I’m working on a Sopranos piece right now, which made me think of another job I did a while back on the godfather of the mob genre, that’s right, The Godfather.
This was done around the time Mario Puzo, the author of the Godfather books died, and the article examined Puzo’s impact on our view of the Mafia (You know, it doesn’t really exist!) as well as the Mafia’s own self image.
There was a dispute between the AD and the Editor. The AD ended up with his you know what in his mouth, tied up in the trunk of his car with two in the hat and thrown into the East River.
The AD wanted an image of Marlon Brando, because he’s instantly recognizable as the Godfather. The editor wanted an image of Mario Puzo because “The article is about Mario Puzo, not Marlon Brando”.
I got a lot of reference of both guys and tried to do a mash up of the two (even though that term wouldn’t come into use for another 6 years or so). Also, I got the book and tore pages out and matte mediumed them down on the canvas.
They loved the final. The AD said “Great Brando” and the editor said “Great Puzo”.
This is back when I was trying to be an oil painter. I remember that I’d always try to be making things finer, smoother, more realistic. Now that I work digitally it’s the opposite. I try to leave some kind of evidence that a hand created the work.
Nice nice job Dale. I like the exaggerations you put into these portraits....the stretching and manipulating of the features. This one's a beauty.
J.S.DykesMarch 28, 2007
I'm gonna pay you a compliment you can't refuse...
Dale StephanosMarch 28, 2007
Thanks Randy. I really see people this way you know. It's only after I've stepped away from a piece for a while that I realize how exaggerated it is.
John, you talkin' to me?
David GoldinMarch 28, 2007
No horse head in the bed tonight.
Peter HermannMarch 29, 2007
great story and fantastic portrait Dale, looks to me like you were an oil painter (this is too good to be considered trying).
and btw thanks for making me think of Apocalypse Now (redux of course), no matter what people say, Brando was pure genius in that one. the contrast between the huge Kurtz and the skinny Martin Sheen. Coppola is best when someone forces him to think fast.
Zina SaundersMarch 29, 2007
Great brooding portrait, Dale. Excellent "mash up" and clever idea, with the book pages. I really like the nearly entirely subdued palette, too. Also the composition is very nice, too, with the sepia glow on the book pages upper left counterbalanced by the profile.
Alex MurawskiMarch 29, 2007
Really gorgeous image Dale. Always good to hear the back story.
Rob DunlaveyMarch 29, 2007
That's great how they both liked it for their own reasons/saw what they needed to see. Love to see this painting in person.
Roberto ParadaMarch 30, 2007
Dale, I thought that was a painting. Nicely done! What a crazy conflict between the AD and the Editor. I think you got the middle ground just right. I completely understand about the digital transition, but don't you ever wish to paint. Or do you only do it for personal work?
Who are you doing the Soprano's thing for? and will you post it on Drawger when it comes out?
Dale StephanosMarch 30, 2007
Thanks for the nice words .
Peter, I agree with you on Apocalypse now. That first scene with Brando where he's mostly in shadow - I could watch that over and over.
Rob, I have to have the Boston area Drawger contingent over soon. When the weather warms up and we can hang out back.
Roberto, thanks. Any compliment on a painting coming from you is a badge of honor. I love painting. The whole digital thing just came about because of time and economics. Digital is faster for me. I do miss having a real painting at the end of the process though.
The Sopranos thing is for a local "Boston" publication. I post it after it's printed.
Edel RodriguezMarch 30, 2007
Dale, I like some of the grit of this painting. Sometimes the digital color on other pieces seems to float. Have you ever tried techniques to give the digital work more texture?
Dale StephanosMarch 31, 2007
Edel, thanks for the comment.
It's difficult ot give digital images that sense of history that a painting has. You know, you get disgusted with yourself, throw the thing on the floor, stomp it, etc, only to find you "fixed" it.There's gotta be a filter in photoshop for that, right?
But really, yess, I'm always in search of some way to make this digital stuff look a bit more organic.
Edel RodriguezMarch 31, 2007
Dale, I do some digital work too, but I usually start on paper first, scan it and then do things to it. I have a hard time drawing or painting on a computer. It's not as fast as I'm thinking, or not enough resistance from the surface, whatever. Sometimes I just want to cut the paper or push down, and it's hard to do that with a monitor. Zina has found some interesting ways to bring some of that hand stuff into her work. Not sure how she does it, maybe we can get her to spill the secrets sometime.