Saturday, February 2, 2013

They're here: Oscar Levant coloring pages!

These are all out of my own pencil. Close enough anyway. They beg to be colored, filled in like stained glass or those Tiffany shades I love so much. Why can't adults color? Especially when the subject is someone so strange and rare, a creature from an ancient and unlikely fable.

You can go wild here, as the stark outlines beg to be splashed with peacock hues. What color is Oscar Levant? Go listen to his music, hear his suffering, and find a shade to match.

Simple black-and-white line drawings boil a person's soul down to its essence. What was Oscar Levant but a scowl and a cigarette? The wringing hands tell the whole story. Color him the deepest indigo.

A publicity shot, almost smiling, but not quite. His smile was more of a grimace. At the end, his pain was a public demonstration. But of what?

Oscar with a mermaid tail, surfing innocence and ignorance with equal genius.

Should we leave this one alone? Oscar as a study in black and white, curled around the piano like a puppy around its mother, pointy fingers like claws, his face a Buster Keaton mask of tragedy.

These begin to look like James Thurber drawings, minimalist, or old computer printouts from the 1980s. Oscar Levant is not just pixellated, he has been rendered machinelike, broken down into wires and components and transistors. How did it happen? Like a Borg, he is only semi-human.

But he's in there somewhere, just waiting for his big comeback. Connect the dots.

The devil and the deep blue sea

There once was a man
Who was almost white,

But he'd only come out at night.

It made him glow,
But great was his woe,
"Cause he never could find the light.

Sometimes his world seemed made of snow,
And sometimes made of stone.

Though he knew he was s'pozed to be happy, 
He wished they'd all leave him alone.

Some people saw right through him,
And this filled him with dismay.

Sometimes he felt so transparent
It made him forget how to pray.

He was lost in a velvet painting
A trailer park was his home

. . . and 'cause no one knew
how to help him get through,
He completely dissolved into chrome.