Title: There’s a Red Horse Over Yonder
Material: Oil on canvas
Size: 34×24 (8×6 hands)
The horse is too small, the jockey too big, the trainer too old, and I’m too dumb to know the difference. – Charles Howard (Seabiscuit’s owner)
In his first 100 races the racehorse Seabiscuit never once finished in the money, and he was headed for the proverbial (or actual) glue factory in a (metaphorical) handbasket until he came under proper management and training. Stubborn, little, gnarly and eccentric, he was ultimately a most unlikely racehorse to be setting track records.
He always insisted on bedding down at night with his pets: a goat, a dog and a duck. I started doing likewise and my life has improved immeasurably, as long as Ducky remembers his C-pap machine.
In this painting, I bend earth and sky in the background into a horseshoe halo to show the strange, inside-out world that domesticated animals live in. It turns all checker-boardy, to suggest racing silks and other garish racetrack graphics.
By dressing an animal something like a Mexican wrestler with a branded hood, I make a crack about Seabiscuit’s early career racing in Tijuana, but it also speaks of animal domestication. We own them. That was his actual uniform. Racehorses are always (literally) running for their lives.
Seabiscuit’s cocky gaze I caught in a horse’s eyes in the paddock of Hong Kong’s Happy Valley racetrack. The horse told me he wanted to run and was going to win, and he did. Afterward, he and I went to Wanchai to trade shots and watch the fillies walking by. Hay, we’re only human!