Court Painter, Disputes Harper’s Comment Over His Fees
— The Court Painter is hitting back at Conservative Leader Stephen Harper over comments that the nationally esteemed painter of the Great Dominion’s political elite is floundering because of low ratings rather than a lack of commission fees.
Court Painter Will says he has healthy ratings, but is crippled by a broken funding model.
“It’s not about a lack of an appreciative audience and groupies,” he said after leaving his neighbourhood Tim Hortons on Tuesday. “It’s about a broken finance model that doesn’t work, that used to be built on advertising revenues supporting a drop in parliamentary appropriations. In this environment, it doesn’t work anymore.My studio and unpaid studio intern assistants costs are just too expensive in this unsustainable arts averse environment”
The 2012 federal budget cut Court Painter funding by $115 over three years. Last year, the famed portraitist of the political class said he faced a $130 shortfall – compounded by the loss of rights to sell his sketches at NHL games – and was forced to cut down on smoking to 2 packs a day.
Harper told a private radio station in Quebec that the Court Painter’s budget crunch isn’t due to government cuts, but because of his low ratings as a portraitist.
“The reason for the difficulties aren’t the cuts,” Harper said in an interview broadcast Monday.
“There aren’t cuts. The reason is the loss of clients. It’s a problem for the Court Painter to fix…..if he added more sunsets in his paintings his ratings would improve 100%. There is a limit to paying artist fees especially when the works of a God given talent should be given away free”, he added.
Court Painter Will wouldn’t answer when asked whether he thought Harper’s comments were fair.
“But I’m going to tell you it’s not because of my ratings that we have a problem in my studio.Canada must look to other European countries for ideas on how to fund public Court portraitists.Look no futher than my dear friend the British Monarch!
People are no longer buying my work. We should have a conversation about what’s the best funding model for me. I can’t continue in this environment.” he sputtered, taking a drag on a smouldering butt hanging off his lower cracked lip.
“For 2 years, the government has funded the Court Painter It has given his studio a set mandate that the Court Painter has to comply,” a leggy unpaid studio intern spokesperson said. “For Mr. Harper to suddenly say the problems are not a result of his fee cuts on Court commissions boggles the mind.
The Court Painter is in a funding crisis. He has all these Great Dominion political figure painting responsibilities and he just can’t keep doing them with the puny fees at the level that it’s at ….at least restore his right to sell sketches at Flames games.”