Saturday, November 15, 2008

Che Guevara as banker, with cigar

I'm getting into the spirit of the "Nailed Seraphim" Art Invitational here - art work responding to a specific poem.

K. Curtis Lyle's great poem about 9/11, Nailed Seraphim, has various satirical references to public figures, everyone from Tavis Smiley to Rudy Giuliani to Fidel Castro. I get a kick out of drawing cartoons of people - usually people I know, when they are right there in front of me, but also historical figures, based on photographs.

Between now and the invitational (Friday, Nov. 21 at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary, 3100 Sutton Blvd. in Maplewood), I'll be sketching the famous people that pop up in the poem. Since my schtick, when I draw people from life, is to invite them to sign the sketch, I'll also be looking for examples of these famous people's signatures and trying to imitate that as well. Whether or not I produce a drawing worth looking at, I will have improved my chops in the forgery department.

The title of this drawing - pulled verbatim from Curtis' poem, as is required for titles of pieces in a Poetry Scores Art Invitational - is "Che Gueveara during his short stint as head of Cuba’s National Bank." The reference comes from a prose aside about the great great uncle of our (anti-)hero, Mortice Juwan Menifee:

"Mortice’s great great uncle, Dutro Menifee, had purportedly killed a white man in Mississippi in the 1920’sover a gambling debt. Dutro had escaped to Mexico and then made his way to Guatemala. He had lived there for twelve years in relative peace and obscurity before being accused of killing another man in a dispute over money and a woman. From Guatemala he had fled to honduras and then late in the summer of 1941 was accused of selling diseased cattle to Texas ranchers. He was jailed briefly, but escaped again, with the help of two Nicaraguan women who claimed he was their protector, i. e. , pimp. They got to the north coast of Nicaragua where Dutro stole a fishing boat and set sail for Cuba. According to this ‘deep’ investigation, he stayed in Cuba during the forties and fifties and became moderately wealthy running a small Havana casino for some American gangsters until the Cuban revolution came to power. Dutro had sold out the gangsters, backed Fidel Castro, and become a financial advisor to Che Guevara during his short sdtint as head of Cuba’s National Bank."

The poet approves of my participation in the invitational, but I'm not that attached to being in the show. Playing along from the sidelines will be almost as fun. I am, however, putting it to my fellow board memebers to let me in. I feel like the guy who starts a tee ball team so his son can pitch and bat cleanup.

The invitational on Friday goes from 6-10 p.m. and features free Schlafly Beer and lots of real art by real artists.


Blue said...

this is a great drawing, Chris....I love the lines of the suit...good good good!

Barry said...

great work of art. the lines written are also very suitable. i think he is smoking cuban cigar..