Thursday, August 27, 2015

Facetime On The Modern Range

August 27, 2015
   I was admiring a nocturne by Frank Tenney Johnson as I was proofing the November issue for pre-press check. Johnson was famous for his night herders lighting up a cigarette during a break on the range.

A classic example of a Frank Tenney Johnson nocturne

   So I got to wondering this morning what would actually be lighting up a cowboy's face on the range today. I think I know:

Daily Whip Out: "Facetime On The Modern Range"

   I was talking to an artist friend recently, who told me about his efforts to nominate me to be an artist for West Select a Phoenix Art Museum group of artists chosen to replace the departing Cowboy Artists show (the West Select group and the show have since been discontinued). While my friend was castigating the group for not considering me, a well-known painter dismissed my work, saying, "He's just an illustrator." Now this shouldn't get to me, because, in reality, I consider myself, first and foremost, a cartoonist (see above parody), but coming from this joker, it just made me laugh, because, Mr. Paint-by-Numbers dude projects classic photos and old postcards, utilizing a projector then has an assistant trace it and paint it with flat Southwestern colors. By one account his assistants executed 299 paintings last year at $10,000 a pop. You do the math.

   Anyway, the designation of who is a "Fine" Artist and who is just an illustrator, or a cartoonist reminds me of Martin Mull's classic comment that show biz is "high school with money." And if you get caught up in the money stuff it will drive you to drink and I drink enough already. 

   And speaking of high school and drinking too much, I'm driving to Kingman tomorrow to attend my fiftieth high school reunion (and I have a few classmates who don't even think I'm an illustrator).

   Last week as I was coming back from Durango, out across the Navajo Res, I saw a billboard with a shocking headline to the effect that—and I had to Google this when I got home to make sure I read it right—"One in three American Indian women have been raped or have experienced an attempted rape, according to the Justice Department." This disturbed me, and so, in light of the billboard and the snotty comment from Mr. Paint-by-Numbers Dude, I was inspired to do something this morning that he would never touch:

Daily Whip Out: "One In Three Navajo Women are Assaulted—So
 Stop Looking at This And Do Something About It."

But, I suppose, in all reality, this is just another cartoon.

"In chaos, there is fertility."
—Anais Nin

1 comment:

  1. Bob, don't worry about being called "only an illustrator," because that puts you in some good company, like Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, etc. Besides, what those renowned Renaissance and Baroque "fine artists" were doing, in large part, was illustrating stories from the Bible and mythology.


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