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Gogh, Wimpy Girl, Gogh

I confess. Since I was a teenager I’ve sort of had a crush on Vincent Van Gogh. Don’t judge me, I can’t help it. I get giddy for guys who march to the beat of their own drum, the more eccentric. the better.

I guess I’ve never been a mainstream kind of girl. I draw cartoons week after week, after all. What do you expect? I love it, and I think Vincent would have too. I am thoroughly convinced that most of Van Gogh’s mental issues stem from the fact that he should have been a cartoonist instead of a bonafide artist. Think about it. The man was intelligent, funny, and lived in a fantasy world. And, what he could do with color was ooh la la! Had Marvel, DC Comics, or even Disney been around during his lifetime they would have snatched him up in a heartbeat. The cartoon industry would have been happy, Vincent would have found his niche, and the world would have appreciated his marvelous work in real-time. Even his initials, VVG, would be a great superhero emblem. And if you squint when viewing the letters, it looks like a monogram for WIMPY GIRL! Eureka!

Face it, everyone who draws cartoons is a bit bonkers. Looney Toons, Animaniacs, The Far Side…crazy is on the job description. Vincent would fit right in. Here are a few facts about the incredible VVG that prove my point.

Vincent ate paint and turpentine.

But, he didn’t mean to. Vincent wrote to his brother Theo that he didn’t remember doing it. His doctors attributed this behavior to his drinking bouts, specifically a preference for Absinthe, which back then was thought to cause moodiness, hallucinations, and pica. If VVG lived today and drew webtoons, this would never have happened. It’s hard to swallow a computer mouse. Heck, I ate Play-Doh in kindergarten. Give the guy a break.

Vincent cut off only a small part of his ear.

I bleed just about every time I shave my legs, and Capt’n Clean, who daily shaves his head often nicks one of his ears. Stuff happens. Actually, Vincent had been in a heated argument with fellow artist Paul Gauguin when he blacked out and sliced his ear lobe. Not sure why he was holding a razor during the argument, but I wasn’t there.

Vincent produced over 900 paintings during the 10 years he worked as an artist.

Well, there you have it. Van Gogh didn’t start painting until he was 27, and he died when he was 37. If VVG was a modern cartoonist he would flourish. Knocking out a weekly cartoon is no piece of cake, folks. And those that do it daily are gods in my book. When Van Gogh was derided for how quickly he could produce work, he cleverly had a comeback,

When anyone says that such and such [painting] is done too quickly, you can reply that they have looked at it too fast.”

Snap! The man was way ahead of his time.

Vincent sold only one painting during his lifetime.

Most cartoonists can certainly relate to this, unfortunately.

Vincent’s family did not appreciate his work.

Why is it that the families of persons involved with the arts rarely support their efforts? Van Gogh was the oldest of 6 children. The only real family endorsement that he received was from his younger brother Theo. In fact, Theo died only six months after his older brother Vincent. It was Theo’s wife, Johanna “Jo” that promoted Vincent’s work after his death. She also founded the Van Gogh Museum. The rest of Vincent’s family didn’t really care. Akin to Bruno in the Disney movie Encanto, no one talked about Vincent. In fact, his own mother threw away crates of his art after his death.

Vincent loved to draw himself.

Van Gogh painted 35 self-portraits. Definitely, a cartoonist thing to do. Wink!

Other than the obvious crush I’ve always had on Vincent Van Gogh, you may wonder why on earth I’d choose to spotlight him. Well, July 3rd is Vincent Van Gogh Day, of course.

Yes, he was contentious and hard to get along with. Yes, he was eccentric and had colorful dietary issues. Yes, he had mental challenges. But, despite it all Van Gogh’s work was a breath of fresh air that changed the world of art. He was a visionary and thus has inspired wanna-be artists and even cartoonists for over a century.

Bravo Vincent, my hero. May your sunflowers never wilt. May your paints be nonpoisonous. May your other ear remain intact. And, may all your nights be starry.

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This work by Anel “Pookie” Ryan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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