Wentworth Tradd is on the phone. “Wadi, I need you to get me some better distressed plywood. This last batch wasn’t distressed enough. Heck, it wasn’t even really mildly upset. What happened to the formula with, you know, the one with the cow manure? Now that was some great distressing.”
He hangs up. “That tape recorder isn’t on, is it? I’ll tell you, being a captain of industry isn’t what it used to be. I’ve got six guys on the road, combing the entire south for half-rotten timber and, ever since the word got out that I really like the old stuff that’s been painted that faded green color- you know the shade that elementary schools and hospital waiting rooms used to be? Well, my cost on that stuff is just through the roof. And speaking of roof, I’ve been pretty much priced right out of rusty galvanized roofing. Do you have any idea just how many square feet of folk art we’re putting out every week from this little tobacco barn? Let’s just say our production last year was enough to obliterate the Astroturf in all of the NFL stadiums in the whole country. That’s right. If you laid every Wentworth Tradd painting down side by side, it would cover the entire playing surface of the NFL. That’s not counting the sidelines, just the actual playing surface.”
“I’ve always had a feeling for art. You know this guy Christo? The one who wraps things? Well, he stole that from me. Back in eighth grade some friends of mine and I, we did a Christo on this guy’s front yard- we wrapped every inch of it in Scott’s two-ply and we didn’t even apply for a grant or anything.”
“I still like to stay in touch with the whole process, even if I can’t actually paint anything myself- there just isn’t time. I have a design team prepare some concepts and then they submit a few preliminary sketches. I actually have this special viewer I call the rusticator that allows me to see ordinary objects and images as if they had already been rendered by an untrained painter.
Marshall McLuhan on the hoof, here.