So this is a piece that I finished a while ago. The commissioner left the door pretty wide open. He simply gave me a quote by Hitchens, and said I could do pretty much whatever I wanted.
Here is the quote:
“Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It’s not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today’s Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn’t particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human.”
Of course I couldn’t write out the whole quote, so I typed it out five or six times on my Underwood typewriter. I then cut the paper up and pasted it on the canvas.
I was pretty nervous to draw Hitchens. I have not read a lot of him. This matters! I tend to enjoy painting people that I really know. When painting Kafka, I even fell in love with him – kind of.
Despite all the nerves, I think it turned out ok. I mean its probably not the best, but its passable.
Hopefully the commissioner is a fan.