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Potter Column: Artist predicts posthumorous prosperity
JOHN POTTER Illustration


Hey, it’s me again, coming to you live from somewhere beyond the grave.

Yup, that’s right. Recent rumors of my untimely demise have been greatly exaggerated, but I’m here to tell you, they’re also TRUE!


Sincerely expired Stiff. Toes up. I hit my expiration date, I’m worm-fodder, pushin’ up daisies, snuffed, cancelled – whatever – I am definitely (sing it like a munchkin!) most legally and sincerely dead!

Now, if it sounds to the casual reader as if I’m a little too happy about having Xs over my eyes to REALLY BE dead. I’m here to tell you that having croaked isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

For one thing, from now on I’ll always be LATE.

Talk about being on “Indian time.”

Then there’s this lovely aroma I seem to have acquired – I’ve definitely ripened quite well before my time.

And GEEZ! I thought I was feeling a little bloated BEFORE I died – hooWEEE – you should see this!

But why am I so suddenly dead, you ask? I dunno – I was always pretty high on life, but I guess I built up a tolerance.

And just how was my passing?

Like the wind.

Easel of destruction Actually, I died at the easel – as all great (and not-so-great) painters must – the victim of an unfortunate pigment mishap. An artist should never become so consumed in his work that he confuses the cup containing the coffee with the cup containing the turpenoid. Nothing like a colorful blend of Arabica and Alizarin Crimson to perk up your morning.

And then you die!

But if I DO sound a little too giddy about being a goner, it’s because being a dead artist has its perks.

I mean, we all know that “important” artists never really “make it” in this world until they’re dead, right?

Well, now that I’m history, I’m gonna be rich!


My paintings are gonna sell like hotcakes now (and they’re less filling)!

It’s champagne wishes and caviar dreams, baby!

The giant hamster of poverty will have to go and run on someone ELSE’S wheel!

I’ll be rich! Rich! Rich!

And, quite suddenly it seems, I’ve got more “friends” and “relatives” than I ever knew! All the “friends” and “relatives” that money can buy!

Yes, the value of my paintings will now triple. Quadruple, even – some now rivaling the cost of, say, your finest Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, but guaranteed to look much better hanging on your living room wall, and they won’t clash with (or eat) your sofa!

Well-timed doom The timing of all this death and doom couldn’t have been better, too, because it just so happens that I’m in a big ol’ hairy art show in Arizona, right now!

No, it’s not actually called the “Big Ol’ Hairy Arizona Art Show.” It’s called the “Best of the West Art Show and Sale” (emphasize “Sale”), and it’s being held at the fashionable Hon-Dah Resort near Pinetop, Ariz.

This show features paintings and sculpture from some of the top names in Western Art today: Luke Frazier, Sonya Terpening, Dave Wade, Victoria Reese, Jim Wilcox, Anita Matrician and Lee Cable, to name a few.

These people are heavyweights, I’m tellin’ ya. Some of these artists participate in other HUGE shows like the Prix de West Show, and the Masters of the American West Exhibit. Their works sell for, like, hundreds of millions of thousands of dollars.

Only explanation So why am I in the “Best of the West Show (and Sale)?”

There can be only one explanation: I’m dead!

Getting into a high-profile art show is just another benefit of being a deceased artist!

So, if you are one of those lucky people out there who bought my work for its investment potential – congratulations! The time has come to reap the benefits of your wisdom! This is what you’ve been waiting for!

And if you don’t own any of my paintings, well, you’d better scrape up a few hundred thou and get out there and start buying, Sparky!

After all, my being dead is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it won’t last forever.

And besides, I need the money – I’ve got a lot of friends and relatives to feed.

John Potter’s Whatever column is published every other Saturday in The Gazette. Readers may contact him at

Friday, May 16, 2003