Tuesday, February 01, 2005

It can be a Real Relief to Find Fresh New Artists

Last night I was at the Cock and Bull Pub in Santa Monica having a couple drinks and not thinking much about the graphic design industry.

But it seems that you can never really be anywhere without thinking a little about the graphic design industry. Especially when it’s hitting you in the face.

In this marvelous world of multi-tasking, even using the restroom can be an assault on the senses. Nowadays, a blank wall over a urinal is simply wasted space. Thanks to bar culture, almost every public urinal in the world has something hanging over it. Tanya and I went to Chili’s on Sunday and it was no different there. They had newspapers over the urinal. You can read while you pee.

Most of the time, it’s the sports page. That makes sense, right? After all, anyone born with the “hardware” needed to utilize the urinal must like sports, right? Not me. I mean, I don’t hate sports, but I don’t really need to know who won so badly that I must know before I finish my last shake.

But the urinal that I was at didn’t have the sports page over it. It had a really interesting article about this man, an artist, an elderly man, who gave up everything to move to…somewhere…and paint…something. Something…good?

The picture looked interesting. But that’s the problem with putting real articles over the urinal. Unless you take full advantage of the “bottomless soft-drink” policy, you’ve got no hope to finish them. Besides, newspapers these days cram as many articles as they can onto one page so that you have to crack the page numbering code just to read past the first 15 words. And when the newspaper is encased in a pee-splattered case, there’s just no hope.

This brings me back to the unfortunately named Cock and Bull British Pub. Like most pubs and bars in California (and the world?) they have taken to placing advertisements over the urinals. Much more effective and not a lot of heavy reading. Usually, the advertisements are for cigarettes or snowboarding movies and stuff. But the Cock and Bull has higher standards, I guess. They don’t have bikini-clad snow-bunnies staring at you while you let it all go (they don’t want you in there all night, right?). No the Cock and Bull has actual artwork.

Artwork. Advertisement? I was confused. They’ve had the same picture in the pee-soaked case since I first “went” there. Two actually. And thanks to the bathroom architect’s complete disinterest in privacy, you can easily look at them both.

And they’re really nice actually. I’ve studied them closely. They’re in advertising cases. But I could never find the advertisement. And believe me, I’ve looked. They’re these pseudo-60s type paintings. Retro-deco with a strange anime feel. I hate anime, but I love 60s graphic elements. They’re pleasing, let me just say that.

But as hard as I looked, I couldn’t find a single ad in them. Sometimes companies place subtle ad in paintings to grab your interest and create a legitimizing mystique around their product. There was no Kool cigarette in any of the lady’s mouths. No Budweiser trucks hidden in the background. No slogan.

Nothing but an interesting picture. Two of them. In the bathroom of the Cock and Bull.

And a web address. www.agoodson.com. Very small on the bottom of the painting.

Aha! I’ve cracked the code!

Needless to say after a lot of curiosity (and some prodding by Vince who is also intrigued) I’ve finally visited agoodson.com. I’ve been meaning to go for some time now.

It’s a management company. Anna Goodson Management. They don’t sell weight loss solutions or real-estate pyramid schemes! The poster is actually advertising the artist. How about that? I think it’s an interesting idea. It made me go the web site. Unfortunately, the rest of the clientele are probably less inclined. And even if they did go to the website, what would they do there? Hire a graphic designer? An expensive graphic designer? No they won’t. But maybe someone reading this will.

If you need a good graphic designer, check out the site. But I have to say, tragically, the person whose work is hanging above the place where I pee at the Cock and Bull – probably my favorite of her clients – is no longer represented by Anna Goodson. His name is Chin, that’s all I know. Sad. But there are plenty of other fine artists still in her stables over there.

They’ve made my urinating experience better in Santa Monica. Plus, I want to prove to the person whose idea it was to put fine art in bar bathrooms that their plan wasn’t completely insane.

“I’ll take two overpriced, lubricated, ribbed condoms with spermicidal lubricant for added protection…and a retro-60s graphic designer with Asian sensibilities please!”

Like chocolate and peanut butter.

Fun Fact: Yesterday was Julie’s birthday! Happy late…25th…birthday Julie! I’m working on your song today.

Oh, and the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Peelicious!

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