WITH CHUCK MIDDLEKAUFF
Where are you painting from and what have you been doing to keep busy?
I'm painting from my studio in Austin, Texas, which takes up most of the living and dining rooms of our apartment; paintings, canvases, paper, shipping boxes, and of course my painting table, with all my clutter of brushes, paints, etc. My weight-training barbells and dumbbells and other equipment take up the rest of that space, barely leaving room for a big love seat, a Phillips 66 gas pump from the 50s, and a few pieces of antique furniture. My wife Carol gets the big bedroom as her office, where she does her writing, editing, photography, and all my marketing. When I'm not painting, I'm researching and chewing on ideas (or at least that's what I tell Carol) behind the steering wheel of my yellow 1973 Corvette. Or I'm lifting those weights. Or I might be picking out some classic rock and roll songs on my Fender electric guitar.
How did you find inspiration from your surroundings for it?
My memories probably inspired "Be-Bop-A-Lula" more than my surroundings. It's full of the fun things that surrounded me when I was growing up: Mickey Mouse, hot dogs, vinyl records albums and 45s (I collaged real records and covers on the painting), Coca Cola and Pepsi, yo-yos, bubble gum, movies and TV cowboys and kids' cowboy hats, Marilyn Monroe (though my inspiration to include her image came later, from my appreciation for Andy Warhol's work), guitars and amplifiers (I practiced chords and songs until I could play local gigs in a high school garage band - not the Beatles). It's all stuff that makes me smile, thinking of my growing-up days, and I thought this painting might make somebody else smile too.
What is one positive that has come from this experience for you?
I'm sad about all the trouble, sickness, and turmoil, but it's interesting that folks, who must need some smiles, have been buying a lot of my paintings. I give all the credit to God. I'm trusting Him, and all my talent comes from Him.
What is one of your favorite pieces in the collection from a fellow artist?