After many years and many adventures carrying the original canvas with me across two continents, I have finally gotten around to reproducing this piece as an actual size (approx. 29″ x 36″) canvas, fully-stretched and ready to hang.
I originally started this high-realism piece while living in Paris in 1973, painting and writing after a big heartbreak. Pinball had already taken hold in Paris; there were pinball machines in almost every café and pinball arcades were even popping up on the Champs Elysée. Which is where I came across this series of machines: Gottlieb’s Sky Jump and Magnotron. And so I had the subject for my first painting in a series on Man & Machines. (It did take a little persuasion to assure the arcade owner that I was snapping Polaroids and making sketches for a worthy cause!)
I ended up carrying this half-finished painting on to a Toronto-bound Air Canada flight. And so it was that my new series of Man & Machines paintings began. Our love of machines that doled out different things for your pocket change fascinated me. With pinball machines, it was just sheer fun and entertainment that helped me make new friends in Paris. Jukeboxes put out music for our listening pleasure, we bought time with parking meters and we washed our clothes in Laundromats. I sold out my show of ten paintings in the mid-70s but managed to hang on to my baby, Pinball in Paris, and a friend is taking care of my Parking Meter. (I have slides of that piece and am considering reproducing that as well.) The gallery where I had my last one-man show has long-since closed -I don’t even remember the name of the place! And I have no idea where my other pieces have ended up after all these years.
As I’d mentioned earlier, my Pinball in Paris piece has gone through a lot of life with me: I took it with me all the way down to Florida when my first wife and I moved down there in the late 70’s and then I brought it all the way out to Seattle when my kids and I finally moved out here in the later 90’s. In late 2002, we had a massive house fire and my personal Magnotron pinball machine was completely destroyed along with pretty much everything else we owned. But magically much of my artwork “survived,” including this painting. Unfortunately, for many pieces of my artwork, the smoke damage was unimaginable. Pinball in Paris was covered in a layer of soot and grime. Fortunately, I was blessed to have been able to consult with a restoration specialist at SAM (Seattle Art Museum) who coached me through some of the finer points of art restoration: No harsh chemicals or solvents, lots of mild dish detergent and gentle elbow grease. A few days later and my painting was as restored as it would ever be!
While my original painting still has some discoloration in certain areas, I’ve grown accustomed to the added character in this 40-year old piece. And the good people at the fine art reproduction shop here in Bellevue that did the scanning and printing worked their digital magic in restoring more of the color and vibrancy to my painting closer to the original while still respecting the history attached to it. So we left some of the discoloration over certain areas to show what this painting has gone through over the years.
The good folks at the Seattle Pinball Museum in Seattle’s Chinatown have the first signed artist’s proof of this piece on display for all to view.
My friend, filmmaker Sean Pamphilon (Run Ricky Run and The United States of Football) was gracious enough to shoot some footage onsite at the Seattle Pinball Museum as I talked about my personal love of pinball and how this painting came to be. We’re in the process of editing all of it down to a 20 – 30 minute piece of video that will be produced into a DVD to accompany each canvas print. Having been both an artist and a collector, I know that most lovers of art appreciate an artist’s insights and ideas behind their work so I wanted to provide a personal side to accompany this piece.
I’m offering signed, limited edition (150 pieces), mounted canvas prints for $800 (plus sales tax and shipping where applicable). And if you live in the general Seattle area, I might even be able to deliver your canvas in person! I will also consider personalized signatures on request. I’m charging a flat rate of $100 for shipping in a secure container via UPS or FedEx and insurance is included. Sales tax rate of 9.5% is added for Washington and I will refund any difference for each state. I use PayPal for purchases so all credit card and payment options are accepted.
Feel free to drop me a note – click HERE – with any questions you might have if you’re an art collector or a pinball fanatic and would like to buy one of my paintings for your man cave or private collection!