The Man Who Fights The Bull

I have a powerful story to tell. As an artist, I normally create paintings issued from my own fantasy, with probably the unconscious hope that they will touch somebody’s else fantasy  and perhaps even lead to a sale one day.

Many years ago, as I moved from Germany to Spain, I founded an art business with a group of international artists, with, attached to it, an art school. The main goal of the business was to paint on commission. Here is how we wanted to sell the idea:

“We all have the deep desire to create a personalized work of art. This can be a portrait of a loved one, a painting of your favourite landscape, an artistic representation of a dream or an abstract idea. This can be a personalized copy of a famous painting or a photograph: your wife as a Mona Lisa or your husband as The Laughing Cavalier! It could be a personalized scene from a film or a book; your son as Harry Potter, your fiancée as Marilyn Monroe or your friends as the Famous Five, or the Beatles! Or a surrealistic montage of your preferred elements… Or any other fruits of your imagination. In other words, to visualize artistically everything that real life impedes us from seeing. This could be a painting of your house here or your house in your native land or the house where you were born, or a painting of your friend´s new house as a house-warming present. It could also be a scene of  a landscape that you like particularly, or a panoramic view of a famous place, and we will paint the person you want within these scenes. It could be almond trees in blossom…Whatever… we will paint it!”

The business worked well, but I always noticed that people had problems to find their own ideas,  to translate their dreams and wishes and visions in words which we could then visualize into a painting. They needed much help, too much. It cost us too much energy to try extracting the dreams from our client’s sleeping consciousnesses.  Eventually we gave up and most of the time, the commissioned works were normal portraits, people and pets, and houses. It was very frustrating for me, I was missing the creativity, which was meant to be the core of the business idea.

Well, the other day, I had a wonderful surprise. I received the following email:

“Hello Miki,

Ever since I was very young, I have carried a small piece of paper in my wallet with the following quote:

Bullfight critics, ranked in rows,
Crowd the enormous plaza full,
But only one is there who knows,
And he’s the man that fights the bull.

That quote has been very special to me over the years, so I would love to have a painting in my office with that quote and a representative scene. I found your painting Toroscape 43 and it is nearly perfect. The alertness of the matador, the intensity of the bull, and you can almost feel the lock between the two. The one thing that’s missing from my quote are the rows of critics.

Would it be possible for you to change the background of Toroscape 43 to a view of intense “bullfight critics”? Also, I would love to have my quote artistically overlaid onto the painting…”

Toroscape43S

Toroscape 43 – by Miki de Goodaboom

 This request reminded me so much of my old business! Of course I accepted to try to do the job, a little bit worried though about how to embed the intense row of critics. But well, I did it, and my client loves the result, a Toroscape I called

“The Man Who Fights The Bull”

The Man Who Fights The Bull - by Miki de Goodaboom

The Man Who Fights The Bull – by Miki de Goodaboom

Somehow I was very curious. I sensed that there was a powerful personal story behind this request, and I asked my client. He was so kind to tell me, and also to give me the permission to make this blog post about it. I reproduce his answer here, which really gave me goosebumps  as I read it.

“… My story actually doesn’t have anything to do with bullfighting, but I love the meaning behind the quote. In college, I was a boxer and won the heavy weight Golden Gloves. I always loved reading about other fighters, so I read ‘A Fighters Heart’ by Sam Sheridan. That is where I first read the quote. “Bullfight critics ranked in rows crowd the enormous plaza full” to me means that there are a lot of people who criticize or speculate what can and cannot be done – who will win the fight, can a 20 year old kid start a company, etc etc. “But only one is there who knows and he’s the man that fights the bull” to me means that the only person who can actually determine the outcome is the “man fighting the bull”, not the critics. This quote struck me as this is exactly the way my family raised me to think, so I wrote it on a piece of paper and have carried it in my wallet ever since as a reminder. As a boxer, an engineer, and entrepreneur you’re very often being told what is and is not feasible, but you’re really the only one who determines what is truly possible.  The book mentions that JFK also carried the quote in his pocket…”

Isn’t it a wonderful lesson for life for us all? And for me personally, the weird thing is that it is exactly the way I lead my life.

With the story and the customized painting being so personal, I did not want to sell prints to other people at first. But my client was so kind to say that he was ok with me selling it if people really like it. So here it is, available in many different sizes, as Giclee print on Fine Art Paper or Canvas, or as Acrylic or Metal print.

Photography Prints

Manolete Partners PLC

Manolete Partners PLC

Acquiring and Funding Litigation

99% people around the world, I guess, won’t know who or what “Manolete” is, but will surely be intrigued enough by this interesting sounding word to be told. So, first let us have a look in the Wikipedia:

“… Manuel Laureano Rodríguez Sánchez (4 July 1917 – 29 August 1947), better known as Manolete, was a Spanish bullfighter.

He rose to prominence shortly after the Spanish Civil War and is considered by some to be the greatest bullfighter of all time. His style was sober and serious, with few concessions to the gallery, and he excelled at the ‘suerte de matar’—the kill. Manolete’s contribution to bullfighting included being able to stand very still while passing the bull close to his body and, rather than giving the passes separately, he was able to remain in one spot and link four or five consecutive passes together into compact series. He popularized a pass with the muleta called the “Manoletina,” which is normally given just before entering to kill with the sword. In addition to all of the major bullrings of Spain, he had very important triumphs in Plaza Mexico.

He died following a goring in the right upper leg as he killed the fifth bull of the day, the Miura bull Islero, an event that left Spain in a state of shock. Manolete received his fatal goring in the town of Linares…”

I have seen many well-known bullfighters in my long life… not that long though to be able to see Manolete! But I did go to Linares one day to see the bullring and the monument of Manolete erected in front of it.

Anyway: one day in 2009, an English businessman, Steven Cooklin, contacted me saying that he had seen some of my bullfighting paintings on the internet and liked them a lot. He was about to start a new company whose name had a connection to Spanish bullfighting, and would I be interested in selling his new company the right to use one of my paintings as his company logo for use on its website and on business cards ?

(This is the painting in question, with the title “Team Work”)

I must admit that I was amazed. I do get contacted for similar things, but never before had a company, above all an English one, used a bullfight painting as their logo. I thought the man was really brave, taking the risk to use such a controversial theme for his company name and logo. And of course, I was immensely curious to hear what the business was about, but at that point it was a secret…

We did the business, I sold him the original painting as well as the outright copyrights. Some would argue that I am an undignified mother, to sell my “babies” and their soul that way, but to me, it is simply a wonderful use of my artwork. It makes that “baby” really alive, interacting with many people and situations of life, somehow!

“Manolete Partners” was founded and the original painting is nowadays proudly hanging in the conference room of the company. From time to time the owner, Steven Cooklin, says hello and keeps me informed about the news concerning the company. And it is for me as if I would hear how “our” baby is growing. I know, it sounds a little bit exaggerated, but this is how I feel.

The last news I heard some days ago was wonderful: Manolete was getting more and more famous, probably acquiring as much notoriety as the original one! Here is some press coverage, first in RealDeal.eu

“Moulton invests in Manolete Partners

Jon Moulton has made a personal investment in Manolete Partners, a specialist in insolvency litigation.

The company works with insolvency practitioners wishing to pursue litigation on behalf of creditors. It buys potential claims from the practitioners and then funds and pursues the lawsuits. The proceeds from a successful case are then divided between Manolete and the company that sold the claim. The Financial Times reported that Moulton invested ….”

You can read the rest in Realdeals.eu.com, the article featuring by the way another of my bullfight paintings.

The news was also featured in the Financial Times in October 2012:

(Please click on the image above to be able to read the article.)

Well, I must say that I am immensely proud and happy about this news!

And apart from that, my only comment will be

“OLE, MANOLETE!”

but it says it all! Well, I have to say too, in relation to my concern about the use of the bullfight theme for a company, that at the end, the risk was worth it.

Thanks again, Steven, and everybody in Manolete, for letting me be part of your adventure and success!

The Rink of Red

Original play by UI students melds violence and dancing

The Rink of Red – Poster by Kaitlin Martin

In September 2012 I got contacted by a young woman called Kaitlin Martin (see her website www.cargocollective.com/kaitlinmartin), writing to me the following words:

“… Hi, your bullfighting paintings are incredible. I came across them because I was google searching bullfighting imagery…I recently graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design and I’m trying to design posters for a bullfighting themed play my friend got into the theater at the university in our town. I was wondering, would you consider letting us use some of your imagery for the posters? For the purpose of use IN the play (as a prop, she would like a bullfighting poster)? …”

What with me always loving anything against the norm involving bullfighting art, I  accepted.  Above is the poster of the play. I do like the subtle and discreet way how Kaitlin embedded my paintings in it. So subtle that I had to ask her which paintings they were!  🙂

Here they are:

Bullfight and Flamenco paintings by Miki de Goodaboom

I was really very curious about it, I could not really imagine how and what the play would be about.  Well, some weeks later, Kaitlin sent me a review of the play, by Justus Flair:

“Original play by UI students melds violence and dancing

Dancing and bullfighting may seem an odd combination and even a little dangerous, but both will occur this weekend in the University of Iowa Theater Building.

Audiences will be able to witness the combination this weekend at the performance of Rink of Red, a drama written by UI student and playwright Eva Adderley. Playgoers can attend the début at 8 p.m. Friday in Theater B. Performances will also occur at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Oct.7.

“It really is just a commentary on violence through bullfighting,” Rink of Red director Mark Smolyar said. “We’re able to see that it’s not just black and white — there’s always more than one angle to see things. There’s beauty and art, and tradition, not just violence.”

Smolyar — a first-time director in a Gallery Series, a play written, produced, directed, acted, etc., by UI students — said he recognized the complex nature of the script and the difficulty it presented…”

The Rink of Red – Credits: The Daily Iowan / Joshua Housing

(Please click here if you want to read the rest of the review and see more photos of the play)

I must say that I find this extremely interesting and even avant-gardist. I wish I could have been there!

Congratulations to the whole team

for that fabulous idea!

You can see and buy online my bullfighting paintings, as originals (the ones which are still available) or Giclee prints on paper or canvas, at my following galleries at

TORO – Bull, Bullfight and Flamenco Art by Miki

Miki’s Fine Art America Gallery

Planet Goodaboom

and, last but not least, for the French speaking aficionados, at

La Corrida en Peinture

 

Bullfight or not Bullfight…

Toroscape 60 – Watercolour painting by Miki

This is one of the three watercolour paintings I did from imagination, about 2 weeks ago, while I was sitting in our  Boomobile, our atelier and music studio on wheels, by Madrid, impatiently waiting for a bullfight to start. Or not to start. In fact it was raining like hell and of course the corrida was cancelled, delayed to some days later. Unfortunately we could not stay there so long and had to leave. The reason why I was there is that I had been invited by the Mayor of the town to attend the fiesta, him having chosen one of my bullfight paintings for the poster announcing the bull event.

Toroscape 57 – Watercolour painting by Miki

Well, at least we took time to have a walk to the town under a strong rain, and to speak a little bit to some local people, all frustrated that everything was cancelled. One of the local policemen -a very nice man by the way!- had a long conversation with us, telling us how sad and depressed everybody was, having worked so much to organise these three days and waited for them with such enthusiasm. I really felt deeply sorry for them.

I had a photograph of me taken in front of the poster in the bar next to the Town hall, not as good as at the bullring, but better than nothing!

Miki in Hoyo de Pinares

Sorry for the white stain in the middle of the photo, but we had to take the photo with the flash as it was quite dark inside the bar, like so often in traditional Spanish bars.

Theses paintings are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Please click on the widgets below to access my FAA store

Art Prints

Art Prints

The Giclee prints from the above mentioned Online shop are manufactured in the USA and sent directly to the client from there. For personal or financial reasons it might not be appropriate for everybody to order their prints in the USA. Also, you might prefer to purchase my Giclee prints hand-signed. If so, you can alternatively order directly from me. Simply contact me indicating in which size. Go to Goodaboom Boutique to see a guideline of pricing for different dimensions.

I also sell A3 posters (297mm x 420mm) as high quality digital prints on a Heavyweight White 350gsm paper, each packed in cello with card stiffener.

Poster Price: 50 euros.

They are a great alternative to the Giclee prints, to a more affordable price.

(the price does not include packing&shipping)

Baby Bull

 

2011 Toro Acrylics 01 - by Miki

Acrylics on canvas – 60 x 60 cm – 2011

 

Well, it is not really a baby bull… it just means that it is a baby of my Big Bull , in the sense that  it  was created with the remains of the colours on my palette as I gave the Big Bull his final touch. Also “baby” in the sense that after painting a bull in about natural size, this one looks pretty tiny to me!

Painted in larger strokes as I usually do, not keen to spend much time with it… no mother’s heart for my baby bull!  -;)

 

And if somebody is interested in buying a Giclee print of this painting, it is available in different sizes and on many different supports in my FAA Gallery here:

Si alguien quiere comprar un Giclee print de este cuadro, se puede hacer directamente online en mi FAA Galería aquí:

Art Prints

Entering Madrid through the American Door… – Entrando en Madrid por la Puerta Americana…

I have just started a new, big bullfight painting on commission, acrylics on canvas, 185 x 154 centimetres, the kind of dimension where the bull is almost as big as me and where I have to climb on a chair to paint it.

The client is a business man in the USA, and the painting is meant for the Spanish office in Madrid. Always nice to see that there are still serious bullfight aficionados around the world… probably more than in Spain! I have said it before, I have bullfight paintings clients all around the world, in countries even where one would think they have never heard of bullfight. But I have hardly sold my bullfight art here in Spain. Well, I have sold loads of them, but not to Spanish clients. I don’t know the reason… perhaps because most of my sites are in English, perhaps too because the Spaniards love more the heavier, darker way in art, fitting to their dark and so heavy furniture pieces? Funny though and quite cool  to enter now the Main town Madrid via America!

 

Acabo de empezar un nuevo cuadro taurino por encargo, 185 x 154 centímetros, dimensiones en cuales el toro casi es tan grande como yo, y yo tengo que subir en una silla para pintarlo!

El cliente es un hombre de negocios en los Estados Unidos y el cuadro es para su oficina de Madrid. Siempre un placer de ver que todavía has muchos aficionados alrededor del mundo.. probablemente mas que en España misma! Lo he dicho anteriormente, tengo clientes de mis cuadros taurinos en muchos países del mundo, hasta en algunos donde yo no me podía imaginar que saben lo que es una corrida. Peri casi no he vendido mi arte taurino aquí en España. Bueno, la verdad es que si, he vendido mucho, pero casi siempre a extranjeros. La razón puede ser que la mayoría de los sitios donde expongo, en Internet como en el mundo “real”, son ingleses. Pero también puede ser que a los Españoles les gustan mas los cuadros mas graves, mas oscuros, para acompañar a sus muebles  pesados y oscuros… aunque lo de los muebles esta cambiando aquí, increíble la cantidad de españoles que se ven en tiendas como IKEA. Pero que cómico de entrar en Madrid por la puerta americana!!

Valentine’s Day with the Bulls

Just a photo of me at my Valentine’s dinner yesterday evening, a dinner for two which I won last week by a local Valentine Art Competition. The painting behind me is not by me, They had on the restaurant (MESA, in Mojacar Playa) wall a series of attractive bullfight paintings in popart style with bold primary colours.

Everything was perfect, we had a great time and a great meal!

La Corrida de Rejon

Toroscape 42 - par Miki

Pour les aficionados de langue française intéressés par la corrida de Rejon, je vous recommande l’article suivant

http://www.feria-corrida.com/lecon-4-la-corrida-de-rejon/

et plus généralement le site tout entier: très bien fait et très instructif!

 

Et aussi pour ceux qui ne comprennent pas l’anglais et voudraient lire un article sur mon exposition de peintures taurines le 28 janvier 2011 a Turre, allez sur mon blog français

“Un Jour Une Image”

voir  “Rencontre avec Un Matador”.

Meeting Alejandro Carmona

 

Alejandro Carmona and Miki in El Retiro in Turre

(I guess we don’t look very cool with our winter clothes, far from the “traje de luces” for him and from the “exotic artist” look for me, but it was freezing in Turre!)

As I said in my previous post announcing my bullfight paintings exhibition in the gallery “El Retiro” in Turre on Friday the 28th of January 2011, we had a very special guest there: the local bullfighter Alejandro Carmona. It was wonderful to meet him and to have, for the first time in my life, the opportunity of a real conversation with a bullfighter. Although I have been to bullfights since I was a baby (really, in the arms of my father!) I never had the occasion to have a chat with one of my ring heroes. I must say, I am immensely happy that this first encounter was  with Alejandro, as he turned out to be a very lovely, sensitive and intelligent guy. not at all “the macho type” which some people think bullfighters are. All the contrary. The conversation with him was extremely interesting,, we spoke about his débuts as he was 12 years old, how his family took it. Well, they thought it would be just a childish fantasy, one which many Spanish children certainly have. But it turned out to be serious, and the family totally supported him. I was quite emotional to hear that! There is nothing better than parents supporting and encouraging their children’s passions!

Alejandro stopped bullfighting in October 2008, and as fate would have it, Kevin and me attended that bullfight, without knowing it would be his last ever. Here are some photos of Alejandro taken that same day, in October 2008 in Turre. It was also the first bullfight for Kevin – A wonderful memory! I will never forget his excitement and screams as he saw the first bull rushing into the ring!

Alejandro Carmona in Turre
Alejandro Carmona in Turre

Alejandro has retired from official bullfighting , but he often goes to a friend’s ganaderia near the town of Jaen, and fights the bulls there in private. If I undertstood him well, his favourtie painting in the show was this one. I suppose because it reminds him of the ganaderia… and also it indirectly says that bullfighters deeply love the bulls, which many anti-bullfight fanatics seem to ignore…

 

Bull Herd - Gouache painting by Miki

I want to thank him with all my heart for his meaningful presence in my exhibition and the wonderful conversation we had. And I’m looking forward to meeting him again for a coffee soon at the “Hotel-Terraza Carmona” in Vera, run of course by the family Carmona.

Hotel-Terraza Carmona in Vera


A Very Special Guest – Un Invitado Muy Especial

Just read that the bullfighter ALEJANDRO CARMONA will be a special guest at my bullfighting art exhibition on Friday in “El Retiro” in Turre. I am extremely pleased about it, as I saw Alejandro bullfighting last time I went to a corrida. It will be a great honour to meet him personally.

A reason more for you all to come to the show!

Friday 28th of January 2011, 10h – 14h

GALERIA “EL RETIRO”

CALLE LA FUENTE 12

04639 – TURRE {ALMERIA} SPAIN

You see, still time to buy a ticket and fly over if you are so lucky to be already here!

Lightening Strikes - by Miki

This painting in watercolour will be exhibited in El Retiro.

 

Acabo de leer que el matador de toros ALEJANDRO CARMONA estará presente en mi exposición de cuadros taurinos en la galería “El Retiro: el Viernes, 28 de Enero 2011. Estoy encantada, ya que he visto personalmente a Alejandro torear

 

And if somebody is interested in buying a Giclee print of this painting, it is available in different sizes and on many different supports in my FAA Gallery here:

Si alguien quiere comprar un Giclee print de este cuadro, se puede hacer directamente online en mi FAA Galería aquí:

 

Photography Prints

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