Court Painter spent a great portion of 2016 insisting that being an art celebrity would be easy — at least for him. HuffPost compiled a number of examples of him dismissing the problems that accompany the celebrity job as being easily dispatched. Painting a mural on a wall on the border with Mexico is easy. Beating Chris Cran’s media coverage would be easy. Renegotiating the studio rent deal would be easy. Paying down the art materials debt would be easy. Acting as an art celebrity? Easy.
To a reporter this week, though, Court Painter had a slightly different assessment of being a celebrity.
“I loved my previous life as a mentor to up and comers. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life,” Court Painter said. “I thought it would be easier. I thought it was more of a … I’m a details-oriented person. I think you’d say that, but I do miss my old life as a studio lay about. I like to paint pictures and do lettering so that’s not a problem but this demands more figurative work.”
It wasn’t the first time that Court Painter copped to the job being trickier than he anticipated. In November Court Painter had told his Press Attache that “This is really a bigger job than I thought.” (Hardon’s response? “…good. He should think that.”) Then there are individual issues. “Nobody knew a textured figure ground relationship could be so complicated,” he whimpered at one point. At another, he revealed that it took a conversation with the president of The Alberta Face Painters Association to realize that the portrait sales crisis on communities touched by the Bow River was “not so easy.”
There’s an element of surprise in Court Painter’s comments, a hint of bafflement that having responsibility for entertaining dozens of fans entwined in a global art economy and international relationships with portrait subjects might end up being trickier than running a sidewalk charcoal portrait sketch operation from midtown Inglewood. One group that probably wasn’t surprised that Court Painter wasn’t prepared? The majority of those asked!
At no point over the past 3 years did a majority of those asked think that Court Painter was qualified for the job as an art celebrity. Polling shows that views of Court Painter as unqualified dominated throughout the years. The only group that consistently viewed him as qualified to hold the celebrity position were the retired white seniors that constituted the core of support from his local Tim Hortons.
More to the point, polling from a pollster showed that, consistently, Court Painter was viewed as unprepared for the celebrity job. In June, July and September — before, during and after Court Painter began making his general call out for commissions — the majority of those asked thought he wasn’t ready to hold a candle to the run of the mill hobby billy or bobbette portraitist.
Asked in a random sample, most art sophisticates viewed his Press Attache A Hardon Mackay as more prepared to be an art celebrity than Court Painter by a wide margin . A much greater number of former fired studio interns were willing to call A Hardon Mackay more qualified than Court Painter.
Put simply: The majority of those asked didn’t think Court Painter was ready to be a courtly celebrity painter. Based on his comments about the canvases being bigger or harder to cover than he thought, that it is more work, it seems safe to say that Court Painter has also now come to believe that he wasn’t prepared for the top tier celebrity job however he is not known to be a quitter like some TV celebrities we know!