From 1977 to 2010, I worked in the bar business. Starting as a bartender, a brief time as a partner/owner, and ending up keeping books to give to an accountant until I drank myself out of a job. I didn’t think this was actually possible given my observation of the nature of the business! My thinking at the time was fairly skewed, due to a condition I had put myself in. My departure was inexplicable…to me. Oddly, losing my most consistent source of long time income turned out to be the luckiest accident of my life.
The bar business had given some of the best times of my life. I felt “entitled”. Imagine being a 27 year old kid, surrounded by every incredible vice available. I took advantage of all of it, not ever thinking that was anything but normal.
Through all those years, Peaches was there. A beautiful, large, oil painting of a classically treated reclining nude. She was painted in the very early 20th century by an artist named Wilhelm. The bar owner had acquired her, and given her center stage in his first tavern.
Very early in the bars continuing run, a not-so-satisfied customer put four bullets in the painting, missing any part of Peaches’ anatomy, (not to mention the people present at the time).
As the years went by, the number of eye witnesses to the event grew dramatically. The caliber of gun, the number of holes, the description of the shooter, took on a pretty humorous urban mythology.
I’ve wanted to do something with Peaches since the late seventies, but, as my life drawing skills
are pretty lousy, my newly acquired computer hobby lets me see what I want. I could transpose these ideas into actual paintings, but can’t think of one reason why! This way, I can always hit “delete”.
If you have any fond memories of what I consider a Chicago celebrity, feel free to comment.