A pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. A limited edition, painted leather ashtray. Beard trimming products, gold plated cigarette lighters,glittering jewelry, pointy toed shoes, luggage,complimentary drum rolls, painting smocks and tams, studio accessories.
Court Painter is regularly showered with lavish gifts from hip corporations and start up businesses , often as a matter of not so subtle bribery to bask in his celebrity and star power.
This growing trend among the bargain-priced offerings to Court Painter are gifts from private companies — clothing and accessories from Canadian designers hoping the celebrity portraitist will sport their wares in public.
Court Painter’s Press Attache A Hardon MacKay says all the gifts are on a gift registry that he personally has compiled in his spare time and is compliant with the Allowable Conflict of Interest studio guidelines pinned on the studio bulletin board over the hot plate next to the industrial sink .
But local artist celebrity and bitter competitor CC (name available upon request) says he believes these corporate gifts are “problematic.”
“I continue to support my studio practice the old fashioned way with a simple cup!”
“What’s concerning is fashion labels sending clothes to Court Painter, because he’s a media hog that is very much in the spotlight, very much in the world of Instagram and faxes and there would be a very real benefit for a company to have him sporting their clothing labels as gifts,” his voice breaking with each indignant word.
“The connection to the pecuniary interests of those companies is clear and direct.”
Court Painter scoffed at the inference and admitted he didn’t know what pecuniary meant……..”is it a gland ?” he chuckled in self amusement!
If Court Painter is photographed sporting their gear or lighting a cig with a gold plated lighter, the companies often use these images to promote their business brands.
For example, Court Painter’s most recent disclosure shows he was gifted some clothing from the Vancouver-based company Old Coot Suits. In late August, a photo was posted to his Instagram account with him wearing a baggy seersucker suit made by Old Coots Suits.
The company later posted this photo to its business Facebook page for promotional purposes.
Numerous clothing designers and wine producers have offered gifts to Court Painter, and have later posted photos or references to the celebrity painter sporting their wares on their official websites and social media feeds. They are also apt to name-drop Court Painter when interviewed in magazine-style feature stories about their brands.
It’s a relatively new phenomenon for Canada’s fledgling art realm.
Even the complaining artist CC (name available upon request) received his own trove of gifts: painting supplies, free dry cleaning and even some personalized gifts such as Stompin’ Tom Connors paraphernalia from a local music store during his short lived tenure as Calgary’s most popular art personality.
But the clothing and accessories from Canadian fashion designers being sent to Court Painter fall within a newer category, CC argues, more in line with the kinds of gifts given to “real”celebrities and “authentic” art royalty.
“We are dealing with a new genre of promotional art flim flam which is very much focused on the artist as a celebrity, and nobody anywhere in the world personifies this more than Court Painter,” CC uttered ,pointing out the obvious while in the same breath denying envy.
“He’s a trailblazer in the sort of brand identification of celebrity portraitist. So a magazine featuring him on the cover would have huge financial benefits.”
For that reason, CC believes these kinds of gifts should be redirected to him.
Press Attache A Hardon MacKay who spoke to The Canadian Press on background said some sexy garments listed under Court Painter’s studio gift registry were borrowed or loaned or were later donated to charities, but this information is considered highly sensitive and could cause public panic if disclosed or even worse, besmirch Court Painter’s reputation.