25 cent hot dogs

Text on this painting says, ‘Are You Going to Eat That?’

About a year ago, I discovered I had Diverticulosis, which means that now, instead of eating lots of crap like I used to, I have to eat Kashi cereal and spinach and black beans and graze on lots and lots of greens like a cow in a field. This put a crimp in one of my favorite activities, going to Richdale’s convenience store in Newburyport for their 25 cent hot dogs. You could get 4 for a buck, smothered with onions and mustard, and be guaranteed a pleasant nauseated feeling for cheap. Of course, Mrs. Breen hates this, since she believes these delicious dogs to be as poisonous as antifreeze, so I have to sneak over there. But I took Mrs. Breen’s thrifty sister and commonlaw boyfriend over there anyway.

Walton and Emma

Anyway that Richdale hot dog is front and center of this piece. I thought the subject of this portrait looked like William S. Burroughs and this painting is a real ‘Naked Lunch’ moment, before you put the fork to your mouth and take the food into your body – ‘…a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork’.



In my postbreen, the 25 cent hot dog is contemplated with horror. Maybe it’s the toenail on it. Throughout the painting are weird foods I have eaten. Snake, chocolate-covered ants, grasshopper, dog(in China), snails and mescal worm are mixed with not so weird, but unhealthy foods that I love, such as Boston Kreme Donuts, McDonald Cheeseburgers, pepperoni pizza and Smarties. I would uncontrollably eat myself to death if enough Smarties were placed in front of me. There is also a monkey offering a quarter for the hot dog – I never did eat monkey brain, but it seems like the ultimate fear factor food to me so I dropped it in. Bon Appetit!

This painting is not for sale at the moment, but will go in my to-be-shown-in-an-exhibit-someday collection.

Blueberry Breen

Every now and then I get a painting that I begin to screw up completely, but keep working, and working, and working, until what I end up with is so whacked out that I have to sit back, pat myself on the back and say, “What a good boy am I!”

I’ve had this pile of deadly serious or wistful looking portraits from the same artist, I’m guessing a teenage girl, who probably figured that serious or wistful looks on her subjects would imbue the works with more meaning. But to me, every one looked either cranky, dubious about the sitting, maybe a little scared to come around the easel and look at the result. Anyway, on this one, I was going to make her smile, dammit!

On my first attempt, the smile was all wrong. I fiddled with the eyebrows, but then she just looked evil. All the tones were wrong anyway as I tried to match her skin, I painted out her eyes and tried new ones, everything was looking worse and worse, and I had no idea where I was going with this, except I wanted to make her happy! So in frustration, I just started slapping bluepaint all over her face. Then the idea rushed into my head.

For the past couple of weeks, Eddie Jr. has been going to play practice – he is Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’ve been living with ‘Candyman’ and ‘Think Positive’ played and sung over and over and over till I find myself dancing in a horrifying jerky manner all over the house like deranged possessed zombie. So I turned the portrait into Violet Beauregard, who eats gum she isn’t supposed to and turns into a giant blueberry. Another influence came into play. An artist named Craig Stephens who is a myspace buddy does portraits of people for $25! But in these portraits, you are transformed into a zombie! At Creepydrawings.com you can find a disturbing yet compelling gallery of people he’s zombified – I’m going to get one of me, my wife and little breen and turn it into my next Christmas card! I found my rendering of Violet getting more and more zombie-like – note the brain sticking out of the blueberry crown. I’m figuring it has to do with the half hour I spent squirming on Stephens’ site trying to keep my brain from being eaten by his zombie horde.

My original goal to make Violet smile got warped in a good way by all this artistic baggage. I always thought it was a dirty trick Wonka played on her, he knew she was a sucker for the gum and was going to chew it. And then she has to put up with me, turning her into at least a 50 year old, still a freakin blueberry, and pretty crazed looking to boot. “Ha Ha, good joke Wonka!” Right Willy, go pick on someone your own size you b–tard!

The painting is on Ebay here.