"If a thing is worth doing, its worth doing right." - HST
I first learned about the artist Tom Dunn on the patio of the Cinefamily Silent Movie Theater on LA’s renowned
Fairfax Ave. in March 2013. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was screening that night and, as the producer of
the film, I had agreed to participate in a post-screening Q&A. My introduction was followed by an impromptu
plug for someone called Tom Dunn, his artwork, his upcoming project, The Barbra Streisand Portrait Bender, and his recently launched kickstarter campaign! Feeling somewhat weirded out by the concept of Tom’s artistic endeavor, I rolled my eyes and blurted out, "Who does that?"
Indeed. Who does that? A freaky fan of the book and the film? A freaky fan of Barbra Streisand? A freaky drug fiend? Or maybe just a freak who over-identifies with the predicament of Lucy, the amateur artist kidnapped by a cruel Samoan in Vegas? I certainly couldn't tell by looking at the guy. He appeared sane enough, almost mild-mannered; maybe even innocuous. But just in case, I gave him a wiiiiiiiiide berth at the after-party, unsettled as I was at the idea that something I had helped put out into the world was now inspiring this clearly dangerous lunatic plan. This is all Hunter's fault, I thought.
I later heard that Tom did go to Vegas, did load up on drugs, did go sleepless for ten days, and did churn out hundreds of "portraits of Barbra Streisand," thus honoring his pledge to give every patron of the kickstarter campaign a painting. Well, well, I thought, at least he did it. But my next question was, who would actually want one of those crazy portraits?
Then Tom got hold of me and showed me the portraits and the video and asked if I would write a forward for his book. I remembered my question, "who does that?" and answered it myself. A true artist, that’s who. The Barbra paintings are at once garish and beautiful and strangely compelling. The video that documents the 10-day orgasm of drug-induced fan-art is brilliantly mind-bending and one helluva trip. Tom clearly suffered for his art and had fun doing it, a neat feat. I told him I would happily write an intro if I could poach a portrait. So now you know who would want one!
Bravo, Tom, and as Hunter would say, good luck in jail!
Yours, in fear and loathing,