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Friday, September 02, 2005

Truth & Beauty in Advertising: Ric Rolston

Many of you already know this, but what the hell, I feel like wallowing in pleasant New Orleans memory.

Back when writing up stuff about the wedding and our honeymoon, I mentioned that we had stumbled upon a really wonderful art gallery one day. When I was writing up that entry, I discovered the individual website for Ric Rolston, the artist responsible for the table tops made of vintage maps and street sign tiles. And it was then that I discovered that he had a series of paintings of vintage New Orleans labels, many of which were included in the series of postcards that we used for thank you notes.

I was quite excited by this, but had to sit on the information so as not to reveal my diabolical plan to my spouse. You see, the collection was missing the best postcard, which is, of course, the Regal Yams label. I decided to contact the artist and see if maybe he just hadn't included it, or if maybe he had plans to do one. He didn't, but was certainly open to the idea of doing a painting on commission. He named a price that was reasonable, especially considering that a custom frame was part of the package, and we entered into a contract. He even thought he'd be able to deliver it by the Zombie birthday.

It turned out that he needed about an extra week of time, so he sent me a photograph to share with M on the day, and just after midnight on his birthday, after a well-lubricated evening out with pal M, our disgusting (I say this with love) pal J, and the rest, I told him about it.

I often get frustrated with finances, as you all know, largely because the way I got behind the financial 8-ball just seems so fucking wrong. It also reminds me that, all things considered, I'm incredibly fortunate in that regard, and it makes me heartsick to think how much more slippery the slope of potential financial ruin is for so many in the US who not only don't have the wonderful community of support that I have in the form of chosen family, but who are also not white, well-educated, and "presentable."

Anyway, that's pretty much a digression. My point is, I rarely wish to have more money than I do. But one of the reasons I might wish it is that I would love to be able to do things like this more often (of course, well before that, I'd wish we had a much less fucked-up attitude toward art and its production). It was such a rare treat to interact with Ric throughout the process of the painting's creation. He was tremendously pleased with it, and it garnered a lot of well-deserved attention while he was working on it at Dutch Alley. Because he got behind on it, he also took it on a trip to Austin, where he was surprised at the frank admiration it got from other artists (who do not, he confided to me in a phone conversation, give other artists praise easily). Golly that sounds incredibly self-centered on my part, especially when, after all, it's a gift for M.

The UPS guy managed to damage the frame when he failed to ring the doorbell before he DROPPED IT IN THE FUCKING BUSHES on a rainy day. As a result, it was in the cat-free upstairs bedroom for a long while after M repaired it (Ric supervising by e-mail). We hung it over the couch at the beginning of the month, and it makes me happy every time I see it. I know that feeling relief that much of the quarter is comparatively undamaged is pretty shallow, but I couldn't help the fact that one of my first concerns in the aftermath of the hurricane was for the gallery.


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