Andrew Goff, Romano Gabriel Win Me a Sundae
I wrote the following letter to Andrew Goff in response to a 70Heaven comic strip he did a month or so ago, that made fun of Romano Gabriel. In the strip, Will, the dumb one, disses a bunch of public art, then praises Romano Gabriel’s work as a low budget Disneyland. Pretty much everything Will says in 70Heaven is stupid and wrong, so this amounted to damning with faint praise, in my mind.
Romano deserves better than that. It pissed me off. So, I posted a message on Andrew Goff’s fb page that said something like, “Will’s right, that other art is shit compared to Romano Gabriel.” After a couple of hours I thought better of it, and deleted the post. I then wrote Andrew the following letter and sent it to him as a private message via fb. I asked him to keep it to himself, but when he saw that I sentenced him to death in this blog, he insisted on going public. An edited version of this letter appears in the current (6/16/11) edition of the North Coast Journal.
It won me a sundae! I owe it all to Andrew and Romano, but I’m not sharing.
I’m very sorry about posting obscenity on your facebook page (last Thursday). My only excuse is that seeing you make fun of Romano Gabriel made me very emotional.
Are you Italian, Andrew? You look Italian. You have a Roman nose. If you’re Italian, be proud! If not, pretend. I know Italian-Americans get a bad rap, especially with liberals, because of Christopher Columbus and the Mafia. A lot of Italian guys try to pass themselves off as French, especially in a liberal college town like Arcata. Your last lame doesn’t end in an “o” or “i” so you could probably pull it off, especially hanging out with a guy named “Startaire.”
Your “Public Art” strip was very French. The French are snooty, critical and heady. They have tiny fluffy balls that they compensate for by putting on an air of superiority. Italians, on the other hand, have a glint in their eye, and gigantic balls to back it up. I think the guy who wrote Prodigal Arkley, is Italian.
I know you are an artist. As an Italian-American artist, you should take great pride in Romano Gabriel. Look at his work. Do you see any brush strokes that look like he’s trying to cover a mistake? Do you see any evidence that he is imitating anyone else? Do you see any evidence that he was motivated by money or fame? Doesn’t every brush stroke look like it was done joyfully, with authority, according to a unique vision with complete disregard for public opinion? Wouldn’t you like to live that way? Do you think you have the balls?
Romano Gabriel is a great Italian-American artist. There’s a reason he’s world famous and has his own museum. Count yourself fortunate to have seen his work. Take inspiration from him. Then check out Saman (or Sam or Simon) Rodia and the Watts Towers. These men didn’t need a college education, grants, or even commissions to make the world take note of their work. They just had a glint in their eye, and gigantic Italian balls. These are your people Andrew, be proud of them.
I fear you spend too much time around HSU. Universities tend to wussify people. It takes balls to be an artist. You don’t need balls to be a critic. You don’t need balls to be a historian, you don’t need balls to teach. That’s why Universities turn out so many critics, historians, and teachers, and so few artists.
There’s nothing stupid about Romano Gabriel’s artwork. What’s stupid is being impressed by the technique, sophistication, and professionalism of vain French pussy artists. Roman Gabriel’s work is not “tacky and embarrassing” or a “public service”. Duane Flatmo is a “public service”. Romano Gabriel was a public nuisance! Do you have the balls to be a nuisance, Andrew? Romano doesn’t care if you make fun of his work, plenty of idiots did so during his lifetime. It’s you I’m worried about.
Other than that, I love 70heaven. Keep up the good work!
Sincerely, John Hardin
P.S. Let’s keep this man to man. I have enough enemies without stirring up French people and feminists.
P.S.S. I’m only one-quarter Italian, and I’m also one-quarter French.