Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Grandmother Gladys James, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Gladys James isn't actually my Grandmother. Do you capitalize that? Anyway, who's got time to explain the intricacies of my family tree? She was my actual Grandmother's best friend. When I first moved to Brooklyn (circa 1980) I lived in the garden-level apartment in her other best friend's house--a woman named Annie Mary Bailey--on the corner of Willow and Cranberry. The three of them, apparently, were thick as thieves. And Gladys' daughter, Sandra, married my father's brother, Nick. Are you following this? And she was an influential, albeit scary, figure in my Wonderbread Years. So close enough.

Plus she bought me a bike that I still remember. A shiny black Schwinn Typhoon to be used riding around Bay Head and Mantoloking, where she kept some of her other houses.

I have vivid memories of being taken, by Big Jim the chauffeur (what is this--Huck Finn?), to visit her at her house on Columbia Heights. If you find yourself in Brooklyn Heights, it's the huge townhouse at the bottom of Montague Street. Designed, if I'm not mistaken, by Stanford White (what is this--The Great Gatsby?). Now it's a co-op, I suppose. Then, it was something to behold.

Mostly I remember the living room, with windows looking out on New York harbor and the biggest fish tank I had ever seen outside a public aquarium. The light level and generally hushed ambiance were similar to Michael Corleone's house on Lake Tahoe.

Gladys is said to have been one of a small group of powerful Brooklynites that convinced Robert Moses to run the BQE under the Heights rather than through it. This may just be old family lore, but I've seen enough passing mentions of it that I'm accepting it as the truth. But her passion was Prospect Park. For those of you not completely in the know, Prospect Park is Brooklyn's version of Central Park. Designed by the same guys--Ohmsted and Vaux. Really, it's a doozy of a park.

Quick aside: She also liked the Brooklyn Museum. Her mom, who isn't actually my Great-grandmother, donated this brace of Monets:

For the record, if I had a brace of Monets, I'd keep 'em. But that's just me.

Anyway, fast-forward to last night, where I found myself tending bar at a party sponsored by the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. I suppose part of the purpose of the party was to pry money out of the high-net-worth souls in attendance. Which makes perfect sense. And so, at some point relatively late in the proceedings, riding the wave of good vibes engendered by my Claremont Prep experience, I button-holed one of the key people and offered to donate a painting.

The look on her face makes me smile even as I type. Hmmm, she seemed to be thinking, the bartender is giving us a painting. These are moments, dear reader, to be savored.

Me? I understand that the BBG is not the same thing as the Park. But close enough, and I like the idea of making old Gladys posthumously proud (Although, for the record, she took my brother to Gstaad. All I got was a Schwinn Typhoon). And I like the idea of using my gift to help fund a worthy cause. And, with a little bit of luck, if the painting makes enough money for them (the question remains as to whether they will even take me up on the offer, but hey--I'm sanguine), they'll give me a little card that lets me get into the Garden for free.

Possibly with my mountain bike.

Although I'm guessing no on that last bit.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Live Blogging the Claremont Prep fundraiser--the final episode slash Ca-Ching! (If that's how you spell it)

Obviously none of this is actually live blogging. I mean, it's days after the fact.

I was informed earlier today, however, that The Annotated Mem Fox sold for three grand. Ca-Ching! If that's how you spell it, and if "sold" is the right word for an auction-based transaction.
They do say SOLD! when they put the hammer down.
At auctions.
Yeah. So maybe that is the right word.
Regardless, I'm delighted. The Claremont Prep people actually seem quite pleasant. They sent this image along in the general "thanks for participating" email, which made me smile.

Shows you they have sense of humor. Which counts for a lot in these parts.
I'm a big fan of Mad Men.
Me too.
And what a wreck January Jones' character is turning into. That's a great picture.
I can't wait for it to start again.
Likewise Friday Night Lights.
I would urge you to send your child there, dear reader, assuming you: a) have a child of the appropriate dimensions, and b) can afford the freight, tuition-wise.
I bet that's a ton of dough
The tuition? I would love to know that number.

Me too.
I bet it's more than what I paid for my first car.
Gimme a break. You paid $600 for your first car. Of course it's more than that.
I'm just saying.

Do you think that having paintings floating around out there that sold for three grand is good for your general sales? It doesn't worry you that it lowers your average, so to speak?
Naaah. Life is short. Plus I only painted half. A bunch of four-year-olds painted the other half, and that's gotta knock something off the top.
Fair enough.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Live Blogging the Claremont Prep fundraiser, Volume 2

This could be my best painting ever:

Perhaps not executionally, if that's even a word, but for the sheer giggle factor, painting Mem Fox with a bunch of 4 year-olds was, I have to tell you, a hoot.

I like the idea that the same essential concept (painting a portrait of a person of note, then inviting comments) works as well with the under-6 set as it does with the over-25 set.

Check this out:

Someone from the over-25 set has seen fit to throw down fifteen hundred clams for The Annotated Mem Fox. For which I am truly appreciative. I left the event early, and it was never really clear to me whether there was ever going to come a point in the evening when somebody stood up (Like that woman with the ice pick from that Michael Douglas movie) and browbeat people into bidding higher (like she does at the AmFAR events, I think). So perhaps the $1500 was eclipsed by $1600, and then again by $1700 and so on (you can see the trend). Regardless, $1500 bucks feels like a happy outcome from the point of view of the school. I hope they are pleased.

My youngest child is in her early 20s. And let me tell you, once you step away from the world of 4 and 5 year-olds, you forget what it is like. It was nice to go back for a day. It was then also nice to leave the children where they lay, not having to then worry about fixing them dinner, getting them in the bath, getting them out of the bath, getting them in bed, etc. Been there.

Lessons learned:

It is the same lesson I should have learned long before this. Which is to never let anybody write any promotional copy on your behalf without having some editorial control. The blurb in the auction catalog and on the placard in front of the painting quoted from a previous blog post titled "We never stand taller than when we stoop to help a child". Which, taken out of the otherwise relatively depraved context of The Year of Magical Painting, Season Three, feels too saccharine to me by a factor of about 75,000 percent. It makes me feel oily, in the worst way. Unctuous. Which is not only a word most people don't know how to spell but is also a character trait that should be avoided like the plague.

Were I writing it, I would have drawn the connection between what happened on this painting and what I do in real life. Leveraged, if you will, my relative visability in the Wall Street community. Mentioned, perhaps, the deep six figures that The Annotated Fuld is going for. Revealed, possibly, the fact that The Annotated Mem Fox features an inscription by me on the back, saved usually for works I really like, that reads "A Genuine Geoffrey Raymond Thing." Something like that.

Anyway, these are all quibbles. Far more interesting is this:

If you look at the Mem Fox canvas, you can see the word "Michael" scrawled up the right hand side. The M and the I seemed to give my young annotator some trouble, but he hit his stride with the CHAEL. And, as everybody knows, it's not how you start--it's how you finish.

Now consider Day Two of Red Geithner.

More particularly the right side of the canvas, at about the 2 o'clock mark. Somebody wrote "Mike".

Same kid.

Which just goes to show you that life is either a circle or (more likely) a slinky.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

If, somehow, you find yourself here by way of the Claremont Prep fundraiser, do the following:

If you are under 18, turn off your computer and tell your parents that you have been a bad person.

If you are an adult, poke around all you want. My email is and the best way to talk about the paintings that are currently for sale is to just drop me a note. Otherwise, type the name of a famous Wall Street guy in the search box and see what fun you can have. Most of the images are medium-hi res and if you double click them you can experience them in their full glory.

If glory is the right word.

Live Blogging the Claremont Prep fundraiser

Actually this isn't live. I'm now home and intent on watching the Mets. But you couldn't have imagined a lovelier event. Details to follow. And, in the out of body experience that is my life, it was pleasing to find myself next to Ed Ruscha--another guy who writes on his paintings--in the auction guide.

Do you own a suit?

I think I need to buy a new one. I'm attending the Claremont Prep fundraising event (where, among other things, the painting that I created in partnership with the Claremont Pre-K is up for auction) and feel like it might be a dressier event than my usual sort of things.
I can barely imagine how sordid your usual sort of things must be.
Best not to ask.
I'm not. I'm just saying.

Well, I can tell you this: it's worse by half than anything your imagination can conjure.

Really? By half?

Perhaps 55%.


Anyway, I'm not sure my suit even fits me.
Man, that is pathetic.
What? That I don't know if it fits me?

No. That you are using the singular. "My
How many do you have?

We're the Greek chorus. We don't wear suits; we wear togas and stuff.

What about before you joined the chorus? When you had a real job?

Hmmm. Certainly more than five. Ten maybe.

Wow. Where are they now?

In my closet, I guess. I'm not even sure they fit me.

I'm gonna have to try mine on and see. I'm dreading the experience.
Why don't you just do the usual thing--black jeans, polo shirt, blue blazer?
Would that be okay?
Sure. It's not like they're going to kick you out. You're the star of the show.

Really? The
If not
the star then certainly a part of the constellation.
Jackson Pollock once famously urinated in Peggy Guggenheim's fireplace.
They didn't kick him out.
If they have a fireplace, you should totally take a pee in it
Do you know what Willem de Kooning once told Ruth Kligman?

I don't even know who Ruth Kligman is.

She was Jackson Pollock's girlfriend. She was the only survivor of his fatal accident. Later she dated de Kooning.
She was the one played by Jennifer Connelly?


The bad boys always get the the hot chicks. You should totally be peeing in that fireplace.

Or otherwise making a spectacle. Try getting drunk and slugging the headmaster.
Wow, the mind reels.
Doesn't it?
So what did Willem de Kooning tell Ruth Kligman?

He said, and I'm roughly paraphrasing: "They don't know what it's like. They think it's easy. They don't know it's like jumping off a 12-story building everyday."
Wow. What was he talking about? Getting dressed up?

, man! He was talking about painting!

This is a photo of de Kooning and Kligman. She is thinking about how much she looks like Elizabeth Taylor. He's thinking about that 12-story jump.

This is a de Kooning called "Ruth's Zowie":

This is my painting titled "Dancer #3 (Reclining, Chelsea Hotel)"

I'm totally getting more action than de Kooning!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Red Geithner and the perils of the bar

The bar I'm of course referring to is the Peter McManus Cafe. The only non-Wall Street location where I regularly exhibit my work. The place where, just last very night, I exhibited the now-annotated Red Geithner. Which looks like this:

Which I like. By and large.

As you may know, dear reader, I typically hand people markers and say "write anything you want but stay off the face." Rarely do I encounter the sort of transgressor who's of a mind to draw a big X through the face of some business or government figure who he, or she, believes has, say, robbed him, or her, blind.

And I'm surprised that the big X hasn't actually happened. I mean, some of these people are pissed.

Anyway, the bar is different. More of a free-for-all, if you will.

So there I stood, last very night, Bud Light in hand, talking to a friend, idly watching a woman grab a pen and draw a question mark (odd how many question marks are cropping up on this painting--I count 3) just below the N in Geithner. Good, I'm thinking. Insightful. Querulous (if that's either: a) a word; b) the correct use of the word; and c) the correct spelling of the word).

Then--as quick as the dog when she sees that some asshole, who thinks the streets of Brooklyn are an acceptable dumping ground for his, or her, chicken bones, has, in fact, deposited one--the woman stoops and haves at Geithner's forehead.
Nobody appreciates your appreciation of a convoluted sentence more than me, but that one's a disaster.
It is, isn't it?
Yes it is.
What should I do about it?
What if you deleted the comma after "asshole"? That might help.
I never delete commas. I only add them.
Okay. Let's just leave it be.
Like a car accident, things sort of slowed down for me. Truth be told, I probably had the opportunity to shout something out to her. But I just kind of let the events flow.

I've cropped the painting so you can see both, here:

For those of you who need help locating the question marks, I would call your attention to the upper-right and lower-left corners of the image. I wonder what she was thinking. Perhaps it was something like "I wonder what he was thinking."

Anyway, what are you going to do? Life goes on. I kind of like how the annotations are developing. Particular the references to Geithner's tax filing problems.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What, exactly, is my legal responsibility to the Post Office?

My guess? Zero.

More to the point, consider this pallet that I found in a trashheap on 16th Street:

It measures 40" x 48" x 6". The nine indentations you see, which serve as "legs" of a sort, I suppose, are responsible for the six-inch depth of the thing.

You can see them better from this angle, as well as the strangely rosy glow of the thing:

I love that weird, beaded border. I think when I paint the painting (I suppose this would be a good time to inform you that I plan on using it as the "canvas" for a portrait), I'm gonna mask everything from the border out and just paint the inner rectangle.

I should also add that the thing is filthy.

I am proud to plant my flag in the continuum of painters who grabbed things from junkheaps and painted on them. The list is extensive and I'll spare you the details. Jean Michel Basquiat, for the record, used to steal pieces of molding and use them as stretchers for his paintings. He would just overlap the things, nail on the canvas and gesso the thing til it was of a piece.

This would be one of those:

Also consider, on a related note:

So enough with Basquiat (although it is worth noting that I wandered into a show in Chelsea--maybe one of the Pace galleries--and saw an amazing illustration of the relationship between him and Dubuffet, with some Rosenquist in the middle).

This Dubuffet is quite Basquiat-like, I think. I'm not sure why it's indented, but there it is regardless.

Anyway, the real question has to do with this bit of embossing:

It says something to the effect of: "The penalty for theft or misuse of postal property is punishable by blah, blah, blah..." At some point the words "$1,000 fine" and "3 years imprisonment" are mentioned--either of which certainly take the edge off the string cheese and vegetarian chili (with bacon) omelet I ate this morning.

But hey, I didn't steal the goddam thing. It was discarded, for all I know by the Post Office itself, and left to be picked up this morning by the guys who take away the cans and plastics. I mean, it's not my job to return stuff like this to the P.O. My job, as I understand it, is to make the world a more lovely, better understood place through the gift that is my talent.

At least that's gonna be my defense.

The thinking is to paint either this:

or this:

on this:

Most likely the latter. Both the photo and the pallet share the same rosy glow. What I can't quite figure out is how to deal with what will, no matter how I slice it, be a huge hole right in the middle of the face (the center indentation, above). One theory says I fill it in with crumpled up canvas or something. The other theory (which is currently in vogue with at least me) says paint the goddam thing and let the drips fall where they may.

Plus, and I don't mean to complain, but I wonder if the paint is even gonna stick to the thing. It's got a kind of greasy plastic feel to it. And because I like the tone of the surface I am less inclined to gesso first. I just want to have at the thing.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


So we finish watching Episode 5 of The Pacific, the dog and I, and we saddle up and head out. The dog carries the Fifty. Me? Typically two ammo belts, five to ten grenades (depending on how the drugs are suiting me) and a New York Times bag (in case the dog takes a shit).

I used to carry the machine gun but after a while I figured what the hell? The dog's strong enough.

This is a picture of the dog with a sock on her head. Her name is Chloe...

Actually, no. It's the Prime Minister of England. Whom I recently painted to look like this (and which is awaiting annotation in Jolly Old ...) :

Anyway, the dog's been instructed, during the dry weather, to wear her socks on her head so they dry out (Nobody needs more jungle rot than the individual servings the jungle dishes out with no help from anybody else). I have a shot of it somewhere and she is really unbelievably cute. Lump in the throat cute--that's how cute this dog is with a sock draped over her head.

We go out the door and head up 16th Street towards 5th Ave. Walk past a brand new, shiny black Dodge Challenger (the most evocative of all the new versions of 60s muscle cars by a factor of perhaps 150%) about which I make a mental note something along the lines of I'm SO buying that car when I grow up. Walk past 5th. Up to 6th. Make a right. Cross Prospect Ave. Enter the park. There are plants and birds and rocks and things. It's really just lovely, up until the point where the dog says something along the lines of: We're surrounded by Japs.

Actually, if memory serves, she just says Japs. Perhaps the singular--Jap. Which she pronounces with a Y-sound instead of a J-sound. Like she had a lisp or something.

Now I don't know about you, but the distance from which I witnessed the war in Southeast Asia changed me forever. Watching those Marines in the jungle on HBO still freaks me out. You should have seen me during the bridge scene in Apocalypse Now Redux. I liked the plantation scene, just for the record, but I remain profoundly ambivalent about the French.

So, given this, plus the high general state of anxiety in which I live, you don't have to tell me twice. It doesn't take a house to fall on Old Geoff, if you catch my drift? I dive for cover. The grass in the park is 6 inches high, max, so camouflage is scarce. The air stinks of dog urine.

Japs, the dog says again.

Me? I'm struggling with my iPod, trying to untangle the mess I made of the cord when I jumped for the bushes. I'm trying to reload "Horse with No Name" and I must have accidentally activated the lock button because I'm making a hash of the thing.

Yap, the dog, implacable assassin that she is, announces again. If memory serves, she says it several times in succession, loud enough to show that she has no real appreciation for small unit combat tactics.

"Shut the fuck up," I tell her, sotto voce. "They'll hear you. And besides, I'm trying to sync Horse with No Name."

The dog looks at me with those wet, brown eyes. Not the way a cat might--full of disdain--but the way your mother might look at you if you were young and had a life-changing disease. Lou Gehrig's Disease, perhaps. Something like that. A mixture of love and pity written all over her face--so profound, so intense that she can't help but tear up whenever she looks at you.

By this time I've got the ammo draped across the top of the .50. I slam the chamber closed, she pulls the bolt back, and a taka-taka-taka sound fills the air. We're rocking and rolling. At least Chloe is.

Me? I'm right at the part of Horse with No Name where they are kind singing la la la over and over. The drugs are just now really kicking in and I'm feeling like I'm about half an hour outside Barstow. It's all good.

In case you don't fully remember, these are the lyrics:
On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with no clouds
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound

I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
Laaah, laaah, la li-la la ...

After two days in the desert sun
My skin began to turn red
After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead

You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
Laaah, laaah ...

After nine days I let the horse run free
'Cause the desert had turned to sea
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
there was sand and hills and rings
The ocean is a desert with it's life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love

You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
Laaah, laaah ...
Chloe? She's yapping at the top of her lungs.

Dead pigeons fill the air. Gonna be good eatin' tonight.

Supporting the arts, locally

I would urge you to buy something from a guy named Sean Maroney. His website is here. I only say this because the first line of his bio reads:
I am a 25 years old artist from Montclair, NJ. My influences include everything from Jackson Pollock, Vincent Van Gogh, and Andy Warhol to Shepard Fairey and Geoffrey Raymond.
Which really makes me smile. I don't think I know the guy, and I'm not sure how my work has influenced him, but you should buy something anyway.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We never stand taller than when we stoop to help a child

And just to show you that I'm not all about the money, consider this rather blurry picture of the PreK art class at Claremont Prep. The man in the left foreground is a member of the press--writing a story, apparently, for the school newspaper.

This is the painting that the kids and I created--a portrait of popular children's book author Mem Fox. You are familar with her work?

This is the final product, awaiting annotation by the class and me. It doesn't really look that much like Ms. Fox, but I decided I didn't want to mess with the class product too profoundly.

The idea is that the class will annotate the painting, then the work will be auctioned at the Spring Fundraiser event for the school.

What do I get? Well...I suppose I get the satisfaction of brightening those kids lives for a day. Although, truth be told, they looked pretty bright already.

This is the summer of 75K

At least that's the general idea. Pipedream, you ask? Consider these selected bits of copy from today's New York Post under the story titled "Canvas$ of pure hatred":
It's one of the few positive things to come out of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.

A popular portrait of ex-Lehman boss Dick Fuld painted by street artist Geoffrey Raymond could fetch a price deep into the six-figure range as its owner, former Lehman head trader Larry McCarthy, fields offers from prospective buyers.

McCarthy, who now works as the head of levered products at Chapdelaine Credit Partners downtown, told The Post that he paid $10,000 in cash to Raymond for the artwork three days after Lehman filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008.
The subhead reads:
Wall Street trader eyes six figures for Fuld painting.
So if not six figures for Larry (six deep figures), why not something like that for your obedient servant?

My favorite line from the article?
In addition, he said auction house Sotheby's has twice reached out to him inquiring about his interest to sell.
The full article can be read here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

LBTM...Volume 3

Actually this isn't live blogging, since I'm on tape and the Masters is prolly over by now. But it's live to me. As NBC might say at the Olympics, it's plausibly live.

Anyway, Phil is on the 16th/17th, and by gum, barring whatever the opposite of a miracle is, he's gonna take home that weird trophy. My hope is that he takes a moment, as a bit of homage to the struggles of the women in his life, to publicly take Billy Payne to task, about as roughly as Payne took Tiger Woods to task, for Augusta's membership policy for women. The notion of Payne lecturing Woods on morality is laughable. Chutzpah is the word that jumps to mind.
I wonder if they let Jews in.
Me too.
Anyway, there is a time, certainly, for good manners. There is also a time to speak up for what is right (Me, speaking as the father of two daughters, both of whom, I hope, will someday be members of Augusta).

Do you think the bunch of racist, sexist, homophobic (I'm just guessing on the last one. The first two are well-documented), redneck motherfuckers that run Augusta would have ever let blacks in if people hadn't started complaining? And, as it stands now, the only highly public organization that has less black people as members would have to be the Republican caucus of the House of Representatives--another bunch of racist, sexist, homophobic (I'm just guessing at the middle one. The first and last are well-documented), redneck motherfuckers.

Are you familiar with the Milgram experiments? Okay--not enough time right now, but we'll cover it soon enough.
I'm shocked!
Don't make me laugh--I'm trying to live-blog the Masters.
I like Freddie Couples. It looks like he's wearing boatshoes.
And no socks, apparently. What's not to like?

LBTM...Volume 2

No sooner do I hit enter than Choi unravels like a cheap suit. I think Phil could actually do it. Which would be l0vely, what with all the wife/mother drama currently in his life.

I'm making some curry. About to eat it on rice. Wish I had some chutney. Mango.

Live blogging the Masters...

I'm not sure where I stand on my taped telecast vs. real time, but Tiger just drove off the 13th tee. And made a mess of it. About which I have mixed feelings.

Truth be told, I'm rooting for Phil, although it might behoove a man with a spare tire the size of his to wear a slightly larger shirt. But that's a quibble--he's shooting some wonderful golf.

Prediction: Phil can't keep the ball out of the right side trees so I'm going with K.J. Choi. Very steady.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Everybody knows I'm a bad why do I keep apologizing?

So I'm in the AIG bar, delivering Hank Greenberg to one of my key American International Group people, and I find myself, presumably the way somebody like Tom Cruise finds himself at times, shooting the breeze with complete strangers. Usually, for me, it's about painting. Because that's why I'm a celebrity of sorts.

At a certain point in the conversation, I like to stare into some unsuspecting soul's eye, capture the man (or woman) and have my way with them. Conversationally, of course.

The thought of which makes me think, of course, of this:

IT IS an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?

The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May'st hear the merry din.'

He holds him with his skinny hand,
'There was a ship,' quoth he.
'Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!'
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

He holds him with his glittering eye--
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years' child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

'The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.

The Sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon--'
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.

The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

And now the Storm-blast came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And forward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken--
The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariners' hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white Moon-shine.'

'God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!--
Why look'st thou so?'--'With my cross-bow
I shot the Albatross.'

The key item, by the way, is Stanza 4.

So I'm standing at this bar, talking to the AIG people and I fix one of them with my glittering eye. My four-scotch eye.
I held him with my fixed stare
I held him til his soul lay bare
blah blah blah.
"Fixed", in this case, is pronounced with two syllables. Regardless, he must have been about 40. Reedy. I could have snapped him like a twig (and I think he knew it), and I said to him (me--four scotches into the general procedings): "You look like you make a shitload of money. You should buy a painting."

Which, I suppose, makes me a bad person. Because it's not nice to talk money, and income levels, in public places. All his co-workers stared at him. He was visibly uncomfortable for a period of time best measured in nanoseconds. Then everybody laughed.

I don't know why I do this. I mean, nobody has ever bought a painting as a result of this particular marketing ploy. But I do enjoy the moment of terror in their eyes. The brief whiff of desperation. The look a cat gets when a five year old picks it up and starts carrying it around like a sack of potatoes.

Which, I suppose, makes me a bad person. And I apologize for that.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Hank Greenberg and the unreliable narrator

We've discussed who Hank Greenberg is. I, dear reader, as you've no doubt surmised previous to this if you've spent any time at all reading the collection of dreck known as The Year of Magical Painting, Season Three, am the unreliable narrator.

And the word narrator doesn't begin to really plumb the depths of my unreliability. First there's the whole turned-off phone business, but I don't want to talk about that. I'm amazed my cable is still on.

But the real issue is this: I've been flashing around this image of The Annotated AIG while suggesting it is, in fact, the final version.

The truth of the matter is that it is not, apparently, the final image. Proof of this was found when I looked at the print I delivered to my friend the other day. It had WAY more writing on it.
Wow. Unreliability aside, how did that meeting go, by the way?
What do you mean?
You delivered the print?
You received money?
Yes. Fifteen dollars more, in fact, than I had anticipated.
Come again?
Well, my thinking was $250, minus the 10% friends and family discount.
What did you get?
Perhaps it's some version of $250, plus $25 shipping and handling, minus the ten percent friends and family discount.
Which would be $247.50. By my count.
So you were either cheated, or tipped heavily.
Yes, although I'm not sure that fifteen bucks on top of 250 is a heavy tip. But I'm going with the latter, regardless.
Smart move. Avoid that whole bitter-taste-in-the-mouth business after the fact.
And the drinking?
Completely free.
How many drinks did you have?
Three or four scotches.
With a splash of water?
Yes. And all but the first featured a twist of lemon.
This is one of those Wall Street bars, right?
Well dressed clientele? As opposed, say, to the Peter McManus Cafe?
Scotches prolly set you back about a dime?
So you, my friend, are way ahead...even with the cheating.
Yes I am. And I wrote a lovely inscription above the image.
What did it say?
It said, roughly: "Hey Joe: Half a century and never a harsh word"
Nice touch. Don't you typically charge an extra $100 for personal notes?
Man, you were screwed!
I know. I can barely speak, what with the whole bitter-taste-in-the-mouth business.
And that guy was your friend?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

People of the world... Or rather, people of Goldman Sachs...

"People of the World..."

These were the opening few words of Conan O'Brien's goodbye note to his viewers explaining the abject screwing he'd just received from what was once a great force in American popular culture but which now is a pathetic shell of itself.

We speak, of course, of NBC.

I loved it, but that's not the point. The point, really, is directed to the employees of Goldman Sachs currently working in the new World Headquarters building just West of West Street.

People of Goldman Sachs...

I will be standing in front of your building today, exhibiting for annotation my portrait of Timothy Geithner. Please come out and scrawl something inflammatory. Or complementary. Or complimentary. Who can remember the difference?

In either case, it's cathartic. And don't we all need some catharsis?

Even more importantly, if you are reading this, I would offer for your consideration this spectacular painting titled "Study for Marcus Goldman". Measuring about five feet by three, it would look fabulous in your office; offering the opportunity to publicly display an original Geoff Raymond without all the ripe obscenities that usually hang, like strange fruit, from my annotated works.

Check it out:

I'm not obsessed about pricing on this one. Call it my Spring Sale. Make an offer.

Numbered prints are also available for all my images, but wouldn't you really feel better with the word "Hitter" emblazoned metaphorically across your forehead? "Big Swinging Dick"--if that's not too vulgar. "Master of the Universe"--if that's not to cliched? I refer, of course, to the halo effect of owning one of my original works.
As a quick grammatical aside, when did "cliche" become an adverb?
You mean like "That is so cliche"?
I don't know.
Personally I hate the usage.
I appreciated your avoidance of it in the preceding paragraph.
You're welcome.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Nice day...bad anthem

I feel like the back of my neck's getting dirty and gritty.

Why, you ask? Because it's a hot town, it's summer in the city (more or less) and the Mets are kicking off their year at Nouche. Pronounced New Shea. As opposed, I suppose, to Citi Field.

Later I'm going to a downtown bar called The Ketch to sell a man a print of my painting of Hank Greenberg. Not the famous slugger--the now absent face of the American International Group. With luck, he'll buy the drinks too. With more luck, his fellow AIG employees will see the print, resplendent on the wall of his office, and order copies of their own. After I sell this guy this one I'll have 99 left. Which should be plenty.

All that said, I think I heard the worst rendition of the National Anthem ever--EVER--to kick off the game. Sung by a group of veterans called 4troops (no space), it was just horrid. And the female in the quartet? Well, call me shallow but I like my female vocal artists to either be able to sing or to look like Beyonce or, ideally, both. This woman couldn't sing worth a damn and she looked like the woman in the deli on 4th Avenue who everybody says looks like she eats paste.

It was so upsetting I took the dog for a walk. I then tuned back in to see the estimable David Wright hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat of the season and now I'm feeling better. I'm gonna heat up a batch of my famous vegetarian chili with chicken and bacon, pop open a Bud Light, and enjoy the game until it's time to leave.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

St. Timothy (The Lame)

This is a previous Geithner painting. There was a moment when I was gonna depict all these guys in the manner of religious icons. Harsh reflection tells me this wasn't the best idea ever, but presumably part of the charm of the Year of Magical Painting is that all is presented, warts and all.

Unlike, say, the overriding philosophy of the Bush administration, we believe in complete transparency here at TYOMP.

This is the most current version of this painting that I have on file, but I think the painting has more annotations than what you see here.

The Annotated Geithner

With weather predicted to be in the mid 70s all next week, I think I'll take Red Geithner out and get it annotated.

Push comes to shove, they are worth more annotated. And this is an interesting time for Geithner (obviously), so why not?

As you may remember, I had originally decided to leave him blank. Which, at the point at which I sold him for 22K, seemed like a good idea. Later, when the purchaser backed out (bad enough) and then demanded his deposit back (which, let me tell you, dear reader, is considered OK behavior in the art world but which put a crimp in my finances that I'm still trying to straighten out), it seemed like not that fabulous an idea.

I think it was Carrie Bradshaw who said, about breaking up, "Sometimes the heart doesn’t mourn the relationship you had so much as the life you thought you would have together in the future. You know?"

It's the same way about selling a painting and then having the buyer return it. It wasn't so much the 5K deposit I was in love with, but rather the full twenty-two bones.

Anyway, it will give me a chance to see what the front of Goldman Sachs looks like, as this is certainly one of my Geithner stops. If I'm not mistaken, it's right across the street from Merrill Lynch. And that place is a ghost town. So, while not sanguine, I'm cheerfully optimistic.
Nice distinction, Woody Allen might say.
Yes he would.