Soulard has several characters I want to write about. Johnny Rio (the sheriff off Soulard), Bob Burkhardt (the Mayor and creator of every bar in
The first David Classe’ piece I was exposed to was a giant mosaic on the southern wall of the Broadway Oyster Bar’s beer garden. He spent a lot of time on it and I believe he was paid in alcohol.
It was the early 80’s and I was in the middle of my art fever. I tried to talk to Dave about it several times. It’s a primitive reconstruction of Botticelli’s Venus. It’s made from oyster shells, broken glass, and beer bottle caps.
The difference is a black woman standing on the side with her hands on her hips looking at the Venus. She’s a contrast to the uptight Venus who covers her breasts in embarrassment. I always thought that he used this piece to poke fun at western cultural repression in general. Dave said I was full of shit. I think he doesn’t want to have to explain himself. The piece speaks for itself.
Dave had a show in Soulard last Friday. There were a lot of beautiful pieces. There were several references to other famous paintings. The obvious were Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso and Magritte. His most recent had photos of soldiers that died in
I began to wonder if everything he did referenced some icon in art history. I asked him if everything at the show was based on some other piece. He said about half of them were.
The show was called Women in Simple Black Frames. He painted all the frames black. The poster for the show was a woman wearing sunglasses with women in the reflections of the black frames. He seemed to be pleased with himself when he pointed that out to my friend Sharon.
I’ve always wondered if Dave was really an intellectual. There seems to be a great deal of thought in all his work even when he just whipped it out.
We were at a party several years ago and he decided to paint the host’s shower curtain. I was jealous. I’d been trying to get one of his pieces for years. I even offered to trade him my car once. He really needed a car then too. My mistake was I asked for oils and he said he only worked in acrylics.
Dave used to live upstairs from the Downstreet Cafe. This place had the best beer garden in the city. He had an incredible art loft apartment with canvasses everywhere. One winter his mattress caught on fire. He didn’t have running water and had to throw it out the window.
I’m planning a