Majority of Those Asked

Court Painter now agrees with the majority of those asked: He wasn’t ready to be a court painter.

Court Painter thought being a ‘courtly celebrity painter ‘would be easier

In an interview on April 27, Court Painter said he misses aspects of his life before becoming a celebrity and that he thought being a courtly celebrity painter “would be easier.”

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!



Motherlode Threat

Art Celebrity Chris Cran Threatens to Drop ‘Motherlode’ If A  Hardon MacKay Is Ousted by Court Painter
The Calgary painter and art theorist claims to have a cache of dirty secrets that he’s willing to deploy.

A week after Court Painter began to publicly distance himself from his Press Attache and Chief Strategist A Hardon Mackay, Calgary’s art darling Chris Cran threatened to release a “motherlode” of stories that could “destroy marriages” if Hardon is formally let go from the Court Painter studio. 

Cran made the claims that he’d release a series of “scoops” if MacKay is officially pushed out of the studio on an eleven-minute, self-recorded Periscope Thursday night.

“If they get rid of A Hardon Mackay, you know what’s gonna happen? The motherlode. If Hardon is removed, there are gonna be divorces, because I know about the mistresses, the sugar babies, the drugs, the pill popping, the orgies. I know everything,” said Cran.

The Daily Beast reached out to Cran, asking who he meant by “they” and if he had documentation for the claims. He was on Ezra Levant’s Youtube show and livestream most of Friday afternoon, and did not respond at press time.

Sunday painter seniors have spent the week pushing a #KeepHardon hashtag on Twitter, less than a week after a #FireCourtPainter hashtag prominently amplified by Cran became the No. 1 trend with Inglewood hipsters on Twitter.

The hashtags refer to the falling out between Hardon and Court Painter that played out through planted quotes in websites like Spitting Image Velvet Portraits, where Hardon previously worked as its CEO.

The proxy quote war led Court Painter to tell his Tim Hortons seniors gathering on Tuesday that, “Hardon is a good guy, but I told him to straighten out his behaviour and stop stealing my weed or I will.”

An undisclosed source, tweeted just last week that Cran deserved a Pulitzer for his recent gossip about John Will’s efforts to be a better dresser when crashing public art events.

“Congrats to Cran for spreading the John Will story,” D. Clark  tweeted. “In a long gone time of unbiased gossiping he’d win the Pulitzer, but not today!”

Cran cited the Will story and another piece about A Girl Named Robin, which were both scoops later picked up by the gossip hounds at One Yellow Rabbit, as proof of his sourcing inside the Court Painter studio.

“I have more stories that I haven’t released. I haven’t released every scoop that I have. I release my scoops strategically. I’m sitting on way more stories,” he fibbed on his Periscope.

“I will go TMZ on the art globalists. I will go Gossip Girl on the art globalists. I will go Gawker on the art globalists.,I will even stoop to going to Canadian Art.So you mother-effers going after Hardon, just know I broke two of the biggest pieces of gossip before anybody else,” Cran said on his Periscope. “If you think I don’t know the pills people are popping, the mistresses, the sugar babies—I know all of it. So you better be smart. Because the mother of all stories will be dropped because I don’t care.”

Cran has a long history of floating conspiracy theories about art opponents and people he deems to be “art globalists”. He was one of the leading peddlers of the  Tim Horton conspiracy theory, which claimed John Will was central figure in a fictitious nude life class ring run out of the basement of Court Painter’s studio. He also repeatedly claimed that the Court Painter portraits are ‘digitally assisted’ and not hand made like his wife’s fudge.

The Tim Horton Bulletin on Friday commending Cran’s recent stories, however, saying his “two recent scoops have been anything but fake.”

“Hire public relations firms. Pay off (Court Painter supporting Youtube host) Ezra Levant to call me names. Fabricate things about me. I don’t care,” said Cran. “In Painting you can’t kill what is already dead. What is dead in painting is dead.Court Painter exemplifies the death of painting and stuff like that.”

Cran refused to elaborate or deconstruct what he meant!

Not United

Court Painter Studio Not United

For much of this week, one of the top stories on Twitter (and nearly everywhere else) was about the Press Attache who was unceremoniously removed from an Inglewood studio by an irate Court Painter. Other unpaid studio assistants in the studio filmed the whimpering man, who was removed from the studio by the Chretien Chokehold, as he was dragged out of the studio on Sunday evening . Before long, the videos racked up hundreds of thousands of views online.

According to another studio intern, the Press Attache A Hardon MacKay caused the dust up by refusing to move from his desk insisting he needed to finish a  Tweet for posting the next morning.

In response to the event, the Alberta chapter of the College of Press Attaches tweeted: “When you eject an Attache in the studio, do you still ask ‘Is there a press Twitterer in the house ?’ ” The Twitter hashtag #unfairtoflak appeared thousands of times on Sunday and Monday, according to the social-media research firm Texifter. One typical post read: “You had a handsome talented Attache of the Press removed from your studio. I hope he sues your skinny ass off . #unfairtoflak.” Another: “Well, choosing a portrait commission just got a hell of a lot easier. #unfairtoflak.”

Here’s the statement Court Painter posted on Twitter with the help of his rehired Press Attache after the dust up was over.

“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at the Court Painter studio. I apologize for having to re-accommodate my closest business associate A Hardon MacKay. However I had to act with a sense of urgency to purge the studio by re-accommodation of a Press Attache who was about to post a salacious Tweet about the off colour goings on in the studio the previous evening. I have reached out at arms length to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation to my satisfaction.”

In a gutsy move the rehired Press Attache A Hardon MacKay tweeted a statement he felt Court Painter should have posted:

“All of us at Court Painter studios were horrified by what happened last night. I have reached out to the Press Attache to apologize, offer assistance and make amends. Nothing is more important to Court Painter than the safety of my unpaid staff. This incident doesn’t reflect my values and I’m going to make sure it never happens again unless my values change.”

Court Painter at first defended his action, saying he followed proper studio evacuation procedures and had no choice but to grab AHM by the neck in the famous Chretien Chokehold and remove him from the studio.

Court Painter’s response — which doesn’t include a direct apology to the humbled AHM — was probably influenced by something he saw on American TV and worried about admitting liability. That’s incredibly short-sighted. It’s clear to any reasonable person watching the videos that what happened to A Hardon MacKay was very, very wrong. By not fully apologizing, Court Painter suggests that he might believe otherwise. For anyone considering working in any unpaid studio position in future, that’s really sticking your neck out.

Court Painter may think he doesn’t need to worry about good consumer public relations because art buyers all over the world tend to book commissions on the basis of price. But plenty of patrons with expense accounts can choose to splurge on higher fees with studios they prefer, and many more still pick a single artist to rack up their upgrades to 800 thread linen canvas and top grade Windsor Newton hand ground pigments.

In a gesture of reconciliation and wise business practice Court Painter reinstated Press Attache A Hardon MacKay almost immediately with this comment,”The ongoing success of the Court Painter enterprise is chiefly my doing however A Hardon MacKay is the only Press Attache I could find that continues to accept IOU’s as compensation and grovels to be rehired even at a pay cut. Can’t beat that!”