02 April 2023

April 1st, Trump and Obama


I cannot remember where I picked this up but it has had a place on my desktop for a while now. And what better time than to post it than on April Fool's day.

Whoever painted it has a strangely cool sense of originality, as well as a great graphic sense for drawing (and likeness). It reminds me of those fantastic paintings that adorn Barber shops all over Africa (and even in parts of inner city America brought by migrants). 

A picture like this always reminds me that for me, originality is everything. It is because it means that something is real, flawed perhaps, but real. And as originality can reveal creator's defects, it will also reveal the unforeseen assets as yet discovered deep inside a creator.

Years ago, I remember reading about the actor and painter Martin Mull whose paintings are wonderful, quirky, and yes, very original. He had gone to Rhode Island School of Design back in the late 1960's. He recounts in his book that there was a fellow student who was obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh, who wanted nothing more than to paint just like him. He showed up in class even dressed a bit like the great artist wearing baggy soiled clothes and wooden clogs on his feet, (which were becoming the rage in France when I was there in  the 1970's). According to Mull, his paintings were wild and unstructured and left the class amused and befuddled. He seemed desperate to find his own style by channeling Vincent Van Gogh. Exasperated, one day, the teacher took him aside and asked him to paint a self-portrait while patiently explaining to this student that any 'flaws' or 'mistakes' that were revealed in it were in fact going to be his 'style'.   

I don't remember the end of the story but Martin Mull certainly took this lesson to heart because he wrote about it many years later on. 

This story impresses me even now so many years later for it speaks to the truth of living an 'inside' life, not an 'outward' one. This is essential for a creative person, especially painters. And though some painters find sartorial bliss by showing themselves off in wild clothes and pyjamas, Being a 'M'as tu vu?' is dangerous for an artist. 

So in this spirit I share this curious and crazy portrait of two American ex-presidents. One, who possessed class (and style), the other one, so obviously desperate for both. One happily smiling, the other just trying to.... Go figure.

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