Aside from grunts, groans, and other bodily sounds, graphics are the earliest form of communication, chronicling, and art. In terms of communication and chronicling, very few would disagree that, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Drawings on cave walls gave messages to fellow cave dwellers and others showed the events of the day’s hunts, both successful and not. And graphics presented as “art” can induce silence, all degrees of human emotion, a few words, a lot of words, and, more often than not, myriad grunts, groans, and other bodily sounds…sometimes odors.

Like a lot of people, I have pieces of art hanging on the walls of my home. I have a deep appreciation for graphic art from oil and watercolor paintings through pen-and-ink drawings, animations, and cartoons. I’m not, however, an avid or voracious collector. I tend to procure pieces that interest me personally, whether it’s the medium, technique, subject, or all three.

Age and/or “in-vogue” styles do not influence my purchases and I have no desire to own original artworks by noted masters and famous artists. I believe works of the masters, old and new, should be in museums and galleries where all people can easily view them. Be that as it may, here are a few of my favorite pieces.

Picasso & Van Gogh

This unsigned oil painting intrigued me with its earth tones, primitive/modern theme, and the multi-level frame really adds to its flavor. The owner of the antique shop where I purchased this painting claimed it is a portrait, or caricature, of the two artists – Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh. He did not know the artist, only the painting’s previous owner. The artist, whoever he or she is/was, seems to lean towards the style of Picasso. And as I trust the dealer’s assessment, I would say “Picasso & Van Gogh” is a fair title for this work.

Stairway to Heaven

I purchased this charcoal work in the company of a girlfriend who did not like this dark masterpiece and referred to it as “an evil version of (Led Zeppelin’s) Stairway to Heaven.” The artist’s signature appears in the lower left corner: Nozair Guezizgian, 1967.

Sans “evil version”, I think “Stairway to Heaven” is a fitting title. As you might’ve guessed, I got the artwork and lost the girlfriend.

Man & Woman On A Swing

That’s not the official title of this mixed-media work; that’s my description. Signed by the artist, Edith Aleck, there is no title and the dealer knew nothing other than it came from an estate in Hampton Bay, NY. I find the simple, implied artistic statement intriguing and the use of paint, pastel, and a layered canvas quite creative.

Mona Lisa Part Deux

This lady has that enigmatic look we often associate with the Mona Lisa. The artist’s signature is equally enigmatic: Riva. Essentially, I like the colors, texture, and that mysterious look on the lady’s face.

At the time of purchase, this rather large oil painting on a rectangular canvas had some serious wear and damage on the middle to upper left side. Chunks of paint were missing and some areas showed signs of scraping. As I said, I like this piece a lot, so I took to my oil paints and repaired the work.

The Ramones

This is not hanging on a wall in my home. The portrait of world-renown punk band, the Ramones, is on the wall of the overpass for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in Forest Hills, New York, graffiti art if you will. If you are a fan of the Ramones, you would know Forest Hills is their hometown. Gabba, gabba, hey!

The Celts

This picture is purely for fun and requires no explanation.

Napoleon via Jacques-Louis David and by a Friend

Napoleon via Jacques-Louis David and by a Friend

This painting is my most cherished piece of artwork. This was a wedding gift from a friend who is a master artist. I saw the original he painted at his apartment in Manhattan. The original size was 10 ft. x 10 ft. and based on the somewhat unfinished work of Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) and a postcard he received form another friend visiting Paris. David’s Napoleon was on the postcard.

Jacques-Louis David’s original Bonaparte

I’m not a fan of Napoleon, but I am a huge fan of my friend’s work and his original is a masterpiece. After I voiced my love of his version of David’s piece, long story short, he made a copy of his original, but in a smaller, 4 ft. x 6 ft. format that would fit through the door of my studio apartment at the time. One interesting note, he felt his smaller copy was far superior to his initial effort. And if you must know, I still have the painting and lost the wife.

More to come…