10/29/10

Antiques Creepshow - Saxy Clown

As a companion piece to yesterday's offering, The Velvet Clown, Phil Are GO! is proud to be able to offer this Jpeg of a photo of a painting, unearthed in Michigan City, Indiana. Entitled The Saxy Clown, this piece shows us a deeper, more soulful side of clown painting.

At first, one sees the clown's stunted arms, like those of a dinosaur. Was our little punchinello a thalidomide baby? Then your eye is drawn to the compelling black funnel of the saxophone's bell. But wait! The perspective is wrong. The mouth of the instrument must be a flat sticker or decal placed over the bell of the sax. It seems no one wants to hear the clown's mournful refrain of rejection. This cruel world would rather listen to the flat, insincere music of hypocrisy. This is a deft metaphor for the lack of respect that clowning receives from the public.

As anyone who has ever picked up a contra bassoon can explain, one can either smile or play a wind instrument, but not both at the same time. Today's clown painting shows us a clown smiling sadly while sadly playing a saxophone sadly. Maybe the poor clown would have more luck if he used a mouthpiece, instead of blowing directly into the neck of the instrument? What note is played when you simply clamp down a row of keys with all four fingers? A note in the key of weeping. It is to the uncredited artist's credit that he/she allows these profound misunderstandings to be the vector of emotional poignancy in the piece. Most significantly, this painting pulls at our emotions by displaying the artist's deep, sincere ignorance of music, and what could be sadder than that?

And yet, the skill with which the clown's lips are rendered conveys a deep familiarity with the way light glistens on a mouth covered with red greasepaint. Music may be a closed book to this artist, but it seems that he or she has more than a passing familiarity with clown lips.

If you click through the picture to the left, you will enjoy a large version of the image where can be made out the price sticker. Thirty dollars. That's all the store was asking. Surely this lonely, misshapen creature with Groucho eyebrows can find a welcome home on your hard drive for less than that? Please bid generously on today's offering before right-click saving the file. Won't you give this misbegotten a wall to hang on, in your computer? We begin the bidding at a crumpled up post-it note.

5 comments:

Sue said...

I'm calling "Foul" on this piece. I think the Are-Go Team used their photoshop skills (poorly, I might add) to put the sax and the hand in. Although, genius to not do a good job and make it look like an authentic piece!! I think I found my costume!

Phil Are Go! said...

Madam, how dare you! The IFDSS (Image Falsification and Digital Shenanigans Squad) has strict guidelines to molest pictures only if it will be used by the editors as a joke - never do deceive the readers. We only display and auction authentic monstrosities, here, Susan!

Good DAY to you!

Sue said...

Please except my sincere apology. I meant no (ie. not a lot of) disrespect.

I'm TOTALLY doing two sets of eyebrows for my costume!!

Blood Brothers said...

The clown face (head) is of the cover art clown on the book titled, Clowns and Characters: Leon Franks. (A how to draw series). The painter was probably a learning artist and was using this book as guidance and learning tool. The arms and such look to have been added after the head was painted, either by the artist or another owner of the piece prior. The clown head in question is a Ringling Bros. clown from the 60's or earlier but identified as far as I know. (or so I'm discovering in my research.) I myself am trying to identify the clown pictured but alas, no luck yet.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Wow! That's some painstaking research into a certainly undeserving Art-trocity such as this. While we do like to know the backstory of such regrettables as this clown painting, I have to question whether such research is, so to speak, good for you. Please balance your time by looking at some Frazetta book covers or Syd Mead concept work... just to protect your brain.

Thanks, Blood!

[-Mgmt.]

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