Harlequin and Columbine

1989, Oil on Canvas, Size: 59 x 51

As the son of a military officer, my childhood was filled with travel. Many of our relocations were to remote cities – they offered basic products and services, but never anything as magnificent as a toy store. Only in dreams and fairy tales was I able to capture that magical experience of pressing my nose to their storefront window and coveting the playthings inside. So when I became a father to my own son, I longed to re-live my childhood through him. One New Year, I arranged a trip to an enormous toy store where my son was allowed to choose one special toy. To our horror, we found that all the shelves were completely empty – not a single toy left. It was Absurd with a capital A. I painted Harlequin and Columbine as a revolt of toys against people, against those who steal childhood. My son and I laugh about it now, but at the time, that painting was a protest and a warning. Toys continue to survive even when adults disregard them.