Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bob Marley

Bob Marley
12" x 10"
oil on wood, 2010

I'm a fan of football, I go crazy for it. I played as a kid, I played as an adult, I watch it whenever I can. In five days the world cup starts and I'm getting really nervous. It could be the year that the team I'm rooting for –our national team, the Dutch that is– will become the next world champions. Yesterday the team (and me too for that matter) suffered a major setback in its bid though, as their star player Arjen Robben suffered an injury and most likely will miss out on the entire competition. I wanted to paint a football picture. In the late eighties I painted a lot of football pictures, my first solo exhibition was filled with depictions of my football heroes. But then I started to paint my music heroes. Both topics are driven by fan obsession but there is a big difference: The music paintings are a celebration of the human mind whereas the football paintings celebrated the body. The Wexner Center for the Arts, the #1 venue for contemporary art in this city, just organized the exhibition Hard Bodies, all about that celebration, all about masculinity. I'm not interested in a celebration of masculinity, I can appreciate a good play but I don't care for the aesthetics of it and even less for the player's good looks. I teach figure drawing to art students which is also purely about the body but not so much about masculinity. Most models are very feminine (and very beautiful) as a matter of fact.

The only picture of a musical hero playing football I know of is of Bob Marley. Bob Marley was a football fanatic and friend of Jamaica's biggest football star of the 70s Allen Cole (who was kicked off his last team for wearing dreadlocks). Convenience will have it that after seven years of absence Bob Marley is back in the Top 100 list. My wife Maria pulled this old tape I recorded for her twelve years ago, out of the drawer and played it many times. My (and her as well) favorite Bob Marley song these days is also the most spiritual from the African Herbsmen album on that tape: Put it On. "I rule my destiny. Oh Lord I thank you."

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