Notes of an Artistic Mad Man: Art & Celebrity

Above: Guests at James Franco's 'New Film Stills' exhibit at Pace Gallery.
Photo credit: Ella M ; @ellamm12 

…Art and celebrity… The latest newsbreak is Kim Kardasion’s greasy ass is art, as is her daughter’s use of a Hermes bag as a finger-painting canvass and of course everything father, Kanye, does is art after all he is a self-declared artist-god. It’s here to stay whether you like it or not the celebrity’s desire to actually make art whether it be putting a paper bag over your head or playing the kazoo.   It’s all-good, there’s plenty of room for imagination and artistic endeavor to fail or succeed…

…Another celebrity. James Franco, who makes art and other things with facile energy, has recently received a double dose of criticism for his recent show at the Pace gallery. The tag team bullying critics Roberta Smith of the New York Times and Jerry Saltz of New York Magazine, who are also husband and wife, took out their mighty pens not to review Franco’s show but to attack him viciously. Jerry Saltz’s active imagination could come up with nothing more than: “George W. Bush is actually a better artist than James Franco.”? What is sad is I’ve been reading Saltz’s reviews since the Eighties when he worked at the Village Voice. He usually makes sense, enlightening his reader not tearing down the artist, but it seems he has fallen into a brewing caldron of outrageous cynicism that the New York Times critical art staff led by Roberta Smith seems to dabble in. The great Roberta, who I have also been reading since the Eighties is plagued by jealousy fueled by her mediocre appeal. She blows up on Franco conjuring her great critical mind by declaring: “Someone or something make him stop!”    Funny, that’s what I think when I read one of her reviews.   She goes on to one liner us with a final epitaph that Franco is “clueless”. I always thought critics were usually talking about themselves and she hit it on the head with that blast. I’m wondering how those two decided to review Franco? I can see it now: them laying in bed re-reading their tweets to themselves, chortling in their superiority. Saltz says –“I’ll take his head.” Roberta answers – “Good, because I got his balls”…

…Something to look forward to by another celebrity artist is Tim Burton’s movie, Big Eyes, about the painter Margaret Keane, whose paintings of women and children are recognizable by you guessed it, big eyes, really, really big eyes. Her story is fascinating.  Her husband claimed that he was the painter of the “big eyes” phenomenon that had become so popular and valuable. So it was off to court to battle for artistic rights. After much kvetching the judge ordered them both to paint a painting in the courtroom in front of him. Margaret agreed, her husband refused, end of story. Oh for a judge like that on the Supreme Court…

…Finally, after starting this missive with a greasy ass, I’ll leave you with greasy palms as the art world is all a tizzy about record breaking sales at this years auctions, over a billion dollars paid for mostly dead artists’ work. It’s good to be alive for most people but for artists it’s better to be dead…

-C.C. Long (Artistic Mad Man)

C.C. Long: A professional artist and writer for over 20 years. Has been published both in England and the United States. Desire, The Driftwood Review, Flux, Chin, Exit Art, WhiteHot Magazine, Art Nouveau Magazine, The Village Voice, The Thompkins Park Literary Review and the Boston Literary Magazine are just a few of the magazines and literary reviews that has published his works. 

Notes of an Artistic Mad Man: Art & Politics

Photo credit: @reinhard_keck

…Art and Politics…since it is the political season we find solace that our government is dysfunctional and will continue to be so until the end of time. And as for the arts, there’s been nothing as excruciatingly embarrassing as John Ashcroft shrouding the “The Spirit of Justice” sculpture because it was topless. I guess he wasn’t a tit man…

…But there are some things that has tethered art and politics together recently besides the constant complaining that the arts in the United States are critically under funded. Who cares? So the Defense department is allocated 800 billion dollars while the arts is allocated about one and half billion dollars. Artists aren’t making aircraft carriers or a vast array of munitions or paying U.S. service men. I would like to point out though that when a great civilization finally dies it is not the battlefields or number of war dead and destruction that is remembered; it is the art and culture of the society that remains to tell the story of that society. The truth is artists should never mix with politicians because they may be mesmerized by all the empty promises and fall into the pit with them. A little dramatic maybe or maybe not…

…And speaking of government controlled art, the North Korean Mansudae Art Studio founded in 1959, employs 4000 workers of which 1000 are artists; it is one of the largest art production studios in the world. They produce all the propaganda art that is needed to control the general populace but they also create real art and some of this is being shown in London this season. It is the first time the art has been shown publically and four North Korean artists have travelled with it. It is the first time they have ever been out of North Korea. One of the artists describing the studio said – ‘It’s a nine to five job but some people get into their work and they’ll stay all night.’. Artistic reverie. freedom that can’t be taken away…

…Iran, has made some news this month, too. Mahmoud Obaidi an Iranian painter sold “Farewell Kiss” at a Sotheby’s auction for a record 65,000 dollars. The most money paid for a modern Iranian piece of art. The painting features a portrait of President Bush encircled by shoes, commemorating the incident on the President’s last trip to Iraq where in his farewell news conference a shoe-throwing assailant targeted him. The President dodged the shoe with a quick duck and weave…

…Finally, back to former President Bush, kudos to Dubya, who started painting when he left the presidency and seems consumed by it? He has given paintings away to various celebrities, including Jay Leno, breaking the great credo of every artist: ‘never give art away’. Free art is never appreciated and always neglected. But it does get me to thinking: what would the world be like now if he would have started painting before he became president…

-C.C. Long (Notes of an Artistic Mad Man)

C.C. Long: A professional artist and writer for over 20 years. Has been published both in England and the United States. Desire, The Driftwood Review, Flux, Chin, Exit Art, WhiteHot Magazine, Art Nouveau Magazine, The Village Voice, The Thompkins Park Literary Review and the Boston Literary Magazine are just a few of the magazines and literary reviews that has published his works. 

It’s Monday, Time to F@#k Sh*t Up

Today, you’re challenged to do something new. Something out of the box (whatever that may be). Something out of YOUR ordinary. Because what better way to start off the week then with a little turbulence to keep you on your toes. And if things happen to go awry, well– you have the rest of the week to make up for it.

Happy Monday

The Non-scientific Breakdown of A Critique

If you’ve ever been in a critique, chances are you probably fall into one of the following categories:

1. The Defensive Back: Like a 250lb All American, the DB has a comeback for everything and is not letting anything through that tough exterior– not even valuable feedback. Not to worry; we still love you– after the critique.

2. The Ghost: Also-known-as “Casper,” this person has a strange way of always disappearing right before that 2 hour critique.  “Hey?! Wasn’t so-and-so just here a second ago?” “They’ll be back–they left their keys.”

3. The Fat Lady: Before you get upset about the category title, remember the expression, “it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings”? Well, these guys are still slapping on paint on the way to the front of the room.  They always manage to keep things interesting.

4. The Quiet Genius: They let the work speak for itself. Deep down, we all envy them.

There are probably a lot more categories that are missing and should be added to the list. Either way just remember, it’s not you we’re critiquing– it’s the work!

Need a break? Checkout these 4 Paintings Inspired by the Ocean

Huntington Beach, CA artist, Gregory Lee Davis, shares his oceanside views through his paintings– enjoy.





Gregory Lee Davis is an artist from Huntington Beach, CA. He draws much of his inspiration from the ocean where he has spent a great deal of time. The style in which his paintings are done are expressive in nature which is based in technique and can be at times impulsive in his process. In his work lives a vibrant color and spirit.

To see more of Gregory Lee Davis’ work,  visit his website, like him on Facebook, or get your own prints and originals by emailling

Special thanks to Gregory for sharing.


“Believe in your talent and your work will speak for itself”

 23 year old artist, Twan Kaikpo, tells her story. She said she is a struggling artist ( well, not exactly) and wanted to share her art, spirituality, and words– enjoy.


As an artist I try to translate my spirituality and my strange imagination into images.

T_Our Father Who Art In Heaven

I believe my artwork is unique because it’s a bit corky, jovial, spiritual, colorful, and almost childlike. It’s definitely not “fine art” but I think it still conveys a message.

T_Spiritual Messenger

From the Concrete, Who Knew A Flower Would Grow
From the Concrete, Who Knew A Flower Would Grow

I paint because it has a healing effect on me. I could be upset or just really angry all day, but as soon as I pick up a paint brush, all of those feelings are released and I feel happy again.


I hope I don’t sound like a lunatic when I say this but I believe that God puts all of the images I’ve painted so far in my head. I say that because I usually get ideas for paintings after having a daydream while meditating or from dreams.

T_Let her Shine Bright Like the Moon

I haven’t been on the art scene long. I recently started to believe I could actually have a career in art so I haven’t explored different types of mediums yet. So far I’ve only used acrylic paint & water colors on canvas. I think the more comfortable I get, the more I will experiment.

T_Other Side of the Game

One of my best friends is also a painter and she was the one that inspired me to get into painting. She is probably my favorite artist. Her work is a bit corky, symbolic, spiritual, and abstract like mine. She showed me that art is art. Your style is your style. You don’t need to try to be like anyone else in order to be an artist. You just have to believe in your talent and your work will speak for itself.


When people see my artwork I want them to feel the joy I felt while painting it. I want each and every color to pop off of the canvas and have a healing effect on people (you can be healed through color therapy). I want to inspire any young person out there that wants to be an artist but doesn’t think that they’re good enough. I want to show them that they don’t have to be a Picasso to have “talent”.

T_Sun Salutation

Art is whatever you have in your heart that you want to translate with your paint brush (or however you want to express it).

-Twan Kaikpo

 To learn more about Twan and her artwork, visit her blog, find her on Twitter, or follow her on IG.


Special thanks to Twan for sharing.


Goldilocks and The Three Bears of Business

You get the anticipated callback and that’s when the questions come firing in; “So, why are you applying for this position? You seem too___.”

Yep, it’s the corporate version of Goldilocks and The Three Bears– this one’s too senior, this one’s too junior, this one’s just right (if you’re lucky).

You would think someone overqualified would go in there like a badass and do an extra damn good job, right? But, HR probably figures you’ll leave once a “higher calling” comes a-callin’– which is most likely true.

Flip the script– now you’re “too junior” (code for, “this person ain’t worked a day in their life”– at least, not at this level).  In this case you would think someone junior would go in bright eyed, energized, and eager to learn, right? Not to mention flexin’ their innate knack for social media (because that’s what we do). But, HR probably sees it as too risky; we rather go with what we know– better safe than sorry!

Now, this time you’re that sweet spot in the middle– not too senior, not too junior– juuust right.

The end.

Wait a minute– there’s a part II. And in this chapter, you’re the Goldilocks making all the decisions around here (well, kinda). We have the responsibility of also choosing which company/employer is the right fit for us. Too stuffy? Stuff it. Too snobby? Slash it. Too geeky? Well, if that’s what you like– then go for it Goldilocks.


A blog for strugglin' artists


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