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Speed Painter D. Westry
February 12, 2013 11:00 PM   Subscribe

Speed-painter D. Westry appeared on the Anderson Show, promising to paint a picture in 90 seconds or less. With the clock ticking down, guests and hosts alike were puzzled by the work taking shape on the canvas, until. . .
posted by KathrynT (50 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by quazichimp at 11:13 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, it's definitely more about speed than painting.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:15 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well... Heck...
posted by mrgroweler at 11:15 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This happens to me with haircuts. Apart from the bit at the end.
posted by aesop at 11:52 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a neat trick, but I feel compelled to point out the man in the picture looks nothing like Rolf Harris.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:22 AM on February 13, 2013 [15 favorites]


Mr Squiggle wants his bit back.
posted by pompomtom at 12:25 AM on February 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


Thanks for sharing! I was huh, ok, he's going to splash something on it...oh, cool! (I guess I have a low bar for entertainment these days or something.)
posted by maxwelton at 12:28 AM on February 13, 2013


He got me.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:36 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's a really cool party trick!
posted by shelleycat at 12:38 AM on February 13, 2013


I can do something similar, but my paintings have to be rotated through a fourth space dimension to look right. My career hasn't picked up.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:41 AM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you're old enough, and probably Australian, you might have seen something similar back in the day when tv was still black and white, and the painter used house brushes & paint, and sung at the same time. Since then, he's actually painted a portrait of the Queen of England.
posted by b33j at 1:13 AM on February 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I find this interesting to relate back to Drawing on The Right Side of the Brain, (happening to be a book on drawing I recently purchased per Metafilter recommendation). One of the very first exercises given is drawing things upside down so you ditch the perception of the image and just draw the lines. This rather makes me wonder if the "trick" is actually important to the whole performance (or at least makes it easier).
posted by solarion at 1:23 AM on February 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Can you tell what it is yet..?"
posted by DanCall at 1:58 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, that was a lot cooler than I expected it to be. In retrospect, can't believe I didn't spot it at all until after he'd... yeah. Damn.
posted by Dysk at 2:00 AM on February 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


George Bush, interesting choice.
posted by chomarui at 3:02 AM on February 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


I expected that one final stroke that would pull it all together...

well played Mr. Westry..

As an added point, believe it or not, as I was typing that my cat barfed a hairball (in less than 10 seconds) that looked exactly like Dick Cheney!
posted by HuronBob at 3:14 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


HuronBob: When did you ever see a hairball that didn't look like Dick Cheney?!
posted by Goofyy at 3:26 AM on February 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was all like "yeah whatever...modern art is weird" and then when the thing happened i actually said out loud "oh shit" and had a bit of drop jaw for a few seconds.

That was pretty neat.
posted by sio42 at 3:26 AM on February 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


"HuronBob: When did you ever see a hairball that didn't look like Dick Cheney?!"

So, I can't sell it on eBay?
posted by HuronBob at 3:44 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've seen this doen as street art - along with the spray-paint-and-lighter space vistas and 10-minute caricatures. It's entertaining to watch and surprisingly difficult to do - you have to train yourself or be born with the ability to break down photos into shadow and highlight on the fly and work from memory, and have the hand-eye co-ordination to put it to paper.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:22 AM on February 13, 2013


He's no Georg Baselitz.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:22 AM on February 13, 2013


absolutely fucking amazing. Standing ovation well deserved. wow.
posted by marienbad at 4:38 AM on February 13, 2013


I'd be inclined to say you could sell anything on eBay, but Dick Cheney as a hairball might be tough. Maybe as part of a set including Bill Kristol and W, there might be more interest.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:49 AM on February 13, 2013


Fantastic.
posted by Faintdreams at 4:54 AM on February 13, 2013


I'd be inclined to say you could sell anything on eBay, but Dick Cheney as a hairball might be tough.

People. People.

You don't sell the hairball as looking like Dick Cheney. You sell it as Rush Limbaugh's pilonidal cyst. It doesn't matter that it doesn't look like a hairball. Limbaugh's many followers are sufficiently close to that part of his anatomy that, in the dark, the distinction is moot. Market it under the strapline of "getting close to greatness" or similar and sit back and watch the big bucks roll in.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:57 AM on February 13, 2013


I had no idea you could do that with a painting of a vulva.
posted by borges at 4:58 AM on February 13, 2013


His website.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:19 AM on February 13, 2013


Yep. He got me.
posted by ColdChef at 5:59 AM on February 13, 2013


I've seen street artists and Rolf Harris' work before, and at least one Jimi Hendrix speed portrait on the CBC ages ago, so I was also expecting the last few strokes to pull the whole show together. Nice variation on the theme.
posted by maudlin at 6:02 AM on February 13, 2013


I couldn't paint anything even close to that in 90 years. (And that would be an incredibly boring segment on the-man-with-no-first-name Anderson Cooper's show.)
posted by The Deej at 6:02 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I actually really enjoyed this -- his confidence and economy with the brush is a skill I'd love to have. Thanks for the link!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:21 AM on February 13, 2013


The would-be surprise was kind of spoiled by one of the Youtube comments. Still pretty cool, though.
posted by Jpfed at 6:22 AM on February 13, 2013


His website.

Absent the astonishment of watching him do it incredibly fast and upside down, a gallery of his work just makes you think "Wow, that is some shitty art."
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:30 AM on February 13, 2013


That was cool. I am reminded of the great/hack-y Morris Katz, who did the same sort of thing, using toilet paper instead of brushes. I met him once, when I was about eight -- Katz was friends with my elementary school art teacher, and she brought him in for an "assembly" once. All the kids were totally wowed. Someone went home with one of Katz's Charmin'd masterpieces, if I recall.

The interesting thing about speed painting is that it forces the painter to create representational artworks -- a limitation that, as far as I'm concerned, is more constricting that even the time limit. Paintings don't have to look like anything in the real world, of course - just ask Jackson Pollock.

If "D" (or Morris, R.I.P.) were to just smear paints at random for 90 seconds, and then be all, like, "Ta-da, bitches!," no one would care at all, and the criticism "My kid could paint that!" would be entirely accurate.

But this D fellow gets it, obviously. The final turn-the-canvas-upside-down flourish calls attention not so much to his speed, but to his ability to mess with our own preconceptions about representationalism in art. A pretty neat trick, really. I like this guy.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:31 AM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Absent the astonishment of watching him do it incredibly fast and upside down...

Remember, he has a very well-developed system for this. It's a good bet that he's churned-out a Bush painting a few times before and he pretty-much knows what blobs to put where. I would also suspect that his prepared canvas had rough sketch lines already on it.

In other words, he didn't just walk up to the canvas and magically conjure-up out of his head an amazingly life-like chiaroscuro of GWB on the spot, for the first time evar. He was filling-in very familiar blanks. Dude's a good businessman and entertainer. He has an assembly system with an act built around it.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:58 AM on February 13, 2013


Well, it's definitely more about speed than painting.

Oh, Metafilter . . . you never disappoint, do you?
posted by IvoShandor at 7:00 AM on February 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


I thought it was a painting of Anderson Cooper.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:07 AM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of course it was Anderson Cooper. That was part of what made it astonishing.
posted by MythMaker at 7:14 AM on February 13, 2013


Yeah, Cooper. I guess some people see Bush behind every shrub.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:21 AM on February 13, 2013


What's really weird is if you watch it twice, you can't help but see the...end result...the second time.

The human brain is a wonderful and strange thing.
posted by dubitable at 7:35 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


This appears to be A Thing, like close-up magic or ventriloquism.

Cf. Denny Dent.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:42 AM on February 13, 2013


I saw it the first time - I blame it on hours behind a view camera, where the image is upside down and backwards.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:59 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait, is it seriously George W Bush? I thought it was Lincoln.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:02 AM on February 13, 2013


My theory was that he was going to fold the painting in half (never mind that it's clearly a canvas so that's impossible) so I kept looking for symmetry.

I wonder if the black background throws us off from recognizing the "filled in" space.
posted by maryr at 8:09 AM on February 13, 2013


Wait, is it seriously George W Bush? I thought it was Lincoln.

I thought it was a chrome sphere and pyramid floating over a checkerboard. Guess it all depends on how you squint.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:34 AM on February 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Well, I was impressed. I also thought it was Joe Biden, but Cooper makes a lot more sense.
posted by sockermom at 8:57 AM on February 13, 2013


Yep...already drawn on canvas...gimmick. still fun, but a gimmick...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:12 AM on February 13, 2013


Think how many times he had to practice painting that same image, over and over and over...
posted by gottabefunky at 10:54 AM on February 13, 2013


It's not art, but maybe if they'd given him a decent easel...
posted by bricoleur at 7:38 PM on February 13, 2013


This is what happens when artists are required to be capitalists. Product differentiation and marketing becomre more important that content.
posted by mary8nne at 12:01 AM on February 14, 2013


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