I painted this picture in the 1980’s because this boy was a very attractive little Asian-American child and I wanted to paint a picture of him.
But it became something else when I added the soldier’s helmet with the bullet hole in it.
It was the closest thing I ever did to something politically controversial. I was accused of making an anti-war picture… in Texas where you don’t disrespect a soldier. And the Viet Nam Conflict was still very much on people’s minds in the 80’s.
This is a Dickensian illustration. Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. The boy was actually the son of a school secretary and grandson of a math teacher. Bob was modeled after a stand-up comic that I had a magazine picture of.
This reptilian fellow appeared in my dreams when I was twelve. He didn’t actually pose for me. I used a National Geographic picture to help me get the head right.
Grade-school me was the model for this one. I made it from an old school picture.
This is actually a portrait of Manuel. He was a seventh grader in 1984. Seventh Grade Language Arts, A-minus student and excellent oral reader.
This sweet child was actually a green-eyed brunette and holding a tub of autumn leaves in the original photograph.
There’s a lot of portraits in this picture. They are all from photographs, except for three imaginary faces. Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan were both in a black-and-white photo from The Kid. And the skeleton was made of plastic.
This is Black Timothy, dressed all in red. This is pretty close to what he actually looks like. Of course, he’s imaginary.
Literary realism attempts to represent familiar things as they are.
Surrealism definition: Surrealism is a type of literature in which the author attempts to display irrational or dreamlike qualities in his or her writing. Surrealism refers to writing that goes beyond the realistic into a creative, imaginative realm that often has dreamlike qualities.
Two definitions of styles of writing that are common in today’s literary realm.
Realism is a tradition that began in the middle of the 18th Century. It includes authors like Balzac, Alexander Pushkin, Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis, and Charles Dickens. They tend to focus on the details that shine a light on the grungy, dreary realities of the Industrial Revolution, the American Experiment in Democracy, and wars like the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and wars against Napoleon, Hitler, and Communist Russia.
Surrealism, especially as it grew legs and began galloping in the 20th Century is really a reaction to the realities that Realism ground into our souls. Science Fiction imagines the problems and the possibilities presented by applying science and industry into our future. Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, and Aldous Huxley are all surrealists because they apply the power of their imaginations to dealing with the limits reality hangs around the neck of the race horse we call life on Earth.
Fantasy writers like JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Neil Gaiman, and JK Rowlings apply apples of imagination hung from a string in front of the race horse to motivate him onward. The race horse of life on Earth is a dreamlike metaphor, somewhat like a dog who smokes a pipe and solves crimes, and is the kind of literary device that defines surrealism the way that Mickey sees it.
But enough about what surrealism is. It is just realism with a “sur” pasted on the front. So, let me just show you some.
So, now that you have seen the pictorial evidence that Mickey thinks surreal thoughts, you should be willing to admit… He probably really is a Surrealist. Or, possibly, he surreally is a surrealist.
A new day dawns. It leaves me wondering. Who am I today? Who will I be tomorrow?
The opportunity to have any sort of control over who and what I am is coming to a close. I don’t really know how much longer I have before pain and illness dissolve me into nothingness. But death is not the end of existence. I may be forgotten totally by the day after next Thursday, but my existence will still have become a permanent fact. Yes, I am one of those dopey-derfy-think-too-much types known as an existentialist.
I am feeling ill again. Any time that happens may be the last time. But that doesn’t worry me.
The important thing is that the dance continues. It doesn’t matter who the dancers are, or who supplies the music.
We can be clowns if we choose to be.
We can safely be fools if we really can’t help it.
An awful lot of awful things go into who and what we are. Those things make us full of awe. They make us awesome. Aw, shucks. What an awful thing to say.
But what is all this stuff and nonsense really about today?
It’s just Mickey being Mickey… Mickey for another day.
It’s not really poetry. It certainly isn’t wisdom. It’s a little bit funny, and only mildly depressing… for a change.
It’s just Mickey being Mickey. And a partially Paffooney gallery.
Basil Wolverton (1909 to 1978) became famous as a cartoonist by winning a contest. He submitted the picture of Lena to Al Capp’s newspaper strip to answer the question of what Lena, who had been appearing for weeks in Li’l Abner underneath a black square with an editor’s warning printed on it that she was just too ugly to be revealed, actually looked like. Capp ran the contest to depict Lena and selected Wolverton’s drawing from among 500,000 entries. I think Capp got it right when he chose this to be the world’s ugliest woman.
Wolverton had done comics before this one amazingly ugly picture. He did Spacehawk for Target Comics up to 1942, and he did a comic series called Powerhouse Pepper for Timely Comics (which is the company that became Marvel after the 1940’s.) But Lena not only brought him fame, it really started him down the path of his intensely detailed “spaghetti and meatballs” style of rather ugly comic art.
He used millions of little dots and lines to create art that would really soak up the printer’s ink supply and gave his artwork a uniquely “pointillistic” look.
Here’s Wolverton’s portrait of Bing Crosby.
And here’s monster movie monarch, Boris Karloff.
But what really made Wolverton’s unique artwork popular and lucrative was his uniquely twisted and downright ugly portraits.
ugh! wotta beauty!
Ain’t this one… um… unique?
He would go on to be featured in Mad Magazine, Cracked, Panic Magazine, and Topp’s trading card series of Ugly Posters. He managed to do work that reached amazing levels of monstrously ugly humorous mastery of pen and ink drawings.
For years Basil made me laugh. But there’s no denying it… Basil masterfully drew really, really ugly artwork.