Chuck Jones’s daughter, Linda Jones Clough, will be posting weekly, material from her personal archive of writings and ephemera created by her father over the course of his lifetime. Today, she presents “Ode the Washam Wedding” a poem Chuck Jones wrote celebrating the wedding anniversary of his friend and colleague, Ben Washam. It is important to note that Chuck was intimate friends with his animators throughout his career.
Linda recounted that as a four-year old, Ben Washam’s wife, Eddie, was one of her favorite visitors–always ready with a lap and a kind word.
From: Chuck Jones
To: Ben and Eddie Washam
Re: Eighth wedding anniversary, October 1942
ODE TO THE WASHAM WEDDING
Happy wedding anniversary to the Washams. I.E.: to Benny and Eddie,
Who apparently have gone together for a long time. Steady.
From where I sit it looks like you have been married since nineteen
thirty-four. To be exact, in October.
Were you sober?
Or were you drunk with love or liquor.
And so woke up the next morning with a screaming headache thinking
you had never felt worse or been sicquor?
Eight years is a good long time to have been married.
Some people I know quite well would rather be hari-karied.
But I want you to know that marriage is a thing that I spend a good deal
of time endorsing.
It’s better than horsing
And being a general gadabout,
Even though some irresponsible wolves may be madabout
Just remember that when you’re a hundred and nine years old and not
married and not pretty.
It’s pretty s—-y.
(That line is only dirty if you make it so.
I might have meant ‘sweaty’ if you pronounced ‘pretty’ ‘pretty’
instead of ‘pritty’, or I might have meant ‘sweety’ if you
pronounced ‘pretty’ ‘preety’ like Mexicans do, no?)
Well, anyway, you dirty-minded little couple you, Happy Birthday to
the inception of your connubial bliss.
Do you realize this:
For twenty-nine hundred and nineteen nights Benny has been saying:
And Eddie answers, “Ready.”
The Chuck Jones Gallery in San Diego is pleased to announce that they will host a major exhibition of the POP art of internationally acclaimed husband and wife collaborative artists, Karen and Tony Barone. The Chuck Jones Blog visited these amazing artist’s studio in what they call their “Paradiso Secco” (dry paradise), located in the world-famous Coachella Valley.
The charming, witty, and gregarious Tony is the first to greet his guests, and then, the striking Karen, a woman of great warmth and beauty makes her entrance — tiny and outrageously coiffed and made – up, a super heroine for our times.
Karen and Tony met “cute” — on Chicago’s “el” one day and ever since have been creating art, sculpture, and architecture. Famous for their work with Rich Melman’s Lettuce Entertain You group of themed restaurants, the Barones designed and developed such notable Chicago eateries as Zanadu, Lawrence of Oregano, Tango, and the Brewery.
When Chicago grew too small for the dynamic duo, they packed up their studio and moved to New York’s SOHO district where they opened one of the very first galleries in the now ubiquitous neighborhood.
Karen and Tony escorted us around the exterior of their mid-century modern home, with its steel gray ovals set against the white stucco all the while discussing their art, which is their life, their respect for art history, and where they find inspiration.
It’s obvious that their life is consumed by creating. There wasn’t a space in their atelier, studio, home, and grounds that didn’t contain artwork, finished and works-in-progress. They complete each other’s sentences–and we found out that now Tony, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, hones his drawing skills by laying out their canvas works, and that Karen, patient and steady of hand, applies the paint. A true collaboration between great friends, lovers, and artists. It’s truly heart-warming.
We spent several hours with Karen and Tony that day–it went by in a flash. They’re voluble, funny, delightfully droll, hip and with a finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. Which makes for an awesome experience, either in person or when you view their art…they’re right there with you.
Karen and Tony Barone have created a painting in homage to Chuck Jones. It’s so incredible, we’re not going to show it to you. You’ll have to wait until the reception for their exhibition, “Down the Rabbit Hole” opens, Friday, March 17 at the Chuck Jones Gallery in San Diego. RSVP or for more information, write SanDiego@ChuckJones.com.
To learn more about the Barones, visit BaroneArt.
Do you have a moment for a funny story? Not funny, “ha, ha”, but funny like “what an interesting coincidence”.
A couple of years ago, a beautiful bride-to-be named Ashley, came into the gallery to meet with her wedding planner (we share our gallery space with event planners). Carol, our art consultant, and Ashley got to talking and turns out that not only do Ashley and her fiance, Mike, love the art of Chuck Jones, but Mike’s also an artist. Carol invites him to submit a canvas to that year’s Red Dot Auction.
And everyone loved his work (still do, for that matter)! So, that’s how Mike Bilz became one of the artist working with the Chuck Jones Looney Tunes character legacy. Mike’s unusual and funny point-of-view coupled with his rich, baroque palette and luminous painterly technique make for delightfully unique works of art.
For more information about the original and limited edition art of Mike Bilz, please contact Carol Erickson at the gallery, 949-274-4834 or your own personal Chuck Jones Gallery art consultant.