— Drawing and poem by William Eaton
The inspiration for this piece? See Farah Nayeri’s November 18, 2019, New York Times piece: Is It Time Gauguin Got Canceled?
For those wishing to read the text of the poem without all the colors intervening . . . here ’tis:
On Gauguin being chased from museums
for being a savage person and having
said and done savage things
Let those sans sin, one might reply,
Yet what’s so special about our times
(Though, at least in this, not special – sigh)
Is how many now loudly cry
(And not just great sisters and mothers) –
We’re not savage like those others!
Who we shun or, better, expose
Those humans painting too unclothed!
And saying, doing, quite savage things.
While we, the pure, accusations sling!
The French editorial cartoonist Xavier Gorce has, in his own way, weighed in on this subject:
1: I came across an image of a Picasso painting. (See copy below. Painting from 1965.)
2: It seemed to be a kind of self-portrait (as by an older man of one of his younger selves), and I thought to follow in the master’s footsteps, setting myself up with a mirror, some gouache paints, and with this idea of using the white space of the paper for much of the face and chest.
3: My son found my treatment of the eyes (my eyes? with my new sunglasses) was too zombie-like.
4: I was going to paint in the frames of the glasses, but decided instead to lay a recent poem on top.
5 : Picasso quoted by Brassaï, Conversations avec Picasso, 1964:
Un peintre doit observer la nature, mais jamais la confondre avec la peinture. Elle n’est traduisible en peinture que par des signes. Il faut fortement viser à la ressemblance pour aboutir au signe. (A painter must observe nature, but never confuse this with painting. Nature can only be translated into painting by means of signs. You have to struggle to achieve a resemblance in order to end up with the signs.)
Time was—and not that long ago—I thought my drawing and poetry would be knit together, and perhaps with the drawing causing words to be written on the spur of the moment (as in the “all she knows” example below). But . . . time passes, and I have instead found myself working more in parallel: drawing and writing, and the two activities having their similarities, and the results at times appearing side by side (see Montaigbakhtinian), yet . . . little knitting.
All this to introduce this week’s construction: the present “poem mixed with drawing.” The two elements were done quite separately and then combined (and this latter with the help of Laura at Tribeca Printworks). As for Elya, she is one of my favorite models and, indeed, one of my favorite people. Among my many, many drawings of her: Life . . . when you think about it . . . and “The lady with the orange hair” (see Fireflies Luciérnagas Lucioles). The drawing mixed with this poem, however, is not of Elya, and in fact is a next step in another project about which, perhaps, more anon.