Title: The Body Electric: portrait of Walt Whitman
Material: Oil on canvas
Year: 2019 SOLD
There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance. — Walt Whitman
It was the poet Walt Whitman who invented free verse, radical socialist that he was. Before that, verse was very expensive, costing at least $12 a barrel. He was born in Huntington on Long Island, a town named after England’s Huntington, where Oliver Cromwell was born. In high school, I once ran the 400 (and lost) to a kid named Oliver Cromwell, who was named after Oliver Cromwell. Walt Whitman was named after an oversized bridge in Philadelphia. We’ve come full circle now, so let’s progress.
Wally was a Civil War nurse, he was gay, and some people rhapsodically call him our first bohemian. He wrote “Leaves of Grass”, which informed this fiery, psychedelicized portrait of the bardo bard, but any connection between psychedelics and grass in this painting is purely coincidental, so don’t go blabbling about that non-connection, okay? Uncharacteristically, I used no black paint in the manufacture of this painting, which I found serves to turn up the heat a little.
A final word of warning: If you ever open a box of Whitman’s Candy, do not eat the Savoy Truffle. As George Harrison pointed out in the song of that name, you’ll have to have them all (your teeth) pulled out after the Savoy Truffle. But the Coconut Fudge really blows down those blues.