I love the feeling when a painting ships out, this giant “whoosh” of relief. It’s slightly tinged with anxiety until you know it’s arrived safely at the other end, but even that can’t diminish the awesome flood of pleasure that comes from watching the truck drive away with your painting in it.
“Playboy Redux” is opening tonight at Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago, and I wish I was there (but instead I’m here in the blazing sunshine eating toast with almond butter and nectarine preserves — clearly the glass is half full). The show is a tribute to the gorgeous, iconic Bunny girls who worked at the Playboy clubs, the first of which opened in Chicago 50 years ago. A tasty roster of contemporary artists were all asked to reinterpret the iconic Bunny for the show, and I am tickled to be one of them.
When I mentioned this show to my old buddy Harley, he reminded me that I had drawn a Playboy bunny twenty years ago. Back when we were both working at Franklin Furnace, we often doodled on the file folders — in this case, he drew a bunny head, and I finished it off with a body. (Sometimes we even worked…)
I’ve been on a bit of a “bird and animal” kick for a while now (maybe you noticed) so I knew I wanted to work some actual bunnies into the piece. This is what I was thinking about -
And this is what I sketched out -
A friend in NY sent me an achingly cute picture of their new rabbit, Chestnut, but I didn’t have easy access to that model. Fortunately my friend Dana came to the rescue. Meet Marshmallow –
Marshmallow’s flop-eared buddy bit me on the arm (twice!), so don’t ever tell me that I don’t suffer for my art!
Those of you in the Bay Area know we were experiencing one of our coldest summers yet, so my mind ran to fluffy, snowy landscapes, and this is what I ended up with -
But as I’ve said before, it takes a village, so then it was off to see Randy at Back To The Picture to get The Perfect Frame made -
Then my buddy Island Boy took me to Bombay Ice Creamery for a celebratory scoop of Black Sesame on a sugar cone!
So we’re walking down Valencia Street (which is even more fabulous now that they’ve widened the sidewalks, it’s a real pedestrian’s paradise) and this guy said something as I walked past, which I tuned out. Growing up with red hair I’ve learned to ignore most of what guys say when I’m walking down the street (because there’s not really much of a conversation to be pursued from stuff like “Hey, you got a red box too?”), but Island Boy looked at me with surprise “Did you hear what that guy said?” This required me to stop eating ice cream for a minute so I could say “No, not really.” “He said ‘I love your work!” That kinda blew my mind, so I backed up and sure enough, the guy was talking to me and knew who I was. So that was a pretty nice moment, and he was a pretty nice guy. Thanks for making my day, David.