Many years ago, longer than I care to remember, I took up painting and decorating. It was desperation, really. Out of work, and with a young family to support, I lashed out on an advert in the local newspaper and waited for the work to roll in.
It did, quite a lot, in fact. I’d never hung a piece of wallpaper in my life, nor painted a ceiling, but I’d watched my parents do their home decorating and decided it couldn’t be that hard.
It wasn’t. Within two years I had a thriving business, employed four laborers, and was “le decorater intérieurs” to the upper-middle classes.
It helped that I was something of a perfectionist. When I painted a door it didn’t end up looking like this:
Nevertheless, my doors have never been hung in London’s Tate Gallery; the above abomination has, along with a large number of similarly badly painted doors. They’re all part of a new exhibition by the Jewish painter, Mark Rothko, who committed suicide in 1970. I don’t blame him. If I’d been such a bloody awful painter I’d not have had the chance to kill myself; my customers would have done the job for me.
The truly appalling aspect of Rothko’s work is the manner in which the British pseudo-intelligentsia, with their wispy beards and BMW’s, Daily Telegraph tucked under Sloane Street mackintosh sleeves, waffle mindless piffle about how ‘desperately moving’ and ‘mind-expandingly exquisite’ it all is.
It’s no good just glancing at it, say the ‘art world’, one has to “lose oneself within it.”
How is one supposed to “lose oneself” in a badly painted door?
The gullibility of the public at large never ceases to amaze. From angels on heavenly clouds playing harps, to alien invaders snatching earthlings for sex, they’ll swallow any old load of nonsense on a whim. Snake oil salesmen feast on their naiveties, and in the modern-day garrets of canvas-besmirching painters and sheep-pickling sculptors there are more than just a few of those.
I probably earned around twenty dollars for painting a door. Mark Rothko, were he still alive, would make millions from his paintings.
I guess my problem was, I was just too good.
 More Badly Painted Doors courtesy of The Telegraph, September 25th 2008
Filed under: Expensive rubbish