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To each his (more likely, her) own… October 8, 2006

Posted by somelikeitscott in Art, Blogroll, Expat, Hanoi, Pop Culture, Uncategorized, Vietnam.

Right next door to Puku – the coolest café in Hanoi (1) – is a little painter’s studio. It’s one of the dime a dozen shops in Hanoi’s Old Quarter where one can go to order a reproduction of basically any painting one so chooses (2).

The first time I paid any attention to this particular studio was just a few months back when Aviva and I, on our way to Puku for lunch, spotted – to our unending shock – a personal portrait of Oprah. That’s right, Oprah Winfrey. Is there any other Oprah?


Here’s Aviva with her hero.

Now, I like Oprah as much as the next person. Do I personally feel the urge to have her likeness shine down upon me 24/7? Frankly no, but I also don’t wish to judge the person who does. Aviva and I inquired about who commissioned the portrait and learned that it was ordered online by a Canadian woman.

So, OK, as strange as I may find it, I can accept that somewhere in the great nation of my birth someone has a picture of the Opester hanging on her wall. I imagine it brings her great comfort, and has enriched her life – or at least her interior design scheme – to a degree she never before dreamed. I can buy that. Why not? Say what you will about her, but Oprah is an inspiring lady.

I can’t, however, make the same leap of faith regarding the painting I saw in the very same shop today. I stared hard at the canvas for several moments trying to figure out who was looking back at me. I was pretty sure I recognized Jennifer Lopez, but the dude on her arm while looking very familiar to me I just couldn’t place. It wasn’t until I discussed the sighting with my housemate Elodie that I realized the gentleman in question is in fact Marc Anthony.

Elodie tells me that the pair have recently married. I had no idea (3). So my question is, just who the hell has the burning desire to hang these two on their wall? Could it be the dynamic duo themselves? Somehow, I feel like between them, they could afford to order their portrait from a glitzier studio than this one. But what do I know? I do think the artist did some nice brushwork on Marc Anthony’s suit.

OK, so I have no right to judge the folks who commissioned this “work of art” anymore than their counterpart with the Oprah fetish. I’m not too familiar with Marc Anthony, but JLo was pretty good in Out of Sight. I have to give her that. And remember Oliver Stone’s U-Turn? That was kind of a gutsy performance for an aspiring popstar. I just wonder whom I’ll see next. I’m very curious and more than a little scared.

Should any of my faithful readers have anyone they’d like immortalized on canvas – celebrity or otherwise – you can check out the Long Gallery’s website at www.longgallery.com (4). Presumably, they’ll ship just about anywhere. If you’re in Hanoi, they’re located at 60 Hang Trong, but you could have the same service performed at any number of places.

My next entry will focus on Vietnamese weddings. ‘Tis the season. Until then…

1. See “An Unfocussed Post” for more details.

2. I’d steer clear of anything too obtuse or complicated like, say, Picasso. Although, they do seem to do a lot of Klimt.

3. See “I’m, like, so fashionable“ for remarks on my self-imposed exile from meaningless celebrity gossip/news.

4. So, apparently this isn’t the right link. I assure you that the gallery on which I write is not located in Scotsdale Arizona. I’ll look into it…