Damon Rich Is a Genius

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:15 pm on Saturday, October 29, 2005
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: History, Art, Family

Damon-Eugene Rich

Damon Rich is a genius.

I won’t pretend to know anything about painting. I hated the Uffizi and all of its “Madonna con Bambinos” (although I enjoyed the Uffizi’s statues). I did like a painting of a John Lennon-esque Jesus hovering laterally above the tomb, looking like my friend Brandon Koger flashing a peace sign and proclaiming, “I’m arisen!”. But by and large I despise Renaissance art, most Picassos, and anything that consists of a rectangle painted solid blue. Which effectively eliminates every floor, including the gift shop, of Le Centre de Georges Pompidou and a few other major centers of art as well. So I’m a Philistine. So sue me.

I’m a Louvre guy. Antiquities! Give me antiquities and I’m a happy slobbering fool. Save your blue dots and kitschy modern angst - give me Laocoon wrestling serpents, the Winged Victory, Cupid and Psyche, and the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin! And the Funky Beards of Khorsabad!

Oh, I like Johannes Vermeer, too. Before that goofy movie with Scarlett Johansson came out.

I say all this, by the way, so no one will think that I’m a fan of Thomas Kinkade simply by process of elimination. That guy is a nightmare.

But Damon (Damon-Eugene Rich among the Painterati) is a genius. Many of his paintings are irreverant takes on classic religious works of art - not irreverant to the point of mockery or derision - but humorous and warm. He seamlessly integrates Christian iconography with UPS deliverymen, northern California landscapes, and songs from the old sitcom, Hee-Haw - and somehow it all comes together and makes sense. Maybe I feel that way because I grew up with Damon, or maybe we simply shared enough goofball life-experiences back in the old days at Trinity Christian High School that we forever share a brain wave or two. Anyway, whatever the reason - it doesn’t matter - this is brilliant stuff.

His work from 2005 revolves around more modern themes - here is an introductory quote from Damon’s web site:

““Quejaditos y Milagros”
“Little Complaints and Miracles” are a collection of ex-votos** for mixed blessings. Like the proverbial backhanded complement, “THOSE pants make you look thin,” these self-portraits are a record of lessons for me on being human mixed in with ingredients from the Frigidaire, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and early Country & Western music. The paintings draw on the likes of Queen Elizabeth, Moses, Kitty Wells, Pam Greer, and events such as Fleet Week, birthdays, and talk about the miracles of everyday which seem like the budget on the movie Titanic.”

Damon, I love your stuff and hope that if I pimp it enough that maybe I’ll drive some sales and you’ll give me the painting of Pam Grier with a goatee (a.k.a. “Big Wanda of the House of Fur Bikinis”) for Hannamas. A guy can hope, right?

Some other (non-art) things that came to mind today:

Funny what you learn when you read. I learned that the Roman citizens of Britannia enjoyed better central heating and plumbing than any Englishman of any social caste until the day of Queen Victoria, some 1400 years or so after Alaric sacked Rome. This includes lords and barons and such, who sat in cold nasty homes and scraped dirt from each others’ arms. I almost posted that info along with the Emperor Claudius/Emperor George post from the 25th, but I didn’t want to dilute the message. I also couldn’t find a picture of a Roman-era bidet.

Emperor Dubya?

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:02 pm on Tuesday, October 25, 2005
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Politics, History, Books & Literature, Stupid People

Claudius, Emperor of Rome
George W Bush, Emperor of the USA
Emperor Claudius
George W Bush

I find this interesting. I won’t tell you what to think - it’s your brain - but apply the following to our current regime as you see fit.

“In the year A.D. 41…a chapter of accidents…brought the clownish scholar Claudius, to the throne of the world…Hence we find emperors elevated by chance whose unbridled and capricious passions were their only distinction, whose courts were debauched with lust and cruelty, who were themselves vicious or feeble-minded, who were pawns in the hands of their counselors or favourites, decreeing great campaigns and setting their seal upon long-lasting acts of salutary legislation… [Claudius] was attracted by the idea of gaining a military reputation. He gave orders that this dramatic and possibly lucrative enterprise should proceed. In the year 43, almost one hundred years after Julius Caesar’s evacuation, a powerful, well-organised Roman army, with numerous elephants, was prepared for the subjugation of Britain.”

Winston Churchill
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Vol. I - The Birth of Britain