by Art Chantry:
when you collect bad paintings like i do (and as do so many others), you begin to see some patterns. there are a few major categories, for instance. by far the most common bad painting is a landscape. the second most common is a still life and the third is a portrait (usually of a loved one). if you are an afficionado of really truly bad painting, you usually automatically skip those paintings you find fitting those categories. they’re just too easy.
what you really want to find are paintings of robots or elvis or vampires or nudes or even george washington crossing the delaware (all of which i have found tremendously awful examples of). the trick is to find an amateur artist who is bravely adventurous but utterly clueless. this is where true genius dwells.
what you REALLY begin to try to find are things like this monstrosity i show you. this is maybe the very finest really bad painting i’ve ever found (a thrift store item for $1.38 a pound! really.) it seems to be some alien gals in standard fashion-ad poses playing with a moon ‘thing’. it’s by “Lucy” her name is big and proud and blue (and hard to see) in the lower right hand corner. this is exquisitely bad stuff.
the alien chicks are all vaguely out of date and out of time. their poses are actually traced from any of a million old fashion department store adverts of the early 1960′s. this was such a standard clip art configuration (four gals, one up camera, three in back – like ‘gladys knight and the pips’ or something). they all have different arm positions, never any legs for some reason. floating in space. Lucy added silver helmet-hair, various “horns” (or whatever those are, each one is different). they almost look like early “Star Trek” alien cast walk-ons, except here is no insignia or blue skin.
Lucy couldn’t draw hands, either (those are difficult even for some extremely experienced artists). so, those are always tossed off and incomplete. faces were way beyond her skill level, too. but here she gave it to old ‘college try’ anyway (with very mixed results.) that crescent moon cartoon face in the lower left is more convincing than the alien chicks’ faces.
but, where Lucy really excels is in color! look at all that COLOR! it’s crazy (“crazy color?”). it looks like she discovered mid-project what amazing things massive amounts of color can do – and just lost control. she WENT for it. it almost become a clyfford still painting or maybe a failed jasper johns effort. i wonder if Lucy continued to paint? who knows where she could have gone with this mindlessly mindblown technique?
i love Lucy.
…let’s see…. erase the alien chicks. make that moon bigger. that’s all she needed to do to make a sweet little painting. but, NO. she had to listen to that damned painting class teacher who told her to paint what she knows, paint what she feels….