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It's a Sonny day
posted: April 30, 2007
Sonny Barger...
This was done for a book review of Hell's Angels founder Sonny Barger's autobiography. Another from my "trying to be an oil painter" period.

The book is pretty much what you'd expect - Lots of tales of badass derring do and mayhem of all sorts. My favorite stuff was how he described threatening kick Hunter Thompson's butt while Thompson was writing his breakthrough "Hell's Angels" even though Thompson's book would put both parties on the map.

I find that I'm attracted to thugs and derelicts of all stripes. Since I can't afford real art, and I'm totally self obssessed, I have a lot of my work hanging in the house. My kids are probably more familiar with what I like to call "Badass Culture" than the more worthy recipients of historical recognition.

I'm probably the same as those white collar Harley types. I like to paint these guys, but I wouldn't last long around them.
15 comments
Peter Cusack April 30, 2007
NICE!!! What feeling in the portrait. Out of sight.
J.D. King April 30, 2007
Thugs and derelicts? Is that why you came to Drawger? Do we amuse you, Dale? Are we here to amuse you? Do we make you laugh, Dale?
Stephen Kroninger April 30, 2007
It's such a beautiful day. I was expecting Sonny Rollins.
Steve Brodner April 30, 2007
Dale: A stunner. Good choice on warm and cool B&W. You got him all, man. Congrats. Steve
Alan Witschonke April 30, 2007
Beautiful job, Dale. I like just the hint of the Harley gas tank and the wings that look like the grille from a '52 Buick.
Zina Saunders April 30, 2007
That guy's face is a road map of where he's been, looks to me.
Jim Paillot April 30, 2007
Nice art, Dale. This guy is as hard as nails.
harry April 30, 2007
Dale, Beautiful art. I can't paint to save my life. I read Hell's Angels in high school. I can still remember the look my Lit teacher gave me when I told her that was the book I was doing my book report on. That and On The Road, what else do you need? h
Stephen Kroninger April 30, 2007
By the way, Dale. I'm familiar with the original photograph used here as source material and believe you get at things in Barger that the photographer doesn't. Nice job.
Mike Moran April 30, 2007
Boy, Dale you got every mile that guy has ever driven on his face. Nice job!
Dale Stephanos April 30, 2007
Thanks for all the kind words everybody. It's funny, I'm still not used to the compliments that are given so freely around here, but I'll take it! Peter, I think you're a great painter, so any kind words on my throwing paint at a canvas are appreciated. J.D. - Yes, that's exactly why I'm here. And yeah, I think you're funny. Funny like a clown. SK - Great reference photos are a blessing and a curse. If they're too good, it's hard to get the work away from them. Hey, is that where imagination comes in?! Alan - Those wings started out as prison bars, then shadows, then a desperate stab at some kind of symbolism. I eventually retreated into the easiest solution of of all. Steve B, Zina, Jim, Harry, Mike - Thanks to you all. I love faces. If it was up to me, I'd just sit around and draw/paint faces all day.
Mark Fisher April 30, 2007
Dale, a real badass portrait!
Alex Murawski May 1, 2007
Man, that's a beautiful piece of work. Love that monochromatic feel.
Tim O'Brien May 1, 2007
Nice portrait. He looks like steel!
Dale Stephanos May 1, 2007
Mark, Alex and Tim, thanks. Sonny's a piece of work.
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