VINCENT OF DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN


 

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Sparhawk oil portrait of Van Gogh, c. 1999

 

“ONE THING I KNOW:  WITHIN A FEW YEARS I MUST BRING A CERTAIN WORK TO COMPLETION….I AM CONCERNED WITH THE WORLD ONLY INSOFAR AS I HAVE, AS IT WERE, A CERTAIN DEBT AND DUTY, BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN ROAMING ABOUT IN IT FOR THIRTY YEARS, AND ALSO BECAUSE I WANT, OUT OF GRATITUDE, TO LEAVE BEHIND A SORT OF REMEMBRANCE IN THE FORM OF DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS–NOT MADE IN ORDER TO PROMOTE THIS OR THAT TREND, BUT ON ACCOUNT OF THEM HAVING IN THEM SOMETHING THAT EXPRESSES A SINCERE HUMAN SENTIMENT. THAT IS THE GOAL OF MY WORK…”

Vincent Van Gogh’s letter to Theo Van Gogh, 1883, from the Hague, on his third year of having begun to be an artist.

I’ve been years writing my autobiography. In it Vincent Van Gogh comes to visit me this one anguished young painter’s night in Brooklyn. I ‘m in my early 20’s, in the clutch of death by brush, not knowing enough to translate my visions to canvas and I have conjured him up. He stays and advises and the most marvelous grand adventures happen in the following year. During which my own story unfolds. My book begins when I am packing up and leaving Yosemite, remembering back decades to that midnight I first saw him.

Constant warfare my whole life.  Like an old soldier now done with war. What were the whirling years, to whom did they  belong.  Not a stranger, no not a stranger.     An earlier me.”

to be continued…………

 

 

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Johnny Depp & Hunter S Thompson in Big Sur


Johnny Depp in Big Sur, buying paintings at the Hawks Perch Gallery. Anything’s possible as Lord Whimsy said.  And Depp is making The Rum Diaries, a Hunter S. Thompson book becomes film. And Thompson was a wild and violent eccentric in these parts. Big Sur remembers him with fear and loathing. 

This is an obvious progression of events. The movie’s done, Depp wasn’t around picking up local flavor except it’s all about Puerto Rico but what the hell. Maybe in pirate gear but we’d have noticed. Maybe. And of course Hunter S. Thompson isn’t around either. A lot of people are not saddened by that. I ran into a fairly young guy who caretook the writer’s property here and gardened for him. His first dramatic encounter with a drunk to the tits Thompson bearing and aiming a loaded shotgun, and insisting the intruder he’d hired and given housing explain himself. The kid quit. Prudent move. Thompson liked killing things.

Okay, back to Depp in my gallery (The Hawk’s Perch right off Highway One), a little bit of pradisical geography that’s drawn the likes of Steve McQueen (just finishing his portrait, come have a look) and Orson Welles (next in line) in the past so why not. I’d tell him I hadn’t seen every movie,  but I loved the Scissorhands one and the Don Juan with Marlon Brando, the Chocolate thing disappointed because it was such a blatant bad steal of Babette’s Feast. And Ed Woods is probably my favorite movie ever. Generally, I like how strange Depp is. Wouldn’t he like to commission me to paint his portrait. I’m good at reaching character in my painting, great with eyes. With actors it’s not easy to find that, the appeal of the stage and screen being the chameleon effect, so it’d take some long hard looking to find the brilliant machinery behind the flesh. But wouldn’t it be fine cool fun. Then too, art for art’s sake is okay, but life is more than sunshine, romance, Jack Daniels, and pigment. I’d want to get paid.

Surprise visit. Depp and his posse buy up every fabulous painting I’ve ever done that hangs (minus the sold ones) on my gallery walls. I spring for coffee. Dinner of salmon fish and chips at the Maiden Pub next door and their best Arrogant Bastard Ale. Or maybe cook them up some terrific Chateau Briand with Portobello mushrooms, garlic & fried onions. Wild rice. Mashed yams with coconut milk. Some green stuff. Pernod. Nice glass of port, Cointreau, Key Lime for a taste of the Caribbean, that sort of thing. Ready when you are, Depp and Thompson’s ghost. Welcome home. Turn a little more this way, that’s good, light’s good like that. Stop posing and sit still a sec. Expressionist painter paints Expressionist Actor.