What happens when folk artist Butch Anthony gets his hands on an iconic print by American realist painter Bo Bartlett?
You get “Calamari.”
Anthony recently purchased a large print of Bartlett’s “The Promised Land.”
“I was wondering what he would do with it,” Bartlett said Tuesday morning.
He got his answer a day earlier on social media. Anthony, a Seale, Ala., artist who marches to a different beat, took the painting of two women and a man riding a row boat atop a large wave and gave it his spin.
And his spin is to put the three people in the row boat under attack — from a large red octopus and then call it “Calamari.”
“I was just trying to fancy it up a little bit,” Anthony said via phone Tuesday afternoon.
In the past, Bartlett, a Columbus native who has studios in Columbus and Wheaton Island, Maine, and Anthony have swapped work. This time, Anthony purchased the 42-by-62-inch canvas print, which sells for about $2,500. The original is oil on linen and was done in 2015. It sold for an undisclosed amount and currently is in a private collection in New Hampshire.
“Butch works across all genres,” Bartlett said. “He cuts straight through things — inside and out. He calls his style ‘intertwanglism.’ There is no greater honor than being ‘intertwanglized.’”
And besides, Anthony owned the print.
“He could do what he wanted with it,” Bartlett said. “He bought the painting.”
For the record, Bartlett loved the Anthony take.
“I see it as a collaboration,” Bartlett said. “This is what Butch does. He takes something that is kind of staid and acceptable and puts his mark on it.”
In the bottom right corner of the painting, Anthony left his mark, “BA” in large letters. Anthony could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning, but he posted a picture of the painting on the Alabama Museum of Wonder’s Facebook page on Monday.
Anthony’s work is hanging in his home. Asked what he was going to do with it, “I guess I will give it to Bo.”
The two artists, despite the differing styles, are friends. Asked about their differences, Anthony was quick to point out, “He knows how to paint, and I don’t.”
Bartlett opens a show on Friday in Orlando at Mennello Museum.