Monthly Archives: February 2009

We Must REALLY Love Games

What gives? All of a sudden this print is the most popular thing I’ve done:

"Monopoly Smackdown"

"Monopoly Smackdown"

Is it because with the economy tanking, we’re all rediscovering the joy of playing board games at home? Is it that the game Monopoly is simply near and dear to our hearts? Or is it that on occasion you get to see that little rich bastard in the top hat sent directly to jail?

Ha ha!

Ha ha!

Whatever it is, I’m for it! Buy the print here for a mere $19.00 and have it shipped to you within a week.

What other board games do you love? I’m thinking Stratego and Battleship just HAVE to be up there somewhere. Hmmm… this could be another contest.

The SPY was BAD. ASS.

Spy vs. Marshall

Spy vs. Marshall

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Filed under original art, pop art, SOLD

New Orleans Jazz Fest or Bust (Seven Paintings and One for Free)

David Byrne for Mark Brush

David Byrne for Mark Brush

The first portrait from this contest has been finished and delivered! Thank you, Mark Brush for the inspiration. Next up: Nina Simone for Kelsey McCune of Portland, Oregon.

"Dr. Nina Simone: The High Priestess of Soul"

Thanks again to everyone who provided thoughtful comments and posts.

–John

The Inspiration

Talking about New Orleans Jazz Festival with friends last weekend, I couldn’t help but get all worked up and want to go. Dammit, I’m like a chocoholic but for Jazz Fest (to paraphrase my favorite “Onion” editorial ever). I gotta go back. Have you been there? You know what I’m talking about? It’s the music, man. Okay, and the food and the voodoo and the booze. But mostly the music.

The Contest

Write a comment on this post (or email it to me at john@tebeau.com) and tell me about why you dig your favorite musician. ANY musician, not just the ones shown below. Even Mozart or Tom Jones. Is it a certain moment that inspired you? A song? Is it what they “stand for?” What is it about them that moves you? Tell me. On March 24 I’ll announce the winner, based on the responses, at my opening reception at Verlaine (110 Rivington St. in NYC). The prize is a free 11″ by 14″ portrait of the winner’s favorite musician. Judging will be based on content, heart, wit and spelling.

The Goal

The idea here is also to sell some paintings to justify the trip back to New Orleans. Not just any old paintings, but paintings I’ve done of musicians. Musicians make the magic. These people represent contact with the divine to many of us. Music is what makes us want to go to New Orleans Jazz Festival (and the food and the etc.), and hopefully these representations will make it happen for me this year. Need a gift for someone? Maybe you can get it right here. Maybe they can get their own  if they win the contest.

Please pass this on to anyone you know who loves music, New Orleans, or art. It’s an opportunity for a free painting, and who knows? If I sell a few of these babies, maybe I’ll see you at Jazz Fest.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

"Bob Marley" oil on canvas

"Bob Marley" oil on canvas

"Miles Davis"

"Miles Davis"

"Jimi Hendrix"

"Jimi Hendrix"

"Billie Holiday"

"Billie Holiday"

"Duke Ellington"

"Duke Ellington"

"La Paix et L'Amour" (John and Yoko)

"La Paix et L'Amour" (John and Yoko)

And of course, I have tons of prints and other paintings for sale, too. Feel free to buy 25 dozen.

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Filed under original art, portraits

Barter in the Mountains.

When people visit New York City, they often hit a point of exhaustion in about three days and wonder “how the hell can people live here full time?” It’s a good question. Some people thrive on it, but city living in general (and especially in Metropolis here) seems awfully out-of-synch with the way people are supposed to live. How do we do it? We grow numb. We get used to it. I know this: many of us take breaks from the city and get out of town when we can. That sure helps.

But when money’s tight (or even, say, nonexistent), a vacation, even a mini-one, can be tough to finance. Money’s just a medium of exchange, though,  and really, almost anything of value can be or has been a medium of exchange. Salt, seashells, barley, or art.

Last weekend I traded the painting below for transportation to and from western Pennsylvania, including three nights at a cabin in the Laurel Highlands.

"Grandaddy's Caddy"

“Grandaddy’s Caddy”

While there, I met another artist, Pittsburgh’s Ron Donoughe, a plein air painter who finds inspiration in the woods of the region. My hosts (the cabin owners), had read about his local forays to paint winter scenes and invited him out for a visit. On some days, he’d only be able to paint for 15 minutes at a time before cold would force him into his truck to run the heater and warm up his hands and paints.

"January Morning" by Ron Donoughe

"January Morning" by Ron Donoughe

The Cabin Owners, cool people with artistic sensibilities and huge hearts, offered Ron the use of their place during his winter painting trips to the area. Though they expected nothing in return, Ron was so grateful that he offered to give them an original painting. They politely waved it off (their intention was merely to support an artist whose work they admire) and maybe they’ll accept it, maybe they won’t, but it got me thinking about the range of goods and services that could be bartered* for with art.

In past years, I’ve gotten credit at restaurants and bars with my artwork. At music stores, too, and more movie and concert tickets than I can count. Considering today’s tight money supply, maybe barter will become more common again. I’d be okay with that. It seems to be catching on on craigslist.

What would you trade for artwork?

*Barter is defined as “trading by exchange of commodities rather than by the use of money.” For some reason, people often use the word to imply “bargaining” or “haggling,” as in “No, yeah, I bartered him down from $2500 to $2000.” I don’t know why, but this is a very common misuse of the word.

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Three Great Novels With Zero Words

I’m a slow reader (about as many words a minute as I type, it seems), but hey, I have a dynamite rate of retention. Still, I once absorbed an entire novel, a great one, in one sitting. This was Gods’ Man by Lynd Ward.

"Gods' Man"

"Gods' Man"

Ward didn’t need no stinkin words to tell the myth of an artist who sold out, got run out of town, and found himself again, just in time to…. I won’t spoil it for you. The ending is a doozy.

Ward was part of a movement of wordless novelists in the early 20th century. It’s art at its most powerful, if you ask me. Stories, morals and archetypal characters that strike the brain while completely bypassing the left-brain neuro-pathways and such drudgery as words and language. Isn’t this why we liked “Spy vs. Spy”? And, for you old-timer’s, “Henry”? Words, at some level, blow. At least compared to pictures.

These weren’t really cartoons as we know them, either. They were woodcuts. Ward was influenced by a Belgian master named Frans Masereel who drew (or cut, actually) a 165-picture gem called Passionate Journey, the story of a man who… goes through life. He experiences just about every social, mental, and physical experience there is, culminating in a point of spiritual transformation.

"Passionate Journey"

"Passionate Journey"

Another one I like, which is timely right now, is one Ward did in the 1930s, Vertigo, a tale of tough times in the Great Depression. It’s slick and raw at the same time, and it’s Ward at his best (though he did go on to win a Caldecott Medal for illustrating a children’s book in the 1950s).

"Vertigo"

"Vertigo"

Three novels, zero words. If you get a chance, check them out. Your inner eight-year-old will thank you.

Henry. Why was he so bald? And mute?

Henry. Why was he so bald? And mute?

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See You at Verlaine, March 24, 6-9 p.m.

Join us on March 24 from 6-9 p.m. for an opening reception of my paintings at Verlaine (voted Best Art Bar on the LES by the Village Voice) at 110 Rivington, between Essex and Ludlow.

Interior of Verlaine, 110 Rivington, Manhattan.

Interior of Verlaine, 110 Rivington, Manhattan.

Open bar from 6:00 to 7:00, courtesy Mr. Verlaine. Bring a friend and let’s have a good time.

Looking for a fitting venue in Brooklyn for an art show…. Anyone have any ideas?

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Filed under art in new york, Art Shows