Script Page 8

Hell, Monday was just as good a day as any for football.

I guess I really thought about becoming the greatest forger of all times when I first painted those three of Ben Franklin. The second and third came so fast.

I can paint ten different ways now. (Points) Look at that Chinese boy...if that thing is ever worth $30,000, there will be twenty copies show up in downtown Columbus alone.

PAUL GAUGUIN

Painting dreams and painting feeling are two different things. Some people look at that body I painted in the orange peels and say I'm painting dreams. Dreams, hell, this was death. No dreams and no feeling...sure as hell that cadaver didn't have no feeling.

Paul Gauguin went to the South Sea Islands. He didn't paint the South Sea islands at all...you look at the sand in his paintings...it's pink.

Here is the difference between me and Gauguin! I knew I was going to be a painter all the time.

Gauguin started out in life trying to make it with a family and doing all the right things you do in business...then when he was about thirty-five, he said to hell with it. He quit and went to painting. Pretty good even then, but his buddy Van Gogh had all the marbles. Van Gogh was crazy as hell, probably because his old man was a preacher...the old man also sold art so Van Gogh never really had to worry about not eating.

When Gauguin quit the world the first time, he went down south to live with Van Gogh, but they ended up in a fight...a one-sided thing since Van Gogh...hell, the best stuff Van Gogh ever painted was the inside of a nut house...and he did it with a lot of color...

Really, though, Gauguin painted things outside and Van Gogh was an inside man...I like to think I can do both.

Gauguin...he painted a dream world...God's in the bush... an...an angels walking...hell, they was whores over there. French whores. He didn't paint any of 'em...but he musta done something. He died with a good dose of that South Sea Syphilis...the Tahitian Taint. He didn't see with his eyes, he was living in a dream world. He detested civilization. French civilization. What I'm saying is that he had to get out of civilization to do something.

Me, hell, I can remember when I didn't want to paint anything any farther away than right out here in Gahanna.

I usta think there wasn't anything prettier than a corn field up around Kalida...was young then. Next thing to come along was women. Took me 'bout as long in life as Gauguin to find out that brown skin is just as pretty as white skin...and you're gonna find out that brown and black skin will be around a lot longer than all the paint Bot-a-chelli (Botticelli) used...and a lot long after that Sistine Chapel blows away in dust.

(Raises voice)

I liked to paint Gahanna. Everything's white there. But right over there 'cross the street (points out window) it's black. Prettiest woman I ever saw in my life lived right up the street here. She was black as that telephone. Then Karl Jaeger took me to Japan and I thought...my gawd, these are the prettiest people I ever saw.

I thought, hell, I'll Just stay here the rest of my life and do nothing but paint these pretty Japanese women. Even the old ladies were pretty...one day I got to thinking about it when I was painting something with an old woman in it...I asked her if she'd pose for me...she didn't know what the hell I was talking about.

(Here Burkhart picks up a canvas and takes out a ballpoint pen, draws a circle for a face, then puts in a mouth, nose and two eyes as if demonstrating his intentions to woman model.)

It was in what would be an alley over here. There it was her home...I pointed to the stoop and asked her to sit. She did. Then I held up this canvas and drew a circle for a round face, dotted the two eyes...put in a quick nose and mouth...she smiled. I painted her all afternoon and fell in love again...when I was through, I just picked up the picture and showed it to her ... she was all smiles...never said a word because she was smarter'n me.

But I understood.

I was ready to stay right there in Japan...but then we got to Hong Kong and that was life like I had never seen before. Never will forget the first minute I stepped into the street and the first thing I see is this girl. I didn't know what she was... Chinese or Japanese...Eurasian. I learned that word real quick. Here was where Europe and the Orient really mixed...like paint. Christ, I was in love again. Never wanted to leave.


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