Thursday, June 15, 2006
Stephano is an artist here in Little Rock who's stock in trade is Warhol-esque portraits of cultural icons like Pope John Paul II, Pres. Bill Clinton, Frida Kahlo, Bob Marley, etc. His most popular paintings, like Marilyn Monroe was for Warhol, are of Johnny Cash. In case my review of Personal File didn't make it unequivocably clear: I think Johnny Cash is The Man. Stephano agrees.
I've long admired his Cash portraits and a couple of months ago, while socializing with Stephano at a gallery reception, he offered me the opportunity to purchase one at an unbelievable price. Which Johnny did I want? Young Sun Records Johnny, rail thin and speed racing behind his eyes? American Prophet Johnny, the righteous voice of God like his name sake, "The Baptist"? As I was considering, Stephano confided there was one Cash portrait he'd never painted but wanted to cap off the series with: Johnny pissed off, flipping off a photographer who kept flashing photos while Johnny was trying to sing to some prisoners. It is THE iconic photo of Johnny Cash. And Stephano agreed to paint it for me.
A reasonable time later, he rings me up to tell me it's done, I go to pick it up and it is absolutely amazing. With his permission, I'm posting an image of the painting so you can all share in my joy.