Thursday, May 24, 2018

Van Gogh Find Yourself at the Orlando Fringe Festival

Van Gogh Find Yourself can be found in the Gold Venue inside the Orlando Museum of Art (2416 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803.) A woman in line had said that she thought Van Gogh would be sketching everyone in the audience. I let her know that would likely not be the case. No artist works that fast. He sat on the stage sketching as the audience filtered into the theater. I sat in the front row to sketch him, and he immediately started to sketch me. He really does look like Van Gogh with the thick red beard and furrowed brow. He invited members of the audience to join him on stage, saying, "people kept a distance from me my whole life."

He invited someone on stage to be sketches by him and the comedian Polly Esther, from Dammit Jim, I'm a comedian not a Doctor took the seat offered. He stood at the easel and sketched her. She pitched her show as she was being sketched but then he explained that silence while creating is alright. He started talking about his life as a minister in a coal mining town. When he saw the suffering around him, he gave up his possessions to live more like the people he was preaching to. His father intervened and told him to stop being so dramatic. Ultimately this was not to be his life's work.

His brother Theo suggested Van Gogh learn to paint. This he picked up with an equal passion. Theo helped support Van Gogh's painting obsession and ultimately he settled in the south of France. He had dreams of starting an artists colony and Gauguin took Theo's several hundred dollar stipend to join Van Gogh painting in the south of France. The two artists had totally different views on art and were soon fighting.

Van Gogh said that many of his best paintings were done in the insane asylum. Starry Night was projected on the screen. He found peace away from people. The towns people tormented him. He dispelled the notion that he cut his own ear off saying Gauguin cut him with a saber. He did admit to giving the ear fragment to a prostitute. He also dispelled the notion that he committed suicide. He claimed he was shot by a boy he approached in the fields where he painted. He didn't want the boy to be in trouble so he kept the incident to himself. After he died, a doctor took some of his best paintings. Theo died shortly after wards of a broken heart.

When the artist on stage announced his true name was Walter DeForest, the illusion was broken. Walter was born on the day Van Gogh died.  Surprisingly the original Star Trek doctors actual name is DeForest Kelly. I had  learned many alternate truths about one off my favorite artists. As an artist this was a fun show to watch and sketch. I give it 8 of 10 sunflowers.

Tickets are $12 plus a Fringe button needed to get into any show.

Remaining show dates are:
7:15 PM
2:30 PM

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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