"Hanging Out" Kerry Hallam on painting
"It is a sobering thought that there are to date the better part of twelve thousand of my paintings hanging out on walls around the world.
They were born, sucked on the tit for a time, toddled, stumbled, fell and finally after all the turmoil and tears grew up and walked out the door with a promise to do well and behave themselves. Be a credit to the family. They are leading their own lives now free of the constricting demands of home and the claustrophobic, possessive love of their creator. Most have done alright for themselves. Then there are always a handful who just weren't meant to make it. Can't all be Nobel prize winners.
They grace the rooms of royalty, the mansions of nobility, the quarters of the privileged, and ordinary family rooms in the suburbs next to the TV and the photos of the kids and a departed uncle in Army uniform.
They're splattered all over the globe (bless their cotton socks) but I have kept track of some.
A dazzling landscape of rich Provencal tapestry gazes down daily on a beautiful woman who stole my heart and with whom I languished in the luxury of love for a while years ago when the world was young.
Others hang with friends who view them as a solace, a reassurance, a comfort. They are gifts, tokens of respect and affection. Well-balanced pieces.
An aging actress in Paris, long retired and holding on to the shreds of fame, treasures the painting as she does her past.
Sol in his small apartment on the Upper West Side wonders if he will ever finish his screenplay and searches the painting's brush work for an answer. He thought he had it once.
The large boardroom of the shipping mega-millionaire in Hamburg houses a piece too austere for words. This is a snotty painting. It has an attitude and was never really liked. It is merely an accoutrement. I try to tell them but . . . .
The large mansion in Palm Beach houses several works from one of my more ambitious periods. From the very start they were destined to become part timers. Three months out of the year they are dusted off, see the light of day and watch local society gather to show off its jewellery, caviar, wine and brittle voices that are loud and empty. A very brief and dubious moment of glory.
In the meticulous house in Tokyo the small, exquisitely framed jewel is treated with awed respect. It is bowed to each morning because it is worthy. That one I'm proud of!
There's a TV station in the U.K. that has one as a back drop for the evening news program. Now that's exposure. Bit over the top, I think, but not all bad.
There's a truck driver who has one hanging in the back of the cab of his eighteen wheeler where he sleeps on long runs. That one always did have the urge to travel. Itchy feet. Loved to dance.
Candice the gorgeous stripper from Mobile keeps the nude by her bed so that she will remember how it was.
Somewhere in Beverly Hills a rendering of a famous sailing regatta watches as a well known popular singer struggles to remain popular. The painting sees what the public don't. He is fighting to stay on top, drinking to anesthetize the fear that his voice is shot. I am glad I taught them to be compassionate. Don't judge; just do your job.
I always had problems making them realise the need to be multilingual, cosmopolitan, universal. You can't just sit on the back stoop if you want to get anywhere, do anything, amount to something.
On the whole they do a good job in a hard world. I can't grumble.
But I still worry about them.
It's easy for them to give up and find themselves collecting dust on a shelf at the back of the garage waiting for the first fine weekend in spring to be included in the annual yard sale. It's an ignoble ending.
Sometimes you get a second chance, though. Sometimes it's a blessing in diguise.
I must confess there are some whose features have dimmed over the years. The mists have moved in and clouded my recollection.
Over the years I fashioned them, forged them on the clattering anvil, gave them blazing life and golden lustre, breathed spirit and gusto into their warp and weft and in doing, so transferred a sliver of my soul.
Sooner or later the bucket will be empty. The creative well spring will run dry and they will have to fend for themselves."