When I first started working as the Arts and Literature editor at the Weekly Alibi, I wanted to send out requests for art.
I figured the art section should more or less belong to the people. My first such call was for images of birds. I have developed a fairly all-consuming fixation on waterfowl and wondered what kind of response I would get. About a dozen people sent in photographs and artwork, both original and stuff they had collected. I just got a photo of Chilean cranes from the father of a friend out in Oklahoma, a state I love to hate on, yet can't seem to get away from.
The Alibi offices are packed full of velvet paintings—a Pink Panther, an Elvis and a poodle. There may be more. I don't know. It's cavernous and scary in here. I wanted to see how many velvet pictures people would send in.
Gina Yates, who sent in a painting of owls during the first call for art, provided me with a Snoopy. She describes it as “Snoopy having a moment of humble acceptance and gratitude in his time of darkness.”
But then there was nothing. I wanted to follow up on the previous column, but no velvet art came in.
I was complaining to my friend Malinda from Oklahoma, the daughter of the Chilean cranes photographer, about the dearth of velvet art. She then remembered that her “grandmother possibly had a painting of the Pink Panther sitting on the toilet smoking a cigarette.”
My ears pricked up.
“Did you say 'a painting of the Pink Panther sitting on the toilet smoking a cigarette?’ ” I asked, slightly incredulous.
“Why yes, yes I did,” she responded.
It took a few days to locate, but here it is. Quite possibly the greatest painting of all time. It was painted by an unknown Mexican artist in a border town, possibly Reynosa or Matamoros. It’s about 40 years old.
I think it's safe to say I'm closing out the velvet art call. It wasn't the most successful but it yielded a fabulous painting. I want to keep doing this and am open to ideas regarding what kind of art to feature. Send me your ideas at email@example.com.
Until next time.