Sunday, July 17, 2011

Imagine a drawing of a boat . . .

So today I was in downtown Manhattan. I did a sketch of some architecture in the Wall Street area that turned out so-so, then went over to Battery City Park to watch some dance performances by the water (Streb Extreme Action and the awesome Strange Fruit from Australia, and ... a juggler). It's been awhile since I've been down there. I've seen the new World Trade Center rising from the distance, but seeing it up-close drove home how much progress they're making on it. Finally.

Anyway, afterwards, I decided to do a little more sketching. I walked down this pier and started to draw a yacht that was moored there. After awhile, an old man came up to ask what I was drawing. I said, "That boat." He said, "Oh, our boat." Then he went and got his son (who was the boat's actual owner) and the rest of their family to come look at me draw their boat, and on the spot they offered to buy it off me. So I sold a commission on the spot. I should have charged more. That guy was a millionaire, at least. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera to record the drawing before I turned it over. Just picture a big white expensive yacht.

Rich people sure like to look at their stuff. This guy is going to have the drawing framed, and I guess he's going to hang the picture of his boat in his boat. Or maybe, in his office or at home so he can think about it while he's on land. Several years ago, I worked for an events company. We were setting up a birthday party for the owner of a mid-Manhattan skyscraper. It was in a tent with a clear roof, which made it like a greenhouse to work in, in the plaza in front of the building. The skyscraper had a famous five-star restaurant on the ground floor. Why did this guy want his party outdoors in a tent, instead of inside the five-star restaurant? So he could look up, through the clear roof, at his skyscraper, while he ate his birthday dinner. They served lobster and every table had silver dishes full of cigarettes for the guests. F. Scott Fitzgerald sure was right when he wrote: ""Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." Word.


  1. You know, I'm not sure this is an aspect where the differences are particularly manifest.

    This sounds like "pride of ownership" to me. I mean, when I have "nice" things, I like to look at them. Comic collections... hell, I like looking out my back window at all the gravel I broke my back shoveling around.

    Definitely the way they manifest their pride and enjoyment is magnitudes beyond ours, but is it really "different"?

    That's a pretty cool story though. I would imagine it's not often you have your art enjoyed that immediately?

    *kicks blogger's OpenID authentication system in the groin*

  2. Weird, I said "manifest" twice. My bad.

  3. I think it's different because this guy is proud of his 60 foot yacht that he's smoking cigars and eating caviar on, and you're proud of a pile of gravel you hauled around! ;)

    Really, though, I think I just meant his overall lifestyle is far, far, far removed from mine, and that Fitzgerald quote is a great one.

    I also hope I didn't sound churlish about them. They were really very nice, and sincerely excited and appreciative about the drawing. And, yes, it is a kick to get that sort of instant appreciation.

    As always, thanks for commenting!