Eight hundred and thirty two nudes really did happen. Well, it happened to Dave.
But Dave came predisposed with the skill for digging up the craziest things. He was the kid who ran into the house with dead animals and anything else he could find in the back yard. Rumor has it, Dave was a little terror.
Now Dave is a big terror. Who knows what he and Billy are going to dig up on their buying trips. (lots more about Billy later because FE couldn't run without him!)
|Billy at the warehouse|
By the way, those buying trips are how Dave and I started over twenty-five years ago, but then Dave saddled me with two kids.
...kidding, it was a choice. Well the first one was.
So for the last how-many years Billy has gone with Dave on endless buying trips, digging in old defunct factories and unearthing basements.
In fact, Dave and Billy have been on so many trips together, it’s total simpatico. Recently all three of us were at dinner on a buying trip upstate. When Dave left to go to the bathroom the waitress came over and Billy said “I’ll have a beer and he’ll start with the calamari and a glass of cabernet.”
*According to Dave and Billy, Red Lobster is known for their cabernet.
Anyway, Dave knows that I collect vintage portrait paintings.
So on one of his trips to Ohio Dave called me from the road and said “Jool, you're never gonna believe this, Billy and I are in the basement of a rabbi’s antique shop in the middle of nowhere and he has about eight hundred nude oil paintings from the 60’s and 70’s!” The rabbi told Dave that the paintings were the life work of one man, who’s nowhere to be found.
|One of the craziest finds in FE history!|
Eight hundred canvases? The basement of an antique store belonging to a rabbi in the middle of nowhere? A rabbi... in the middle of nowhere? If it were anyone other than Dave and Billy my jaw would drop.
|Keep in mind, we usually come across just one or two paintings|
Dave pulled up to the store with the truckload of art and WOW! These paintings were quirky outsider art, like the odd thrift shop paintings I’ve been collecting since high school. Some of them are insanely weird and fantastic! Some of the nudes are wearing a necklace with a religious cross, or playing with a ventriloquist puppet, or wearing a santa hat. I conjure up thoughts about what this artist must have been like, and then I need a brain scrubber.
We brought some of the paintings into the store and surprise, they didn’t translate. For the short time they were in the store Ellen Degeneres happened to come in and she asked about buying one. But then she asked for one that was “less creepy.”
Now the complete body of work sits in Dave’s area of our warehouse in Jersey City (oh yeah, there’s plenty more about Dave’s “area” later). Dave is so used to the paintings stacked in huge piles exposed, literally, that when Noah and I showed up at the warehouse with some insurance adjusters Dave didn’t understand why their jaws dropped at the site of Dave standing there waving "hey guys!"... surrounded by his "art collection."
|These are two of the more tasteful ones|
Still, I love these paintings. The odder the better, and they are odd! We'll use them for something some day. Maybe we’ll rent them out as a prop for a movie by some director like Steven Soderbergh who’s making a film about a strange and mysterious artist who's totally off the grid. Or maybe we’ll show them at the outsider art show.
|Partners in crime!|
Let’s put it this way, I like them a whole lot more than the twelve hundred glass cats (that don't stand up because they're missing a paw) that Dave and Billy brought home from their last trip.
(Steven Soderbergh...if you are interested in the paintings, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!)