This portrait of a sad excuse for a man, is an enlargement of a smaller piece done in art school at Minnesota State University, Moorhead many years before. The original was spontaneously painted as part of a series on occupations. My occupation, thusly portrayed here shows the artist in a straightjacket, sadly dead or dying, but yet also wearing a fine scarf and hat. The hat, emblazoned with another “X” made out of Band-Aids, marks the spot. He’s a sad creature, who cannot control himself and must be bound. Yet, even though dying, still finds time to jauntily dress up. Originally, the hat was supposed to be like a Cardinal’s hat, or an old-time Catholic priest, combining art making with religion, but it’s meaning has been lost over time. Here’s what I wrote about the smaller sketch, years ago:
“The artist, the diviner of magic and myth. Maker of graven image. Talented creator of mirrored images, i.e., the portrait! Religious iconographer, imaginator of monsters, etc. Starving artist, wearing a beret, black turtleneck sweater and shades, cloak for painting, beatnik poet. Scary freak, weird, crazy, poor, dirty, sex monger, alcoholic, insane lunatic.”
I guess things haven’t changed very much. The artist, tortured soul, divine yet dying, creator and creature, drunk monk, dandified dandelion, sloppy poppy, dirty bird, doesn’t care bear, will wear his only nice pair of clothes everyday. Somehow, someway, somewhere comes up with beautiful and ugly objects for you to look at, to better your life, to live vicariously though the canvas, smell the paint and be repulsed. Art is Life, and Art is Death. Painting is Pain, and Artists have Anguish. See the madman, the lunatic rising, the warning, waning gibbous. Watch as he conjures yet another masterpiece, where does it come from? From deep within his soul, he empties his soul so yours may become full.