Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You can’t eat art

This is still one of my favorite art-related articles ever published in the WaPo in 2001.
The van is parked at the CVS drugstore on Spout Run Parkway. Artist John Grazier huddles inside, eating rice pudding from the all-night grocery and downing it with Busch beer. He’ll sleep here tonight, scrunched up on the brown shag rug on the floor, though he knows he won’t get much rest. “I keep worrying I’m going to roll over on the paintings.”
The paintings are why he’s here. They’re why, a week ago, he drove 220 miles from his home near State College, Pa., where the rent is due, his two children need to be fed, and he’s got less than $13 in the bank. He has no other job, no other paycheck to meet the bills. His entire income, what little of it there is, comes from his art.
He needs to sell a painting.
Read it here.

And ten years later, in 2011, the WaPo did this update.
Ten years ago, John Grazier was a struggling, self-taught surrealist, driving his 1966 GMC Handi-van (which also served as his sleeping quarters) 220 miles from his central Pennsylvania rental to the addresses of Washington’s elite to sell his paintings
The eccentric artist had worn out his welcome with District art dealers and struck out on his own — peddling his work door-to-door to law firms and entrepreneurs — when reporter Darragh Johnson shadowed him for a 2001 Washington Post Magazine story. He swung from bouts of homelessness to pulling in $100,000 commissions.
You can see some of John's works here.