Fine, Fine, Super-Fine Art

Paintings, drawings, sculpture, found objects... but mostly neo-Dada collage/constuctivist crap. Many/most of these things began as thrift/antique store paintings that "spoke to me." In most cases, they immediately told me what needed to be done. And, by God, I did it. Some have been sold, some given away. Most are in storage. Wanna buy a painting?

The Jack-O-Lisa

Jack o lisa
The first of these pieces to be done, The Jack-O-Lisa.
I was sitting in my office/studio at the Asbury in downtown L.A.
and came across a (bad, black and white) reproduction of you-know-who in some art rag.
I looked from it to the Jackalope postcard on my desk, then back.
I thought, that (enigmatic) smile, those hands ...


The Land of Milk Bones and Honey

Milkbones and honey1
Miklbones and honey deatail
Oil on board/collage, Milk Bones, 1986  
This was the first "oil" I defiled. Also the first in what became The Land of Milk Bones and Honey series of collages. Bought it at a thrift store in Glendale, California circa 1986. Painted the frame "colonial" blue and gold-plated some genuine Milk Bones. Not sure what I meant by the various iconographic images... Lassie, the pet of pets; the Essex House, home-sweet-home-away-from-home; Neil Armstrong on the dock of the bay of the Sea of Tranquility or some damn place. And, of course, a genuine 1950s pink poodle. It's probably as simple as: America, why I love her... or some damn thing.

The Land of Milk Bones and Honey II

 A hand-tinted "Dog Portrait" from the 1960s.
A good pair of Ray-Bans gone wrong. 

The Land of Milk Bones and Honey III

 The Party Animal.
Another hand-tinted pet photo from the 60s with found objects. Gold plated Milk-Bones on silver frame.  
The third from The Land of Milk Bones and Honey series of seven. c1990
Private collection, Indian Wells, California.

The Land of Milk Bones and Honey IV

The Jesus, symbolically strung up on a roadside somewhere in the New World.
Abandoned by all but man (and apparently God's) best friend: Lassie.

The Land of Milk Bones and Honey V

Don dons dutch kitchen
 Wedding gift to Don and Kate Harvey, friends from Austin.
They wondered why I asked for photos of them, their kitchen and dog, Dylan, R.I.P.

The Land of Milk Bones and Honey VI

The vision
 "The Vision"
Make mine Bombay Sapphire, please.
Traded to musician/artist John Goodwin for one of his; I got the better end of that deal, too.
Missing a bone, but they come with a lifetime guarantee; it will be replaced next time I'm in Nashville.

The Land of Milk Bones and Honey VII

H iv
 Don't Laugh, it could happen.
Final "work" in the series; always quit while you're ahead.

Private collection, Los Angeles, California.

Invasion of the Mind and Body Snatchers

S schiff painting
Schiff detail2
Schiff detail1
Yes, that's the reflection of Richard Nixon's face in the water. Not sure what it means, but it seemed the right thing to do.
The other "alterations" are self explanatory.
Collection of Steve Schiff, Matlache, Florida.

Meet The Beatles '94

Meet the beatles94
 Saw this one in Charlie Sexton's back yard garage/storage shack in Austin in 1993. His mother had picked it up somewhere years before. Not sure what it was supposed to be or represent, but I saw the Fab Four's faces on the figures a millisecond later. Lots of color xeroxing and cutting, but well worth the effort. Gave it to my friend and former producer (La Bomba) Carter, who hung it proudly and in a position of honor on one of his walls full of real art. Close your eyes and they'll kiss you ...

Her Master's Voice

Her masters voice
Bought this one at my favorite antique store on earth, Uncommon Objects, in Austin, Texas. Think it was $90.
Probably wouldn't have gotten it, out of embarrassment to walk up and say, "wrap her up; I'll take her," but Linda K.,
who happened to be with me on one of her rare trips to Austin, said, "how can you resist working with that one?"
It's a genuine 1950s or 60s "burlesque" painting, probably from some club somewhere in Texas.
This suggested the "addition" and title. I tried to imagine what-in-the-world this woman had just heard or sensed behind her.
Ah, of course! She'd just heard (or sensed) her boss, Jack Ruby, shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. What else? Case closed.
Also, of anatomical interest: note that each of her bosoms appears to be larger than her head.
As they say, everything's bigger in Texas ... or was in them days.
Once completed, I gave "her" to Steve Wortheimer, owner of the Continental Club in Austin.
The Club, my favorite old-school/hip-as-you-wanna-be club on earth, is, coincidentally,
across the street and a block up from where I bought painting. It hangs in Big Daddy's basement office to this day.

The Persistence of Musical Memory

Are you lonesome tonight
 "Are you Lonesome Tonight?"
The first of two Elvis meditations
Collection of Charles Wayne Sexton, Austin Texas.

The Persistence of Musical Memory II

Long agop.o.m2
 Look at the size of that rodent! Another one from the Carter Collection. Actually, his daughter Crosby's collection; she saw it at dad's place and had to have it. My friend Nick and I used to endlessly amuse ourselves in the sixth grade by trading absurd images for a laugh. Elvis Presley serenading a dying ostrich was one such. I'm sure the subliminal memory of that image informed this piece, decades later.
And, yes, it's also the cover of Rodent Weekend (with my face hastily pasted over The King's), courtesy of Crosby Carter.

Le Barb

Le barb
 Speaking of Austin, Texas, Le Barb is one of several "works of art" given to me by Charles Attal from his father Lucky Attal's Antique shop.
Lucky Attal is the primier appraiser of Texas art in the nation.
He's advised everyone from locals curious about the value of "Grandma's painting from the 1880s"
to The Smithsonian as to the provenance and price of their pieces. 
When someone dies, Attal will advise the family as to the value of various items in the estate and conduct the estate sale/auction.
Often, he will make a cash offer for the entire remainder of unsold items. Le Barb is/was one such item from one such estate.
The deceased woman had painted all her life in various styles and mediums. Alas, no one was very interested in her paintings.
But I was ... in all of them. Charles was happy to clear them out of the shop, which was about to be remodeled.
I saw the instant potential, in this painting (of a relative of the artist from the 1940s) in particular.
The Raybans were mine, cut-to-fit for perspective; the cigarette butt (a Marlboro red) was Charlie Sexton's; the diamond-studd earring is a Zurconium belonging to Linda K;
and, for the coup de gras, the goatee -- Le Barb -- was Doyle Bramhall II's. How I got him to cut it off and give it to me is a long story.
Another facet of the Austin connection: the painting is currently in the collection of artist Bale Creek Allan.
I traded it for one of his pieces, a rattlesnake-skin/dollar-sign shadow box.
I'm sure I got the better end of that deal, but he still gets a good laugh whenever he focuses on Le Barb.
 Charles Attal gets the last and best laugh of all: he quit the antique shop to founded Stubbs Bar-B-Q Sauce and restaurant/club.
He also now books Lalapalooza and the Austin City Limits festival.

Gigantic Clones of Carrot Nose

Clones of carrot nose
 Full Title, En Français, "Clones Gigantesques de Nez-Carrote Menacent Paysage Alpine Ringard" ...
("Gigantic Clones of Carrot Nose menace cheesy Alpine Landscape.")
Translation to the French perfected by Parisian friends in Austin.
"Cheesy" was the problem word.
Thanks, as always, to Jean Dubuffett.

A Boy and His Dog

A boy and his dog

The Boy Becomes a Man

Man detail
 Another fairly expensive antique store purchase, but I had to do it.
Pictured Hendrix back there the instant I saw it.
Private collection, Shell Beach, California.

Sail Away

Sail away
 A fantastic Nineteen-century oil from an Austin antique store. Purchased back in the good old twentieth century.
But it had a flaw (a small tear), so I felt OK about my "addition."
The painting was expensive; the rubber toy shark wasn't.

Sail Away II

Sail away2
 A nice "marine painting" nicely framed.
Not the Titanic back there, but you get the picture/joke.
Don't know where this one is; in storage, I hope.

Oh, No! Now Weasles Have Ripped My Flesh, Too

Weasels cropped
 Self explanatory. 1995
Acrylic on canvas with 1920s fur collar.
Leopard-skin frame.
Collection of the artist ...
though he'll eventually sell it or give it to one of his guitar-player friends
as it's been in storage for the last eight years

Bring Me the Head of Andre Breton

Andre breton
 This was, I believe, the first one of these things I sold ... at the insistence of a friend I would have given it to.
(He wanted to be the first person to have bought one.)
The '50s frame is very cool; the actual painting, not so much.
But when you add a Max Ernst robot, a three dimensional shark jumping out of the creek
and the head of André Breton amongst the river rocks
then you've by-God really got something.

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Alva Willett, III, Martha's Vineyard, Mass.


 Bought the painting - mostly for the nice Mexican frame - and then began to wonder: 
what-in-the-world has spooked this poor horse so badly?
Frida and her monkey (Fulang Chang, by name) would definitely do it.
And where would/could/should such a crazy encounter take place?
Where else?

Private collection, South Pasadena, Calif.

Concerto for Cello and Electric Guitar

Concerto for cello and electric guitar
 Very well executed oil portrait of cellist Pablo Casals; don't know what it was doing in a thrift store.
Thought I would lively-up the band; would actually like to have heard that duo.
(Casals actually outlived Jimi by three years, dying in 1973 at the age of 97.)
Another of my early sales.
Hadn't signed it when I delivered it to the man's 23rd-floor office on Madison Avenue.
Went down to a kiosk on the street and bought a bottle of nail polish.

Collection of Harvey Leeds, N.Y., N.Y.

Anyway, He Died

Anyway he died
Anyway dtl
Anyway, he died. Indeed.
Very nice Euro-portrait of a classic, old-Swiss-Dude (?). Nice little painting (6X10"-ish). 
Just added the Surgeon General's warning and named it. Saw it the minute I saw it. Nothing else needed. 
Private collection, Austin, Texas.

How the West Was Won

How the west was won2
 Why, with the 19th century equivalent of atom bombs (Blankets basted with small pox, anyone?) ...
and a few M-1 Abrams tanks ...
and, of course, some Apache attack helicopters (irony, anyone?).

Private collection, Los Angeles, Calif.

Lived a Miner/49er

49er dtl ole
49er dtl
I'm dwelling (photographically) on this one because ... it's gone!
Don't know where it went; probably into the trash or back to the thrift store.
The last I saw/remember of it, it was in a crowded closet in Austin.
R.I.P., old dude.

Golf, the Final Frontier

Golf the final frontier
 Nice old 1920s landscape.
Personalized for my golf-playin' friend, T Bone Burnett.
(He plays; I don't)
That's Ronnie Reagan on the box.
He just want's to say this about that.

Muir's Worst Nightmare

Muirs worst nightmare
John muirs nightmare dtl
 To paraphrase Randy Newman (re. population, climate change, etc. in this case):
"If Muir were living today / he'd be rolling around in his grave"
Gave it to my cousin, Kary, and his wife, Kara,
both life-long Sierra Club members.


Madonna and Child

Madonna and child detail
 Amateur acrylic of the Santa Barbara, California, Mission.
Completed in 1784, 10th of the 21 missions built by Father Serra
along "El Camino Royal" from San Diego to Sonoma
Very professional young peoples loitering on the front lawn these days.
I don't know where this one is anymore, either.

Trout Fishing in ... Holland?

Trout fishing inun amerika
Trout fishing dtl
 I knew my mother, who collected ceramic windmills, would like this painting.
She did; then when she wasn't looking, I added a cut out of my dad fishing
at his favorite "lake' near Palm Desert.
She laughed out loud when she noticed; I knew she would.

Gone Fishin'

Gone fishin
Gone fishin detail
 Speaking of fishing, here's a 1920s (can tell by the frame) fisherman in action.
I added the guy in the boat out there ...
and the "large-mouthed" bass (from a 1950s postcard).

Private collection, Moro Bay, Calif.

Mighty Cats

Mighty cat
 Tourist landscape from a known (and expensive) artist in San Miguel de Allende.
"Mighty Cat" in the air; my cat, Pancho, on the lower ledge, checking it out.
Too bad for the people in the cabin.

Collection of Linda K, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico