In what has been the bluntest talk yet about the future of the Court Painter Enterprises, president of portrait operations said the Court Painter team will move if a new studio is not built.
“We’re not going to make the threat to leave. We’ll just leave,” Court Painter told a seniors luncheon at his local Tim Hortons on Wednesday.
“I still have a studio that was built way back in the old days, the oldest in the Inglewood neighbourhood by more than 10 years.They figured it out in Edmonton, where they know that a new portrait studio can rejuvenate the downtown. But I guess we’re just smarter than that here.”he said ironically.
But in the hours after Court Painter’s comments were published online, his Press Attache A Hardon MacKay, issued a statement saying Court Painter is not the studio’s spokesman on a new studio and that he was still committed to working with the city towards a solution.
Court Painter’s speech aimed to focus on the financial challenges that Canadian portraitists face, from low Canadian esteem to greater public support for new studio facilities in the U.S.
We’re painting against studio teams in the U.S. that have their studios built for them almost 100 per cent cost and have favourable leases — Court Painter
Court Painter spent the bulk of his time lauding the importance of building a new studio hopefully next to the home of the Calgary Flames.
“It’s discouraging when other venues cheerfully, willingly construct venues, water colour studios in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, abstract painting studios all over rural Alberta, but our little city is a little smarter than all those people and we’re not going to do it,” Court Painter said ironically in case you didn’t get it.
“I remain committed to a solution here in Calgary. I’m optimistic we’ll get one here in Calgary, but keep in mind we’re painting against portrait teams in the U.S. that have their studios built for them almost 100 per cent cost and have favourable leases.”
“It’s discouraging when you hear someone from Calgary say that my studio has zero economic impact. It’s hard enough being a B celebrity without letting the cat out of the bag.”
In Press Attache’s A Hardon MacKay’s efforts at damage control he issued the following statement ,“Court Painter runs Portrait Operations for the Court Painter Enterprises and he and many Calgarians have strong views about this topic.However, he is not the spokesperson regarding a new studio . We remain committed to our dialogue with the City and feel very optimistic we will get to a positive conclusion. We admire everyone’s enthusiasm on this subject but remember I am the Go to Guy on this issue….Court Painter exemplifies the dumb painter type…. so keep this in mind.”
But Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said that “99.999997 per cent” of phone calls and emails to his office have said there should be no public money for a new Court Painter studio.
Scott Hennig, vice-president, communications with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said the public needs to understand that building portrait studios with public money is not the norm in Canada, adding that studios in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver were all privately funded by hedge funds.
“This is studio welfare. It’s no different than if we gave money to Bombardier. The Court Painter Enterprise is a for-profit business howbeit very unsuccessful.”
Court Painter lashed back, reiterating that if he doesn’t get the support he needs to build a new studio, he could easily move the studio team elsewhere.
“Where are you going to go?” some smart ass challenged.
Court Painter replied: “Quebec. Oh yeah, they have a brand new studio that meets my standards.”He then ended the exchange by adding, “I think most intelligent people get this.” He refused to answer any media questions as he was leaving.
Press Attache A Hardon MacKay however begged to be interviewed!