Friday, March 7, 2008

backstory on a great painting

In a previous post I wrote about someone I knew who had some really great ideas for paintings. As we became close I heard about them often throughout any given night. After awhile, I began to think of his brilliant ideas as maybe a bit of a curse because before he ever executed one, he was off espousing the glories of another.

I admit I had my doubts about him ever doing any of it. He seemed to like his morning croissants and elegant evening libations much more than newsprint and turpentine. None of that would matter if I saw him actually draw every now and then, but I never saw it. And the drawing bit meant something to me because what he was talking about, the kind of projects he wanted to do, asked for fierce drawings skills.

He had a studio. Plenty of light. A bunch of canvases and stretcher bars, but none the right size! And so I never saw him paint a damn thing in the time I knew him. This was over 20 years ago.

Then recently I found on the Internet a painting of his – of a subject matter he had often detailed. It was just incredible to see it after all these years – the guy finally got around to painting it! And it looked really good. It was in a San Franciscan gallery. I just had to check it out.

The gallery person did not know the back-story at all on this work; I ventured to say a bit but anything would be just the tip of a very complex iceberg. It was a beautifully executed painting.

Then later last night I met up with a really good friend from back in the day. When I told him about that painting – for it really did make an impression on me – he told me that his friend had painted it! He has a friend whose skills and chops are indeed fierce, who paints all the time, and yeah, he’s the one who actually made it. He was paid to do it and then let someone else sign their name.

“Well, gee,” I said, stunned – though I guess I should not have been. “I thought that painting was really a masterpiece.”

“You think so?” My old friend asked. “I’ll tell him.”

What a strange art world we live in.

3 comments:

American Genius said...

what a strange world, indeed........

Calvin Ross Carl said...

What a sad story.

Anonymous said...

The artist behind the scenes, the one who made the painting, you wonder if he has done that for other artists. How many works are out there which have a particular signature but are actually the work of this individual...?