Another segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon in the Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails…
The Face On The Barroom Floor…
Actually, that’s a poem by Hugh Antoine D’Arcy.
This is more about the face on the barroom ceiling.
One of the Bartenders had an interesting idea, one he had seen at another bar somewhere down the road.
The ceiling at The Bar was made of simple twelve inch tiles of pressed paper. His suggestion was to buy new tiles and give them to the customer’s to decorate and put the results on the ceiling, replacing the old ones as we went along..
This went over very well. For every ten tiles passed out we would get six back. The missing tiles usually consigned to closets and are probably still there waiting to be decorated. Some were quite spectacular. One was a four tile masterpiece of a Japanese style tiger.
One was another four tile creation reminiscent of the sixties psychedelic hippie artwork.
Someone put up a cartoon dog. Droopy Dog.
I put one up. By then my artwork was taking hold. I actually ended up putting four up. One pair of tiles was God’s hand reaching out to Adam suggesting the Sistine rendition and a couple of panels of women’s heads, nicely drawn, one in black and white and the other in color.
But there was one I made that was off to one side. It was definitely eye catching and seemed to be the most spoken of. People constantly pointed at it and anyone who made a study of the ceiling project always remarked on that particular panel.
There wasn’t a lot of drawing involved. The lips and eye mostly. The shape of the face was just hinted at by a wash of airbrushed paint.
It resembled Marilyn as it was so intended.
In any case, I felt good because I could see how it affected new people. Any artist likes to know that people really like something he did.
The Owner? Well, he never said anything about it. At least not about that plaque.
The Owner… with The Owner, art just wasn’t his thing. He fancied himself a connoisseur in All Things. In truth, he had the artistic acumen of a goat. He tried to control the project of course. Claiming most of it was crap and he wasn’t going to allow it to be put it up.
I argued that the lesser efforts enhanced the better ones and if the project really took off then the lesser ones could be replaced. But The Owner. wasn’t having any of that. He finally said no tile could go up without his approval and the finished tiles just started piling up, unapproved. Some of it unremarkable, some of it superb, all of it colorful…
It got so people stopped asking “Where’s my tile?” as they looked in vain for the piece they had worked on and brought in. Finally people stopped asking for tiles altogether. They eventually knew whatever they made was not likely to go up so they didn’t try.