It is all about Solomon Bothwell (of his pursuit as an Artist) –an ongoing documentary

Solomon Bothwell, first attempt-monochrome painting test 2012 Image courtesy of the artist

Solomon Bothwell,
first attempt-monochrome painting test
Image courtesy of the artist

On January 2nd, 2013 the beloved person/boy who started KCHUNG radio (, my friend/studio mate, Solomon Bothwell, posted a long letter to his fellow Facebook friends/whomever may be concerned. The exact complete letter (without auto grammar check) appeared as follows:

“first off i would like to say congratulations to everyone who has made it to 2013. i hope this a good one for you.

for me, the past few months of 2012 have been a time of financial difficulty. my usual runs of art handling/installation/fabrication became rather sparse and i was barely able to pay my rent this month. i have only graduated from imaginary colleges so i can’t get a cushy office job and i would rather not join the military.

difficult times call for bold moves and i have decided that maybe now is the moment to try to become an artist. i know that most artists don’t make any money, but i know of at least a couple that make a lot of money.

i don’t need to make a lot of money but i would really like to be able to eat something other that instant oatmeal and apples. i know there are lots of other foods i could eat—such as lentils or beans and rice—but i don’t even have a stove. maybe if i was an artist i could make enough money to buy a pressure cooker and an electric burner.

now i know what you are thinking, you can’t just start being an artist and expect to make the big bucks. you have to practice a lot and think a lot about good ideas if you want to be a good artist and make money.

it is true that i am probably not a good artist right now, for example i don’t know how to draw or paint or anything. however, i think that given enough time i could learn to be a good artist. i have lots of good artist friends and i can try to learn from them.

this will probably take a long time—perhaps five or ten years—and i really need the money right now.

so i had a lawyer do some pro bono work for me. he drafted a contract which i believe will solve all of these problems. the contract gives you the option to buy an artwork from me at a future date for a price we agree upon right now. we can negotiate on the future price, date of contract maturation, and the scale and materials to be used to make the artwork. we will also negotiate an appropriate fee which you will pay me upon signing the contract.

this is risky business, but i have always heard in the movies about wall street that the riskier the investment the greater the potential profit. i might end up being a really bad artist and in ten years it is not worth it to you to exercise the option. however, it might also work out in your favor. i have no idea. i just really need some money right now.

i lost my phone and cant afford to pay the deductible to get a replacement, so if you want to participate in this operation then please email me ( [email protected] ). also, if you have an old phone that will work on verizon, i would really appreciate it if you could loan it to me.

thank you,


I read this letter with him at his studio on the day he posted. With much admiration of his brilliant idea, we laughed together. The following day he received possibly five cellphones (one currently being used by Solomon from Andrew Cox) and one message from his fellow artist friend (I will find out who in the next episode) who might offered a contract signing with him.

10 days later, he posted another letter,

“hello friends,

i am extremely grateful to all the wonderful people who have offered me cell phones, job
offers, and career advice. this has been very helpful and i learned a lot about what amazing friends i have in los angeles.

i’ve done a little more thinking abut my future art career and after speaking to a few people i came to realize that any wise investor needs something to latch onto; somekind of indicator that this investment is worth the risk. i have decided that i need to make some good faith efforts to show that i am dedicated and on the path to making the good art.

the first step in entering a new field is to learn about it, and so i need to learn about the good art and how people make it. at first i thought i could go to art school but that seems expensive and time consuming. so then i thought i could go to city college, but those classes are always overbooked. then i remembered that i have a lot of good artist friends who could probably teach me everything i need to know really fast.

i don’t need to learn all of art. i just need to learn how a variety of different people make good art and then maybe i can compare all those artists and how they make good art and then maybe i can figure out how to make the good art myself. this will probably take five to ten years, but i figure it will give all the smart investors something to sink their teeth into while they consider whether or not my futures contracts are worth the risk.

please let me know if you are a good artist and you would be interested in teaching me about being a good artist. i don’t have any money but i would be a good student. i want to get right to the point and learn about making the good art. maybe we can workout some kind of exchange for the classes. i could clean your studio—if you have one—or i can wash your car or bicycle.



One evening, out of blue (a new term I just learned from Solomon. I might as well try to use it), Solomon borrowed some gold acrylic paint and some blue tape from me, trying to make a monochrome painting. The primary reason, coincidentally, why I loaned him gold was because it was a cheap brand. The idea of making a monochrome painting was his first clue on practice painting (not limited to become just a painter for his art career). Monochrome-describes paintings, drawings, design, or photographs in one color or shades of one color. In his case, he attempted to do one painting with one color. He taped two pieces of blue tape on an approximately 9” plastic paint scraper with an approximately 1.5” gap in between the tapes. Simply squeeze a strip of gold paint in the front-end part of the scraper in between the tapes, he then placed the scraper down on a piece of 8.5”x11” card-stock paper I believe, same gesture as when one does dry-walling, he pressed the scrapper down and drew a straight line with it. The final piece of art (see photo) turned out being not the same look as he was thinking/imagining.

Thanks for reading the first episode of Solomon Bothwell’s art career pursuit documentary. I will try my best at offering detailed stories of his interesting ideas and actions, and as objectively as I can (a very changeling task).

Ok, his idea of this monochrome painting was to somehow build a machine that one could make a perfect monochrome painting with ONLY ONE stroke. (Somehow this “monochrome” painting involved white space (the paper or canvas) around the edge of THIS stroke.) If you have such a machine, please contact Solomon Bothwell. I am pretty sure he would be very happy to meet you, your machine and talk about art with you.

Now, if we try to ask ourselves, “As an art buyer, what kind of creativity we can offer in the process of making the art piece that we buy?” Solomon suggested the answer. By making connection with his inventive machine concept and his tape-scrapper attempt on your own, you perhaps could have an image of an art piece that is logical and tasteful enough for you to sign a possible contract with him. Knowing your taste and start early before he builds up his Curriculum Vita.

Please follow next month’s installment. It’s all about Solomon Bothwell on his art lessons with Johnny Jungleguts, John Burtle, Vestlandets Kunstakademi, and many others.


Guan Rong

1 Comment

  1. Everybody’s art is hanging in the balance!

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