From the New Yorker: If you do not remember who Jack Handey is, please scroll to the bottom of this blog to refresh your memory.
Ideas for Paintings
by Jack Handey March 20, 2006
Because I love art, I am offering the following ideas for paintings to all struggling artists out there. Some of those artists may be thinking, Hey, I’ve got good ideas of my own. Really? Then why are you struggling?
These ideas are free of charge. All I ask is that when you have completed a painting, as a courtesy to me you sign it “Jack Handey and [your name or initials].” And, if the painting is sold, I get approximately all the money.
Good luck! Let’s get painting!
Stampede of Nudes
The trouble with most paintings of nudes is that there isn’t enough nudity. It’s usually just one woman lying there, and you’re looking around going, “Aren’t there any more nudes?” This idea solves that.
What has frightened these nudes? Is it the lightning in the background? Or did one of the nudes just spook? You don’t know, and this creates tension.
Made You Look
This idea is difficult to execute, but could turn out to be a masterpiece. It depicts a grandly dressed lady looking straight at you. At first, her look seems to say, “Quick, look behind you!” So you turn around, and when you look at her again her expression now seems to be one of smug satisfaction.
The Bleak Hotel
A man is staring out the window of a bleak hotel room. He looks depressed. From the side, flying through the air, is a football. And you realize, If he’s depressed now, just wait until he gets hit in the head by that football.
The Repentant Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz, her tear-streaked face lit by a candle, gazes wistfully at a photograph of me.
The Weary Peasants
Some tired-looking peasants are walking down a road at sunset, carrying sheaves of wheat. A nobleman in a fancy coach is coming up from behind. This creates drama, because you’re thinking, Why don’t those peasants get out of the way?
Self-Portrait with Startled Expression
The key here is to be able to constantly startle yourself as you’re painting. One option is to hire a professional startler, but that can get expensive. (The best ones are from Ireland.) Be sure to use opening the bill from your startler as a free startle.
The Death of Hercules
An old Hercules is being lifted into the air by angels. On the one hand, it makes you sad, but on the other you think, He’s still in pretty good shape.
Abstract White No. 1
This is a solid-white painting. You might be asking, “Is it O.K. to put in a fleck of color here and there?” I give up. Do whatever you want.
Two boxers are whaling away at each other in a boxing ring. But then you notice that the people in the audience are also fighting one another. And it makes you ask: Who are the truly barbaric ones here, the boxers or the spectators? Then you can turn the painting over and read the answer: “the boxers.”
The French Lovers
A French dandy is embracing his beautiful buxom lover in a lush, overgrown garden. This painting should be in the shape of binoculars.
Still-Life with Rabbit
A wooden table is chockablock with fruit, cheese, and a glass of wine. To one side is a dead rabbit, a dead pheasant, and a dead eel. And you’re thinking, Thanks for the fruit, but, man, take better care of your pets.
Still-Life with Beets, Cauliflower, Liver, and Large Glass of Beer
Just kidding. Only the beer.
The Expulsion of Adam and Eve
Biblical themes sell well. In this one, God hovers over Adam and Eve, kicking them out of the Garden of Eden. As they leave, in an aside to Eve, Adam imitates the expression on God’s face.
The Jolly Dancer
The scene is a flatboat on the Ohio River. A frontiersman who looks like me is doing his funny cowboy dance. Everyone seems to be enjoying the dance except for an insane simpleton who looks like my so-called friend Don. Crawling up behind Don is a big snapping turtle.
This can pretty much be anything. Just remember to make it good, and to put my name on it. ♦
This from the "New Yorker"
Who is Jack Handey?
Talk story about comedy writer Jack Handey, author of OJack Handey's Deep Thoughts" and also of Saturday Night Live fame. "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?" asks Jack Handey. His own answer to the question: "We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." Jack Handey is not a real person, he is a fictional character created by a New York writer, 44, whose name, coincidentally, is Jack Handey. "People always assume that the name Jack Handey is made up," he said. Handey looks a little bit like the young Rudy Vallee. He has curly reddish hair, wears wire-rimmed glasses, and smiles in an engaging way that makes you think he probably has a fine singing voice. He lives in an apartment in Chelsea, with his wife, Marta, who acts as his editor. Tells about Handey's decision to leave SNL in order to concentrate on non-televised forms of writing, including the setting down of more deep thoughts. He has already published two books. The first is called "Deep Thoughts" and the second is called "Deeper Thoughts." He was born in Texas, the son of a Marine Corps officer, and was reared all over the country. In a closet in the Handey's bedroom are boxes containing thousands of deep thoughts, most of which have never been seen by anyone but the Handeys. Some of them may appear in a book called "Deep Thoughtitos"; it would contain "very short deep thoughts for those times when you feel you can't handle a whole one." The pretend Jack Handey has this advice:" If you ever fall off the Sears Tower, just go real limp, because maybe you'll look like a dummy and people will catch you because, hey, free dummy."