Not close to being done, but I'm thinking it's borderline off the dial. Or hook. Whichever is cooler. And when it's done?

Yo! is all I'm saying.

My comment, which I will insert in the box in the middle of his mouth, will read something like:
"I don't give a shit about you, or what you think. So, no matter how excresant my behavior, don't expect an apology from me"
If I had one critical thing to say about The Year of Magical Painting, Season Four (and prevous seasons as well), it would be something about my reliance on various versions of the word "excresance."

Other than that, I'm thinking we're golden.

Francis Bacon weighs in...

This from my boy, Frankie Bacon:
Nine tenths of the nation... Ninety percent of the people... Ninety-five percent of the people are absolute fools. And they're bigger fools about painting than anything else.
Excluding perhaps, at least here in the U.S., healthcare and the related motivations of the Republican Party.

Me? I'm Huck Fucking Finn, swimming upstream.

Monday, July 20, 2009

74 Notes ... the work in progress

At this point ...

... the smart money was mumbling under its breath. The general thinking was that it would be a miracle if anything good came of this.

And now, lo and behold, we are here:

Which reminds me of this ...

I'm not a big Damien Hirst fan, although the preserved animals--not just the shark but definitely including the shark--do pack a punch in person. But I do like a guy with fun names for his paintings. He named all his dot paintings after pharmaceuticals. The one above is called LSD.

This is the business end of the aforementioned shark ...

... named, as everybody knows by now, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.

Which has to make you smile.

We'd be further along but I walked up the hill today about 6:55 to buy some cans of paint and my hardware store was closed. WTF? I'm thinking, but then I take it as a sign from God to have some dinner and a beer. So, multitasking, I take the long way home to take me by Eagle Provisions so I could get some saurkraut and kielbasa. They were closed too. Which really pissed me off.

Tomorrow we're gonna work like bandits so I can take the thing to Peter McManus (the good thing about MobTee paintings is that they are quick. Really quick.). I fully expect, with a day's hard work, to be done on schedule. I'll just have to watch the Tour de France (which, as I've already told you, is now over, won already by Alberto Contador) recap show tomorrow night.

Of course, I could be mistaken. As Mrs. Bennet says to, perhaps, Jane, "It won't be the first time."

74 Notes to Pedro Espada

Okay. Take a look at this--an interim version of "Dancer #3 (Reclining--Chelsea Hotel)" in which three out of every four given squares has been filled in with color:

Are you with me?

Now look at this rather shifty looking portrait of Pedro Espada, rogue Democratic State Senator from New York--more specifically, from The Bronx. One of several men with direct culpability (a hot word, I acknowledge) for the recent spectacular stalemate in the State House in Albany.

Now imagine Espada's portrait rendered in roughly the same manner as the top image. Out of 320 3" squares it would take to fill my typical canvas, one quarter of them--80--will be left blank. Out of that 80, I'm computing that 6 will be filled with lettering from the title--"74 Notes to Pedro Espada" (I like the idea of one letter per square, in two lines, centered above his head). This leaves, as the title suggests, 74 white spaces in which you, dear reader, can write a note to Pedro Espada.

This is my thinking. Like little post-it notes. Or tweets, if you will (although the very typing of that word while talking about my painting makes me want to vomit). Because there's a limit to how much you can say in a 3" by 3" square.

And who is Espada? To my mind, metaphorically speaking, he's the snot running down Aqualung's nose. He's a story full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. He's the idiot telling the story. He's Al D'Amato writ small, although that might be doing D'Amato a disservice.

Metaphors aside, he's an opportunity to reinterpret a painting technique (MobTee) to allow for annotation. He's a test. He's like that little blue stick you pee on to see if you are pregnant. He's a throw-away. And I very much hope the voters of The Bronx do so as soon as they are allowed.

In the meantime, I'm painting him now, with an eye towards exhibiting him for annotation at the Peter McManus Cafe tomorrow afternoon.

Posters are, of course, available.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

There's no crying, as they say, in baseball

I refer, of course, in the largest sense, to sentiment in sports. And here, on this day when rooters for Tom Watson watch him hang in there against the younger generation, I refer specifically to Alberto Contador downshifting to second about 4K from the top of Stage 15 and pulling away from Lance Armstrong the way Armstrong pulled away from Jan Ulrich at the top of L'Alpe d'Huez in 2001.

At least Contador had the decency of not turning around and challenging Lance's manhood the way Armstrong did with what is now called "The Look."

Legend has it that about half way through the Ali/Foreman fight in Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo), after Foreman had largely spent himself, Ali whispered "Is that all you got?" Foreman, at that moment, knew he was toast.

The Tour de France is, as they say, a vicious cycle.

Anybody who saw Contador pull away from Armstrong earlier in the month in the Pyrenees who held onto the hope that Armstrong would win the Tour was just fooling themselves. Barring accident or injury, le Tour est finis.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Back to basics

I've been in an unbelievable rut, so I thought I'd recharge the batteries with a nude. This is today's work:

Interesting the thought of stopping after image 3 (with 25% of the squares left white). I mean, you could goober on a ton of gloss gel and it would absolutely glow. And there's that whole thing about how if you write a sentence with no vowels everybody can still completely understand it. Lkws tht whl bsnss abt th wy th mnd lstns t msc.

Anyway, I didn't stop there. I did this...

And then this ...

And now I'm done for the day.

For you obsessives, we are utilizing the modified obscured box technique here. The acronym--MOBT--is pronounced in conversation as MobTee.

And I can tell you, it felt better painting today than it has in a week. Now, batteries recharged, I'm thinking about Pedro Espada, perhaps done as "Red Espada" in the style of "Red Geithner."

'Cept I'd let people write stuff. Because really, how could you not?

Something like this, but, of course, in red and black against a white background with the title scrawled across the top ...

I'm not sure this is a good idea. It's certainly doing Geithner an injustice to be lumped into any category with Pedro Espada. But it's my idea and I'm trying to be nice to it. If you're mean to your ideas sometimes they don't come back. And then, at least in my line of work, you're completely screwed.

And besides, how many people--even New Yorkers--do you think would, unprompted, recognize Pedro Espada. That's why we write his name across the top of the painting.

Anyway, "Dancer #3 (Reclining--Chelsea Hotel)" looks, as a work in progress, great.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite ... 1916-2009

This is a picture of Walter Cronkite. My friend Eric and I used to say we'd never date a girl who couldn't name all four Beatles. Funny how these concepts get thrown to the side of the road under the effect of extreme stimulus. Like rats undergoing electric shock experiments.

Anyway, this is a picture of Walter Cronkite. I wonder how many people under 40 could identify him.

Anyway, this is a picture of Walter Cronkite:

And this is a sightly edited version of my post from the beginning of the month:


Me? I'm carrying around one of those blue plastic bags that The Times gets delivered in, just in case. I'm talking, of course, about the gag-inducing media spectacle that will commence upon the death of Walter Cronkite.

I remember sitting around home the other day watching Michael Jackson videos on MTV for an hour or so, reflecting that it was, to a large degree, Jackson and his interest in melding his performance skills with lavish video production that made MTV what it was--as opposed to what it is. It made me sad for a time gone by, if it's humanly possible to feel sad about the excresence that is MTV now. But, in the end, who gives a shit about that?

Walter Cronkite, and by connection the state of televised news, if such a thing even exists anymore, is another and (to my mind) far more important story. And the fact of the matter is, the journalistic values that Cronkite and his kind stood for--essentially the same sacred covenants of blah, blah, blah that used to govern print journalism as well, and were simply carried, by print journalists, over to the emerging phenomenon of television news--exist almost no place on television now. You think maybe the network evening news shows ... but really that's more hoping for the best than accepting the reality.

You fantasize that CNN is a bastion for real news, except that they were unconscionably slow in upgrading/downgrading Jackson's condition from "in coma" to "dead"--even while my friend Earl was on the phone saying "I'm telling you, he's been pronounced dead" while I'm saying back "He can't be dead. CNN says he's still in a coma."

Then, continuing with CNN, there's the now-famous Geoffrey Raymond debacle regarding their picking up something that said about me that was obviously false and running with it on Campbell Brown's evening show--presumably their flagship--as if it were fact, cast in stone. Walter Cronkite never would have done that.

And now the man is perilously close to death. Which, I suppose, at 92 is okay. My father used to tell me that anything over 75 was gravy, so good for you, Walter.

And what we will see, upon his death, is eulogy after eulogy about the greatness of the man and the importance of the journalistic values he practiced so well; offered, with great sanctimony, by people who have, by and large, completely abandoned those values in the name of money. In the name of shareholder return. Shareholder return--that most American of concepts, responsible for screwing up more of the world than perhaps anything other than organized religion.

News for money and the chicks for free.

Get ready to vomit.

I'll leave you with this classic post from November 27, 2007, posted after I had closed my first annotated painting, "The Annotated Murdoch":


The Murdoch Annotations

Dave from Richmond suggested I list the annotations on the face of Big Rupert.

Good idea, if perhaps a little labor intensive. Nonetheless, herewith, blah...blah...blah, more or less across the top, then down the left side, then down the right (just a reminder--only WSJ/Dow employees got to write in red):

Fox is what we call yellow journalism
Got Freedom of Press?
UNFAIR and IMBALANCED. stay away
Don't hate the player, HATE THE GAME
(something in Arabic)
Free Speech for Painters
You rule!!
Can you remember the day you stopped caring? K.
Keep the peace!
Excellent city (signature illegible)
Fox News not news at all
Love the WSJ
TRUTH, JUSTICE, CHAL-METTE (sig. illegible)
sup. not smart. SUP!!!
leave WSJ alone!!!
Whos in control?
News is sacred
Great portrait
Fair and Balanced?
God save us all from Murdoch (sig. illeg.)
Good luck, Denise.
Keep the WSJ out of this scumbag's hands.
Bite Me.
"awesome" vision. Good (illeg.)
Say No! (to drugs) I mean to Murdoch!
Love lives Strong (initials)
Go softly into the night
Looks Great
Don't be biased!
Preserve the public trust!
Geoff Great Job
Lenny Thacker (something)
Peace Dorian Carmen
Spain (initials)
Don't mess with the WSJ
(something in French) magnifique!
If it ain't broken don't fix it!
Death and taxes (initials)
Welcome Rupert!
A thing of... well... a thing
God bless the USA
Power must be controlled--Rupert calm down FDNY (sig. illeg.)
Great news (something)
82 degrees and sunny
News should be unbiased.
Sanjaya and you, perfect together
Good job.
Not fair + never balanced!
You go Rupert!!
Please don't break our hearts
I care to not have DBs run the news (DB=douche bag)
Britain is with you Geoff!!! All the best. Hogsham Boys
I don't care (with a circle around it)
My viewers/readers are a brain-washed cult &I know it. But so what?
All the news that's fit for an ultra-conservative media baron to print!
I'll eat your lunch too! Mike Bloomberg
Very nice
The total spin zone!
Keep our independence. Stay away (signature illegible because the person came back the next day and xxx'd it out)
May the best choice be made
Nuffa reddy.
Good move!
Great work Great artist
Beautiful!! (sig. illeg.)
"What will people think... What I tell them to think"
Keep Page 6 out of Page 1
Enslaving the world one outlet at a time.
Stay away from WSJ
Short the Eur/USD until Jan' 08 M.S.
We want truth liberty and the American way
Integrity is out the window!
give me liberty or give me death
high facts
C * * T
Go back to Midtown
WSJ is a public trust. Don't lose it.
$ $ $
I (heart) NY Esp. today.
Keep speach free! Good work
Vielfastt ist gut/Einfaltt schlecht!/Das gilt auch fur/Mein augen (very approximate rendition)
Your hot! (heart) Christina

And there we are. 91 comments total; 17 by WSJ/Dow Jones employees; with the last being my favorite. I'm only human. I wonder if Christina is coming to the opening.
Do you see the annotation in red that reads "News is sacred"? On the painting itself it's located right above Murdoch's head, almost 12 noon on the button. It was written by a young editor at the WSJ. He only had time to write the "N" before ejaculating something along the lines of "Shit, there's my editor!" He then ran over to the Sabrette's stand, bought a dog, waited for the editor to go inside, came back and finished his annotation.

News is sacred. Of all the people talking about the late Walter Cronkite, ask yourself how many of them honestly believe that. Then get ready to vomit.

Now he actually IS dead, I'm listening to Campbell Brown (the same nitwit who reported that I was taking my portrait of Eliot Spitzer on tour to the hotel room in which Spitzergate was born--lifting a humorous post almost word for word from!!!) on CNN, and I want to vomit. I don't know if it's irony, or hypocrasy, or deep sadness ... but it's palpable.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Are you watching the All Star game?--Volume 2

Word has come down, like a bolt from the head of Zeus, that it's okay to provide the link:

The link is this:

The macro link--that is to say, the link to Zero Hedge, is here.

Think positive thoughts.

Now I am watching the All Star game

But, dear reader, I'm listening to Radio Zero while I do so. I don't know if this is a secret club or not, so I won't give you the link. But baby it's better than listening to formerly-outstanding-analyst-turned-bloviator Tim McCarver.

Catching a no-hitter with Bob Gibson on the mound gives you license, but not license to kill (my brain cells).

Are you watching the All Star game?

No? Me neither.

That said, and putting the lie to my previous comment, consider this: The reason people get to be backup singers is that a) they don't mind standing in the back while whomever they are backing up thrashes around for the cameras, and b) they have an extraordinarily wide range of vocal skills. As often as not a level of skill surpassing the designated thrasher behind whom they toil.

Then, every once in a while, the backup singers become stars themselves, usually for reasons related to how sexy they look with the camera halfway down their throat while they sing "All I want to do is have some fun before I die" but sometimes, amazingly, for reasons related to their actual ability to sing.

Are you watching the All Star game?

Me? No. But I did watch the National Anthem sung by Sheryl Crow and I am here to tell you, dear reader, that she's getting an A- for her effort. I mean, she just sang the freaking song without a ton of bullshit-which gets you, for starters, at least a B--and then--praise the Lord--she declined to give in to the urge to bump up an octave as she hit the final "Free" and "Brave."

Free--EEEEH! Yo--I mean we've all heard it.

Really, it was a pleasure not to. Almost can't remember the last time I didn't.

So today is now, officially, Sheryl Crow day.

Hit it:
Hit it!
(Didn't I just say that?--Ed.)
This ain't no disco
It ain't no country club either
This is LA!

"All I wanna do is have a little fun before I die,"
Says the man next to me out of nowhere
It's apropos
Of nothing
He says his name's William but I'm sure,
He's Bill or Billy or Mac or Buddy
And he's plain ugly to me
And I wonder if he's ever had a day of fun in his whole
We are drinking beer at noon on Tuesday
In a bar that faces a giant car wash
The good people of the world are washing their cars
On their lunch break, hosing and scrubbing
As best they can in skirts in suits

They drive their shiny Datsuns and Buicks
Back to the phone company, the record store too
Well, they're nothing like Billy and me, cause

All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard

I like a good beer buzz early in the morning
And Billy likes to peel the labels
From his bottles of Bud
He shreds them on the bar
Then he lights every match in an oversized pack
Letting each one burn down to his thick fingers
before blowing and cursing them out
And he's watching the bottles of Bud as they spin on
the floor

And a happy couple enters the bar
Dangerously close to one another
The bartender looks up from his want ads


Otherwise the bar is ours,
The day and the night and the car wash too
The matches and the Buds and the clean and dirty
The sun and the moon but

She also gets additional props for correctly using "apropos" (a word frequently used interchangeably with "appropriate" by the same people who think it's okay to use "cliche" as an adverb) in Line 7.

God bless her. And America. And Eric Clapton, whom she dated.

Two riders were approaching and the wind began to howl

My boy T suggests that we get back to basics. Which is what we're doing.

Because it's July, basics means watching as much of the Tour de France live as possible. So that's what I'm doing. Eating a cantaloupe (a medium-sized French melon with orange flesh that's remarkably similar in color to the trim on the Garmin-Slipstream team), drinking coffee, reading The Times, consulting, on occasion,, wrestling with the idea that the riders might be pedaling a bit slower today in protest of the no-radio rule, letting France wash over me. Zut alors.


This being a long flat stage, the emphasis is on the sprint to the finish. I never really liked Robbie McEwen, so the emergence of Matt Cavendish as the world's dominant sprinter feels, to me, like a breath of fresh air (although lots of people think he's an asshole). Biggest disappointment? This whole Tom Boonen thing. Boonen, sometimes called Tommy the Torpedo, was caught out of season with traces of cocaine in his blood and thrown out of the tour. He appealed to the world doping authority, his argument being something along the lines of "What's the point of being a bicycling god if you can't blow a little coke every once in a while. And besides, it's the offseason and although it's not legal, it isn't on the official list of performance enhancing drugs that get you thrown out for two years." Something like that.

And a week before the Tour they told him he'd won his appeal could ride. But, truth be told, he's not his usual self. I suppose a soul needs a bit more than a week to get ready to circumnavigate France on one's bicycle.

Anyway, later I'm headed to the studio. Am working on a Barack Obama portrait on paper that I'm way behing on, plus a mammogram.

It should also be noted that the TdF does take a chunk of time out of my day, so posting will be less frequent during the next several weeks. Just deal with it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The fanbase offers some perspective

Ah, the fans. Those unwashed wretches do, on occasion, cough up something worth sharing.

This from my boy Tee:
"The blog needs work. Time to go back to the basics. Also, you need to paint more naked chicks.".
Nicely said, T. Is the implication here that "basics" means painting nude women? If so, I'll start looking for some as soon as I can. What I like about The Year of Magical Painting is that so many people get so many things from it.

Moving on, this comes from some asshole who commented on Clusterstock:
The original photo can be found here:

He traced a well-known photograph and then colored it in. Can you stay inside the lines? I knew you could. Oh, but it's supposed to be conceptual? Well, isn't that nice.

Sometimes, art is just another form of fiat currency.
Hey. Fuck you. You think he's gonna sit down for a photo shoot with me? Besides, it's conceptual.

Actually it's not conceptual. It is what it is: a painting of a guy about whom people have stuff to say. Plus the stuff. Written on it. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

That said, another Clusterstock reader suggested:
zero staying power... his work might sell well initially as a novelty, but what art collector will know who John Thain or Lloyd Blankfein is in 50 years or even 5 years? would you want a pic of Ronald Perelman or Steve Wynn or Ivan Boesky on your wall?
Now this, dear reader, is a fair question. Me? I like to think the guy's wrong. Yes I do. Time, as they say, will tell.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Allen Raymond 2.0

With the help of technology I'm turning into some kind of advanced--if advanced is the right word--version of my father.

I refer, of course, to Dad's theory that if you're reading a book--usually a work of fiction--and you start to get a little bored, the best thing to do is to begin only reading the even numbered pages. This does two things: doubles the effective speed at which you are reading the work; gets you through the slow going. When it gets to be interesting again, you downshift back into subspace drive--if subspace drive is the right phrase--and begin reading normally again.

Me? I find watching the Mets--something I ordinarily love to do--so painful now that I've come up with a new approach. First, I tape a good portion of the game (this assumes you are sporting some version of a DVR cable box or Tivo). Second, when the game gets out of hand, I begin watching it at warp speed. In this case, that's the 4x fast forward button. Third, it should be noted that the game is not really what you watch at warp speed. No, what you watch is the graphic panel at the top of the screen that shows the score, the number of outs and the position of players on the bases. I say this last part laughingly because the Mets never have anybody on base anymore.

The beauty of this is that you start out watching the game normally. Then, as is their collective wont, as the opposing team (the Dodgers, up by 5 runs by the third inning tonight, being my current example) begins to add run upon run, you shift into warp speed.
Give her all you've got, Mr. Scott
Aye, aye, Captain.
In this mode, all you are confronted with is the simple upward ticking of the number in the opponent's scoring box, laid over the blur of fast-motion video. It's a bit abstract. Easier to remove yourself emotionally.

Update: Now 7-0, Dodgers.

And when the Mets are at the plate, you just watch the outs increase til the end of a given inning. If somebody happens to get on base, you jam your foot on the clampers and screech to a halt. Usually, if the Mets have somebody on first and, let's say, one out, the next thing that happens is a double play to end the inning. So then back to warp speed and before you know it, the game is over. And you're not even drunk, because you haven't had time.

(This last part increases your general next day effectiveness, but is scant consolation when you read about the damned thing in the sports section of The Times.)

And, if somehow the Mets do score (I'm not even talking about winning the game), you can see the important stuff. If they get ahead, you watch the rest of the game in subspace drive.

And there you are: Allen Raymond 2.0

I'm a Met!

Got rained out today. Barely got 45 minutes outside Morgan Stanley. Makes me feel like a member of the New York Mets, although I believe I am practicing my trade at a significantly higher level of functionality than they theirs.

And now the sun is shining.

I'd recount more of the day except that I'm bawling like a baby after watching little Paris Jackson eulogize her father in two wrenching sentences. Talk amongst yourselves.

This, from the belly of the beast ...

Not a lot of Goldman people stepping up to annotate Big Lloyd. Several, however, did take advantage of my whisper-what-you-want-to-say-in-my-ear-and-I'll-write-it-on-the-painting-after-you-leave service.

This being my favorite:

Monday, July 06, 2009

Interested in a poster?

Interested in a poster?

As noted below, I'm printing posters of two recent paintings--Big Lloyd 3 and Red Geithner. Scroll down the blog a couple of posts and you can see pictures of both. Double click for a larger image.

I'm offering a limited edition of 100 signed posters at $250 each. Alternatively, I'll sell you an unsigned one for a hundred bucks, but that won't be nearly as cool. Standard size, about 2 and a quarter by three feet. Email me and I'll tell you where to send the check.

My email, if you can't figure out the "contact me" button, is

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Items currently for sale

I thought it might also be helpful for you to get a general sense of current inventory:

"Big Lloyd 3 (The Root)"--Awaiting annotation. $30,000 (Also available as poster)

"Red Geithner"--$25,000 (also available as poster, but really--c'mon. Buy the goddam thing)

The Annotated Murdoch-- $35,000. I am selling this on behalf of the owner. If you believe (and you are welcome not to--I sometimes wake up with the cold sweats thinking the same thing) that these paintings are unique depictions of historical moments and that they will only increase in value, then this is the FIRST painting I ever had annotated. It is the mother ship, my friend. And if you think like a collector, this is a cool one to have.

"The American Investor" -- $25,000

"The Fallen Prince" -- $55,000. Featured on the Today Show, 20/20 and in The New York Times. This is the best one of all. Period. It's hanging in my living room.

"The Enumerated Thain" -- $7,500. The pricing on this is significantly lower than the others because it's so small. Measures 2 by 2 1/2 feet.

Llunch with Lloyd ... and Posters are now available!

Me? I love a special event. So tomorrow, to celebrate the beginning of Season Four of The Year of Magical Painting (I first started writing this blog on July 4, 2006 with a post titled, I think, "Chuck Close must be freaking out."), I'll be exhibiting my portrait of Lloyd Blankfein ...

... titled, as you can see, "Big Lloyd 3 (The Root)", in the plaza behind Goldman Sachs during lunch-time. I'm calling this special moment in time "Llunch with Lloyd" and if you think the level of corporate paranoia behind Goldman Sachs is already relatively high, you should see it when I'm exhibiting a picture of the Big Guy himself.

Plus there's the annotation, which should add a note of hysteria.

Plus there's the spectre of that extremely nasty Rolling Stone piece hanging in the air like Banquo, or the ghost of Christmas to come, or somebody.

Big Lloyd is going for $30,000 but, as part of the Season Four kick off celebration, a preemptive bit of $25,000 will take it home Monday only. MONDAY ONLY.

On Tuesday, if it's not raining, I'm gonna drag it uptown and stand outside Morgan Stanley--something I've not done before--which should be a loosier/goosier experience.


Now THIS is exciting. People have been asking me about posters for a long time and starting now, I'm offering two.

First will be Big Lloyd 3. Second will be Red Geithner. This is a painting that demands to be a poster, and that's what's going to happen.

I mean, look at it:

Lord have mercy (in the non-theological sense)! I mean, look at those eyes.

This from Jaws--the scene when Quint is talking about surviving the sinking of The Indianapolis:
And, you know, the thing about a shark... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin' and the hollerin', they all come in and they... rip you to pieces.
I'm offering a limited edition of 100 signed posters at $250 each. Alternatively, I'll sell you an unsigned one for a hundred bucks, but that won't be nearly as cool. Standard size, about 2 and a quarter by three feet. Email me and I'll tell you where to send the check.

My email, if you can't figure out the "contact me" button, is

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Now THAT'S a fucking blog...

My friend Earl is a man in possession of both keen intelligence and the willingness to apply it. Me? I look in the mirror and shrug, saying, "Hey, batting .500 ain't bad." He's one of those Republicans who looks around and says "What the hell has happened to my political party?"

And who could blame him?

Anyway, help is on the way. I refer, of course, to my cousin Allen's new blog, Red Elephant.

And, because everything I write on The Year of Magical Painting is self-referential to a degree that surely must nauseate many of my readers, I'm reminded of this:

Anyway, you should visit Red Elephant. You can do so by clicking here.

And, while we're talking Republicans (and, being a sporting enough guy, you notice I haven't said a thing about the spectacle that is Sarah Palin), I would also encourage you to read Christopher Buckley's memoir "Losing Mum and Pup" if only to witness the mental and emotional gymnastics a child employs to justify the actions of a selfish, emotionally cruel and, possibly, genuinely evil man. I refer, of course, to William F. Buckley, Jr. The Lion of the Right. The writer, if you will, of the screenplay now called, simply, the Reagan Presidency. And progenitor, if you will, of the demon spawn one might call its sequels.

Currently Mr. Buckley resides in the ninth circle of Hell, keeping a seat ready for Dick Cheney (the writer, if you will, of the screenplay now called, simply, the George W. Bush Presidency).

Friday, July 03, 2009

Big Lloyd 3... further update

As of tonight:

Virtually done. I'm still scrutinizing that second chin. Signed, though, so that's something. Awaiting a title.