Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What's New Pussycat?

Tom Jones
oil on martini glass, 2011
(signed by Tom Jones)
When I was asked to contribute to the 2011 Naples Independent Film Festival fundraiser I said yes. I'm a yes man and being new in South Florida, I'm jumping on every opportunity just to get in touch with the 'scene' down here. The fundraiser consists of auctioning off decorated martini glasses signed by celebrities. The signed martini glasses are decorated by (mostly local) artists hence the invitation. When I was given the list of which glasses needed decoration I got very excited: Tom Jones was on it! In the history of my Top 100 Sir Tom Jones has not been a prominent fixture but he was once in it nevertheless (What's New Pussycat in 1998) and among my wife's and mine record collection, we have seven(!) of his records. So I got the signed martini glass and I had to think about what to do. I did think for a long time, making a few sketches, before I decided to go straight up. I painted a portrait of Tom Jones on the outside of the glass as not to jeopardize the function (it can still be used as a martini glass.) The nature of a drinking glass is such that an image can be seen from both sides. This is very different from everything I've done before. I've painted on glass but only one side is meant to be seen. The proposition was for me the opportunity to show an under-painting on one side and a refined one on the other. I used that part of the glass that most resembled a two dimensional surface; starting  at the rim and diagonally wrapping the image halfway around the glass. It's a science. For an image I chose not to use the Tom Jones we're all familiar with but a recent picture of his. He's 71 and about to release a blues(!) album. Yes I'm serious, the single that's already out is Burning Hell originally by John Lee Hooker (and Top 100 inducted in Hooker's version). When I showed Jones' version to my wife on YouTube, she commented that he looked (and sounded) like a black man. Looking at the finished painting he does too, not so much like John Lee Hooker, but I see a resemblance with Howlin' Wolf.

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