“For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster. To me that was better than being president of the United States. To be a gangster was to own the world.” – Henry Hill.
You know I love film. I told you in my ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ post. And you know I love art because I mention it a lot. So imagine my joy when these two passions collided, the resulting carnage landing squarely upon my wall.
A bit of background first. Goodfellas is one of my favourite films. Brilliant script, amazing actors, a wonderful soundtrack and one of the greatest directors of all time make for so many memorable scenes and wonderful quotes. Who hasn’t used Joe Pesci’s ‘Funny how?’ quote at some time in their life.
A trip to Ebay, fuelled by a picture-shaped space on my living room wall, found me looking at an auction for Goodfellas themed original watercolour paintings. These primitive paintings with an almost childlike quality depicted scenes from the movie, very un-childlike scenes it has to be said.
I say they depicted scenes from the movie, but given that the movie is based on a true story these scenes also depict a life lived by one very real man. That man was Henry Hill and these paintings, to my wild joy, were painted by the man himself. So began a journey through cyberspace, some fun research, tracking down provenance and finally, the space on my wall filled.
For those not familiar with the movie, Henry Hill was a mobster turned informant who was sent into the witness protection program until, driven mad by the anonymity of suburbia and unable to completely turn his back on the life of crime, Hill was ejected from WITSEC and became an artist, painting pictures from the movie of his life.
Art imitating life imitating art.