I tell you this so you know from whence I speak. Horse racing is in a sad situation. Yes economically, but also from a self-induced bad rap. As I listened to the not so subtle snipes quipped during the Eclipse Awards on Monday night, one has to wonder what it will take to bring my beloved sport back to respectable legitimacy.
Let's see. Steroids. Milkshakes. Cobra venom. Eight Belles. Rick Dutrow. PETA. Questionable synthetic surfaces. Drug violations for Asmussen, Pletcher, O'Neil, Mullins et al. Our beloved Jack Van Berg told a congressional sub-commitee: “It’s chemical warfare out there." Ouch. Of course he's right but I'll tell you that EVERYONE is responsible. From the owners who place extreme pressure on the trainers to produce, to the vets who research the next undetectable in their basements, to racing management looking elsewhere. And all the shysters in between.
What does this mean to me as an artist? A good portion of clients purchasing my artwork are not associated with racing or even horse racing fans in particular. They tell me they love the action and color. Recently, their response to my latest paintings is (politely) : "I'm not into horse racing, do you have something available in foxhunting? (or hunter/jumper, dressage, polo, western, reining, driving, paso fino, arabs, pintos, farm scenes and all the rest)
As I diligently ply my trade - working long hours in the studio daily, finally making inroads with various race track marketing departments, creating the next innovative dynamic - how do I respond to all this? I'm a painter attempting to portray the beauty, power, speed, excitement and every other adjective to describe the extreme commanding force that is horse racing.
********On a lighter note: my client informs me that her champion western show horse is legs only steering. Keep your hands still. The artist attempts to keep her hands still...
The added bulk is from advancing age, not steroids. Honest.
"His comment about the industry’s movement to eliminate drugs and become more transparent was well received." - quoted from Paulick's live blog regarding a statement made by Jess Jackson.