• Creative people are often creative in more than one way. For example, Frank Gehry is especially well known for his architecture — he designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall. In addition, he has designed jewelry (for Tiffany’s), a vodka bottle, lamps, and furniture. He has even made furniture out of corrugated cardboard. In fact, when he was invited to dinner, he often gave his host a cardboard chair instead of a bottle of wine. When he first thought of a piece of jewelry he might design, he mentioned it to people he was with — they all were rich people. Two of the women said that they would like to have a piece of jewelry like that, and when he told them that it would cost $1 million, one woman said, “I’d love to have one.” And the other woman said, “I’d like to have one, too. And I know five other people who would also love it.”
• When creating “reverse graffiti,” the artist does not add paint to a surface, but instead uses cleaning materials to remove dirt from a surface. Scott Wade has created portraits of Albert Einstein and the Mona Lisa on dirt-covered rear windows of automobiles. In Brazil, Alexandre Orion visited a transport tunnel in San Paolo and used water and a cloth to wash dirt from the walls and create a series of skulls, which he hoped would remind drivers of the impact that their vehicles have on the environment. Paul Curtis, aka Moose, often uses only detergent and a wire brush to create reverse graffiti.
• Jim Marshall was a great rock and roll photographer, but he could be a little crazy — sometimes from the cocaine he ingested into his body. In March 1983, a woman tripped his apartment’s burglar alarm, and Mr. Marshall yelled at the woman and waved a gun in her face. Because of that, he was sentenced to work furlough, where he worked as an assistant to commercial photographer Dennis Gray, who admired his work and who picked him up and dropped him off at his barracks. Mr. Marshall had to follow the rules set by Mr. Gray, who said, “We struck a deal. He couldn’t talk to my clients [because Mr. Marshall could be abrasive]. He couldn’t show them his work. And once in a while I made him call me ‘bwana.’”
• George Catlin sought to paint Native Americans and Native American culture before the West was tamed and their way of life was lost. In this pursuit, he learned much about Native Americans and about the people who encroached on their lands. One night, while in St. Louis, he left the steamboat he had been traveling on and slept in a hotel, leaving on board the steamboat a canoe, several paintings, and some Indian artifacts he had collected. The next morning, he discovered that they had all been stolen. He commented, “This explained the losses I had met with before, losing boxes and parcels I sent back to St. Louis by steamer. What a comment this is upon the glorious advantages of civilization.”
• Artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler once told this story about a lawyer: In a trial, a witness was asked how far he had been away from the scene when the deed was committed. The witness unhesitatingly answered, “Sixty-three feet, seven inches.” The lawyer examining him asked, “How, sir, how you can possibly pretend to such accuracy?” The witness replied, “I thought some damned fool would be sure to ask me, and so I measured.”
• Early in his career, landscape artist Thomas Cole sailed to the West Indies. During the trip, pirates boarded his ship and looked around to see if anything was worth stealing. Nothing was, so the pirates shook hands with the crew and passengers of the waylaid ship, then left.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
THE COOLEST PEOPLE IN ART