November 23, 2002
ART FOR THE PEOPLE:The lure of velour (Pat Sheil, November 21 2002, The Age)
What do Elvis Presley, Jesus Christ and cute puppies playing poker have in common? Easy, they've all been the "inspiration" for a million works of art painted on black velvet. When it comes to the league table of the visual arts, there will always be argument over the first-division performers. Leonardo, Van Gogh, Picasso - but if there's one thing that the art world holds to be a self-evident truth, it's that fluorescent puppies with enormous eyes take out the wooden spoon.
But it wasn't always that way. I know, because my brothers and I recently inherited a black velvet painting of a young woman that has been in the family for more than 50 years. Not only had this Tahitian maiden been staring down at us from above the dining room table since before the beginning of time, but we had been assured by members of my family that it was worth a great deal of money. [...]
The first thing we had to do was investigate the state of the black velvet art market. Initial inquiries were less than encouraging. The first valuer simply laughed, but at least he came straight to the point, without saying a word. The second fellow raised one eyebrow and assured us that there was nothing wrong with the frame.
Dogs Playing Poker actually works fine as a regular oil painting, but Elvis really has to be on black velvet. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 23, 2002 6:25 AM