Just before I left North Carolina for California I got an email from Enda O’Donoghue, an Irish artist based in Germany, asking whether he could use one of my photos as the basis for a painting. He acknowledged my public domain dedication, which was cool, but wanted to ask anyway, which was also cool. Of course I said yes, and we emailed back and forth a bit.
Turns out he’s done a series of paintings based on interesting photos he’s found on the web, usually with all the blips and blops that come with low resolution amateur shots. In fact he was disappointed my photos were so clear. Sorry. The photo he chose was one of a potluck dinner prepared by our residence area for Thanksgiving back when I was a senior in college (November 2001).
At one point he asked me whether the white blob was mayonnaise—and whether the “meal in question” had been any good. It struck me that maybe he didn’t realize this was a fairly typical Thanksgiving dinner, one of those cultural events unique to America. So I explained:
The white blob is Cool Whip (fat free whipped cream) on pumpkin pie. To the right of the pie is green bean casserole, beneath that in the lower right corner is what they call cornbread “dressing” in the South, but “stuffing” elsewhere, except it’s cooked outside of the turkey in a big lasagna pan. The yellow stuff in the lower left is a mystery to me. It looks like rice, possibly in a cheesy sauce possibly with some broccoli in it on the left. The red splotch in the top left is cranberry sauce/mold, and of course above that is a bread roll. I don’t believe that was my plate, so I’m not sure if it was good or not. I’m a fan of turkey and gravy, and green bean casserole mostly.
Sometime last week I got an email back with a photo attached saying the painting was complete! How cool is that?
Of course if you didn’t know it was a photo of a 35×23″ painting, you might think he’d just run my photo through a creative Photoshop filter. So now I’m mulling over whether to purchase the painting to hang over my dining table—after he exhibits it in Germany and Ireland.
I think it’s hella cool, but I wonder whether my future dinner guests would think so?