Thursday, 31 March 2011

quality portraits!

                                            absolute quality

three men and a baby... my absolute favorite

while i am in the process of writing the final post about "location location location" and working on some new jewelry, i thought i would post some "quality portraits".

a few years ago, scott and i were in bexhill ( which is the next town up the coast from us in hastings) and we saw this sweet little old theater. it didn't look like it was in use and the bottom windows were covered with loads of bad drawings of celebrities. they were fantastic! so bad they were good. we couldn't figure out who some of them were and we also couldn't figure out what they were doing there. was it some kind of teenage art class? was some crazy old lady knocking em' back and knocking em' out? the fact they were called "quality portraits" made it even better. we were mesmerized. whenever we went to bexhill, we'd head straight to that theater window.

christmas wasn't far away and i had been thinking for a while that i wanted to surprise scott with a "quality portrait" of our family ( which at that time was only at the magic number of 3 members). i very excitedly took the train to bexhill planning to see if there was a contact number or knock on the door, but i was devastated when instead of the beautiful bad art i expected to see, i found clear windows and a boring new shop in their place. i could feel a knife in my heart. i asked one of the people working there what had happened to all the pictures and he said they had been THROWN OUT! the knife twisted. i felt a real loss. much like how restaurants in LA display photographs of the stars or how the brown derby in hollywood had all the the celebrity caricatures on the walls, i would have loved to have an ENTIRE WALL of "quality portraits". now... that dream was dead.

at that time, i couldn't remember what the name of the business/ maker of the pictures was. i knew it was a word that meant the pictures were good, but it just wasn't coming to me. i didn't even know if it had been a business or why they had been there. it was all a mystery to me. later that evening after struggling to free the information from my brain for hours, i remembered it was "quality portraits" and did a google search. i found a myspace page for them. on the profile the person was listed as a 60-something year old woman and she charged £3.50 for a small head and £4.50 for a large head. i wrote an email saying i would love a portrait. but sadly, i never heard anything back from them. i was bummed. i knew scott would be so blown away if i had managed to get one.

flash forward a year... my friend sarah and i were talking and she asked me if she had ever told me about how she used to do street caricatures in brighton. she told me a story or two about her and a friend that used to work together drawing people and how they would sit in cafe's for hours in stitches drawing celebrities. she said that when she was trying to come up with a name one of them had said to call it 'bad portraits' or something like that and the other said, "no, we should call it quality portraits". i couldn't believe it. it was sarah and i had no idea. sarah was the one i had been looking for, not some crazy, gin-soaked old lady with a dream.

it was almost like it was meant to be because now, a year later, our family had grown to 4. sarah very kindly did a brilliant portrait cobbled together from a stack of photos i gave her.
i love buying/making presents for scott. i am always so eager to see his reaction to certain things i have managed to track down or buy for him secretly when he thinks i have no idea he even likes it. so i was chomping at the bit to give him this present when xmas came. i saved it for the piece de resistance. and i have to say. sometimes i am slightly disappointed in scott's non-reaction to things, so as soon as he peeled off the wrapping paper and saw the portrait, he burst out laughing. he laughed and giggled for ages and was VERY surprised. it was the best reaction i ever got from him for a xmas present.

the whole time, i had been debating about whether to let him keep believing it was some crazy lady that drew them, or if i should tell him the real story. i thought the real story was so good. i decided to tell him. i think it might have taken a tiny bit of the shine off, but we are both in love with our Q.P. and i think EVERYONE should have one proudly displayed in their house. you can contact sarah and check out some more of her celebrity portraits here.

1 comment: