And you say everybody’s marching to the same beat
marching to the same beat of the drum
Everybody’s thinking of the same thing
But I will, I will, I will beg to differ with you.
— the prophet patty larkin
Hi. Ever since you wrote that you keep waking up at 3 a.m., I’ve been waking up at 3 a.m. Maybe next time you could say you keep waking up at 3 a.m. to eat cookies so I could wake up at 3 a.m. and eat cookies. Actually I already finished off the cookies at 9 p.m., because that’s when I think I fell asleep. What’s the point of staying up if there are no cookies? But still.
Today was round whatever of the Chemo Mambo, so I’m way pumped up on the ‘roids. I somehow fell asleep for a little while until the baby kat came in the bedroom so she could throw up in our closet, given that she doesn’t want vomit in her own living space. She is a Very Thoughtful Cat.
And so now it’s 3 a.m., Eric Taylor’s favorite time to view the East Texas moon. It basically looks the same from south Scottsdale, right? Bottom line: My brain is doing an impression of the Realtor in the Tesla on the Loop 101 in tight traffic today who theorizes double-digit driving isn’t quick enough for rush hour even if there’s a crash ahead that’s just cut four lanes down to two. No, I’m not bitter. No, I’m almost certain I was not involved in said crash.
Which led me to the sort of question wont * to pop up at 3 a.m.:
What’s the deal with that print?
You said you bought it at Goodwill because you liked it. This has to be the most fundamental forgotten lesson in art, and in life. YOU SHOULD LIKE THE ART YOU BUY!!! You had brought it home to much disregard from the masses, but were undeterred. It was hanging amid the always fabulous collection of eclectic images in your house, a place that would make a great museum except then you’d have to pick up your underwear and stuff.
While we used Facetime to walk Mo through the gallery, she mentioned that she liked the print of the girls, the cats and the tandem. The girls appear to be wearing the Collars of Shame. The cats have mesmerizing stares. The background is quirky; the bike has a horn; there’s a ball in the foreground for no particular reason. What’s not to love? IT’S FANTASTIC!!!
I was part smitten, part haunted. It’s an image you can stare at for hours and never get bored, kinda like leaving Hallmark Christmas movies on all day except for the boring part. How much Candace Cameron Bure can one human take? And how did they find an EXACT TWIN for her in that Freaky Friday movie?
And then you sent it home with me, along with moonshine and a Borden’s crate that may or may not have been obtained through nefarious methods. Best that I know so I can’t be called to testify.
Which leads us to 3 a.m. I wake up and find the question sitting in my brain, jumping up and down and waving its hand like TV’s Ron Palillo in “Welcome Back, Kotter.” Who was this painter? What was the story?
I put on a pot of Seattle’s Best (which may or may not be Seattle’s best at all) and went to work, determined to find an answer before I go back to sleep.
An exhaustive 35 seconds later on Google (remember back when stuff like this required “thinking” and “researching”?) later, I have my answer.
Charles Wysocki was a Big-Deal Painter. The Fancy Bio says he painted in a “faux naif” style, which if I translate correctly means Felix the Cat in English. I always loved Poindexter. And he was fairly famous. Wysocki, not Poindexter. Although I suppose Poindexter could be considered famous, even though he never got any more TV roles after Felix the Cat. Not unlike Candace Cameron Bure. Except for “Fuller House,” and there might be a “Felixer the Cat” somewhere now that streaming services are searching for content.
The reproduction is a modest copy. I envision it coming from the collection of someone who loved art but lacked the wealth that comes from inventing Teslas so that Scottsdale Realtors go 100 mph on Loop 101 during rush hours. Likely a little old Oregonian smitten with the countryside and suspicious kittens. But it’s framed and matted beautifully, and I’m sure it was in their home for many years, only to be banished to Goodwill by the next generation, mixed in with the poodle statuettes and art-deco ceiling lights. It’s perfect. Just perfect.
Wysocki turns out to be famous. But I don’t think you knew that when you bought it; only that you liked it. Shouldn’t that be the key to art? Buy things that make you happy. And this one does.
The cats and twins sit on the desk in my little dungeon, staring unblinkingly, wondering when I’ll finally get off deadline and take them out for a ride. I love the story of how you came about it, I love that it turned up by surprise in a stolen Border’s crate heading home with me. But mostly I love the painting itself. It makes me happy. It reminds me of you.
If I had any unk-y advice (Associated Pess doesn’t indicate whether should be hyphen or one word, and hyphens are no extra charge on wordpress, so what the heck), it would be the lesson of this painting. Don’t worry about what other people think; stick with stuff that you like. Books, music, art. Don’t march to the same beat. Make your own.
But of course you already know that. You gave me that advice, packed away in an old milk carton. So I guess I would advise you to go back to bed. 3 a.m. is an odd time to be awake. I’m going back to bed now. What’s the point of staying up if there are no cookies?
* Remember kids, it’s never too late to enter margarine’s How Many Times Has That Moron Used the word “wont” in blog posts simply because it makes him giggle? Contest not valid in Papua New Guinea.