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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Jack Vettriano Paints Umbrellas

The Freedom of Information Act has established that Vettriano, Scotland's most commercially successful artist, has been excluded from the National Galleries not because of snobbery, nor because of his immense popularity. No, Jack Hogan, as his mother knew him, has been ignored because curators believe he isn't very good.

Vettriano himself has railed against these "snobby academics", believing they exclude him because he paints frankly heterosexual art. I'm dismayed after all this time to learn that they actually believe Vettriano is technically unskilled as a painter and that his handling of paint is often dull. Jack seemingly is also an indifferent painter who bases his success on cheap commercial reproductions. I always believed he was awful because he painted umbrellas.

Yes, our original modern artists painted umbrellas in the late nineteenth century, and their Japanese friends and forerunners painted them earlier, but that doesn't excuse their depiction in the late twentieth century, or the unthinkable twenty-first century. Umbrellas are not top shelf heterosexual, blatant or obvious.

Don't get me wrong; I think umbrellas are great. Every artist should have one, and be a man and use one, even if you're a woman. But they are not for painting. To walk under one, to carry one, to use one as a walking stick, well that is to live the artist's life. But to paint one, that is to cop out. That's where Jack joined Beryl Cook and Rolf Harris. Let the people get wet, I say. Let them get burnt. Put down those umbrellas! C'mon now.

I once worked in the same office as a girl who was stunning. Tall, skinny, - too skinny - with long, long hair, and almost elegant. Thing is, she always walked as if she was holding an umbrella. She held her head perfectly at an angle so that she could see out from underneath her non-existent umbrella, whilst staying dry. Indoors this is. When I saw her approaching the water cooler I so wanted to run up to her, put my arm around her, and make her complete by placing an umbrella in her hand. But I didn't; instead I stared and wondered how her long, long, straggly hair always had the appearance of being very wet.

Paul Dorrell Provides Guidance

Although with his previous job as a miner, and his selling of prints, Vettriano has followed a path to success that Paul Dorrell espouses, it does appear that Jack needs to read Paul's section on getting into the galleries.


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