Once upon a time in a city or state I was living in that I can’t remember, there was an exhibit of many original drawings of Toulouse-Lautrec. I had always admired his work but really never known much about his life. The exhibit was downstairs in a kind of basement setting. I remember it was very dimly lit down there to prevent light damage to the art. All the works were small and intimate. This was fascinating as most of us know he painted very large paintings and posters, depicting Paris life and the can can as we know it. This was because he was not just a painter but an illustrator and just as importantly, a caricaturist. The exhibit feature many caricatures of the everyday people in his life.
The drawings seemed to jump off the paper and hit me hard. They hit me in my head, in my stomach and I immediately loved him. I stayed for a very long time, reveling in the idea that when you die, you will not be dead. I had just met a truly great man. The idea grew in my head that If you were born to connect with the history of the world, you would leave something behind. Here in front of me was a little miracle of sorts. This tiny man with his mangled body and his ill fate somehow managed to make his whole life a statement. Tragic though it was, he somehow turned this disabilities into something wonderful people could use as an inspiration. It left a mark on history. He left a permanent mark on me. I hope he will never be forgotten .
This little drawing was actually two that I put together. I was just learning photoshop and combined the Paris background with the pen and ink. It was a lot of fun to do. I don’t know why but I ran across it in my files and it brought back memories.
It got me to wondering that if you were born with the stack of cards this man was dealt, would you do as well in history or would you be as forgotten as the tiny spec of sand on an ocean shore? Is the world the same now or is it completely different: more cruel, more hostile? Is there more hate and bigotry or is it more exposed? I think it’s the world is the same but the language of survival is different.