"Now as I sit, brush in hand, coloring, shading, high-lighting, until some inner voice says to me, "that's it", "you've done it", "walk away", I know the exultant feeling of having fashioned something good that wasn't there before."
     ~Buddy Ebsen

Note: Since this writing, Buddy has passed away. Sorry Buddy, you were a good man. From the day they forced you to wear the Tin Man suit. I wish I owned a piece of your artwork, it's probably worth a fortune now. What's worse, some cannibalistic company stole your url,, and now when you click on it, you are routed to a site that tries to load spyware on your computer. This is very sad indeed.    

A Painting by Frank Sinatra

Friend of mine bought a painting by Frank Sinatra at Christies on auction a couple of years ago. Only paid 600 bucks. Sounds like a really good deal. I mean who wouldn't want to hang an original picture by old blue eyes up in their house? 

I remember when Muhammed Ali, in his prime, after his big win over Foreman I think, or maybe a little later... he had the keys to the nation, maybe the world. And at one press conference after a fight he started to show off his artwork. Really sucked. A whole bunch of amateur illustrations, wherein people looked like stick figures; you know, kindergarten stuff. And at the time, all the reporters took him with a smirk and a smile, but not seriously.  

Now, years later, I think, hey, they were penned by Muhammed Ali. Wonder what those pictures are worth now? Where are they? Can he knock off a bunch more and sell them to aid his retirement fund? Can he move his hands well enough to draw. Doubt it. Maybe that will make ones he draws now more even valuable...

Ali and Sinatra are not alone. Through the years there's been this steady stream of celebrities turned artists (as compared to celebrities turned would-be singers like Eddie Murphy, Oscar De Le Hoya, and JLo). We've got Tony Bennett, Anthony Quinn, Tony Curtis, Buddy Ebsen, Richard Chamberlain (not really that famous), and a whole bunch more who have tried their hand at becoming serious artists.

It's like the old Steve Martin Saturday Night Live skit -- 'I can tell you how to get a million dollars, and not pay taxes on it! ... First go out and get a million dollars... Then don't pay taxes on it... And when the government comes and asks you why, just say... "I forgot"...'  Well I can tell you how to become a famous artist who sells paintings for big money: first go out and become famous... then paint any old shit and pawn it off for big bucks.

What's funny is how seriously some of these guys take themselves, and how seriously they want to be taken by everyone else. I can tell them it'll never work. No one wants a jack-of-all trades famous person/artist; people don't perceive you as being a real artist unless it's all you've ever known to do.  You'll always be regarded as an actor or singer who paints.

Celebrity Artist Links

Tony Curtis

Buddy Ebsen - discontinued; see note left hand side.

Anthony Quinn

Tony Bennett


Which is all Sinatra was ever getting at, I think. I picture Sinatra toying around with painting just for kicks. "Hey Nancy, look at this.."  Which of course probably means his work is strictly amateur. But that's ok, because you see he had one other thing going for him; he was really famous.  That brings him into another category, like Ali. A cultural icon. Someone comes into your house and you say, 'that's an original Buddy Ebsen', and they think 'oh, Buddy Ebsen must be some famous painter..', and you say, 'you know the guy from the Beverly Hillbilly's', and they think 'oh, him?..'  and they're not taking your painting seriously anymore. Sorry Buddy. Someone comes into your house and you say 'that's an original by Frank Sinatra' and even if they don't like Sinatra, they're impressed, no matter how amateur it looks. It's a piece of history.

-- LouV


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