Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Purple Shirt, a White Beard, a Life Change: An Interview with Cristina Surplus

Cristina Surplus.  Such an evocative name.  A warehouse bulging with paintings and painting supplies, masterpieces slightly outside of the building as even the windows give way.  What is all this?  Surplus, of course.  

Cristina's Web site, "Inspired by David", gives full credit to her friend and mentor, David Hickman, for her artistic development and career choice. And she showcases the work of artists she admires.  Cristina's generosity knows no bounds. Surplus.  

My favorite works remain the first works of Cristina's I saw, her New York series.  Color so bold it takes your breath away.  In fact, one might say there is a surplus of color.

Let's chat.
The West Village (New York Series)
by Cristina Surplus

Friday, October 3, 2014

Less of a War and More of a Party: An Interview with Tom Kelly

Thomas ("Tom") Kelly caught my eye when I saw his painting, "Harry's Bar, Venice" (see below).  At once serious and comic, the image evokes a bygone era of casual elegance, when smoking was cool and not fatal, when men opened doors for women and women were not offended. Yet these well-dressed sophisticates are coming out of a bar.  Not a fancy salon, a bar called "Harry."  There must be more to this story.  Notice the open door where you see the mirror image of the word "Harry."  Oh, Tom Kelly, I am on to you.

Turns out, Harry's Bar was first a dream and then a reality for Giuseppe Cipriani.  The bar really is in Venice.  As in Italy.  According to Giuseppe: 
In those days [post World War I], the most popular meeting places for the young Venetian and European aristocracy were the bars in the luxury hotels, like those at the Europa, the Bauer, and the Grand Hotel ...
After a loan from a young American named - wait for it - "Harry," Giuseppe opened his dream bar.  The first guest book included:
... the signatures of Arturo Toscanini, Guglielmo Marconi, Somerset Maughan, Noel Coward, Charlie Chaplin, Barbara Hutton, Valentina Schlee, Orson Welles, Truman Capote, Georges Braque, Peggy Guggenheim . . . and a host of others.
During the winter of 1940-1950, Hemingway dropped in so often he had a table of his own.

And that's only part of the story of just one Tom Kelly painting. 

Harry's Bar, Venice
by Tom Kelly