I have always admired writers. Their work nourishes us and helps us mature, evaluate, and understand our emotions as well as the circumstances in which we find ourselves throughout our lives. They are our mentors, educators and soul mates who use their talents to shock, entertain, and enlighten us.
Because of a request to create a painting of William S. Burroughs, a writer of whom I was not an enthusiast, I have been given a chance to salute in paintings writers of whom I am attached. I have narrowed the list down to American writers of the 20th century, many of which are still alive and continue to amaze us with their stories, essays and books.
Throughout the next several months, I will be adding to the collection, and providing insights into the writers influences on me as well as their great accomplishments.
Hope you enjoy the portraits and stories.
George H. Rothacker
|Tom Wolfe by George H. Rothacker - acrylic on canvas - 24" x 24" - Original painting $2400, prints @$90 each plus tax and shipping (Prints are an edition of 50, signed, titled and numbered with an image area of 13"x 13").|
I first came upon the writer Tom Wolfe in 1968 when I picked up a paperback of his 1965 book of essays titled The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. My interest was sparked by the title and the signature story about custom cars and the designers who built them. Other essays in the book also sparked my interest, especially the story of stock car great Junior Johnson and the rise of NASCAR and the race culture.
Over the years I remained fascinated with Wolfe and his in-depth, sociological ciphering of the American culture. He taught me to look at the sleeves of a man’s jacket to see if the button-holes were “real.” If the buttons were sewn on, it was a sign that the jacket was truly not a custom tailored creation. He also shook up my realities of artists and the art world in his book The Painted Word.
While recuperating from a near death stomach ailment, I read“The Right Stuff, the story of the first group of astronauts to fly into space, and later marveled at the insightful writing of his first novel Bonfire of the Vanities, with major insights into ambition, racism and greed in the 1980s.
Throughout the years he continued to educate me on modern culture and people in novels and essays such as A Man in Full, a book that took him 11 years to write; Hooking Up about relationships in the late 90s, and I am Charlotte Simmons, books that provided me in middle age with an in-depth look at the lifestyles and issues of my own childrens' generation.
More than any writer, Wolfe continues to be a man intrigued with “our time,” often writing his essays and novels in the present tense and viewing life in real time rather then at a distance.