Salvador Dali paid for meals by drawing on the back of the cheque, knowing the restaurant owner would never cash it. Michelangelo slept in his clothes and never took his shoes off. Andy Warhol filled 610 boxes with the stuff he collected.
I’ve often wondered what it would be like to live in the same house as an artist. Now I know. My stepson Dani draws. That’s what he does. He draws from the moment he wakes up until the moment he goes to sleep. He has a terrific name for an artist: Dani Labrosse – Danny The Brush.
He takes short breaks to cook easy meals. Vegan burgers. Two-minute rice. Cereal eaten from a mug. He’s been doing this every day for the last five years. He’s 18 now. Nothing in the house is safe. The light switches all have faces. There are stickers of his drawings all over the fridge. I finished a beer the other day. Five minutes later he was on the balcony spraying the bottle gold and covering it in hieroglyphics.
If I find a broken child’s toy lying in the street, I always pick it up, put it in my pocket and present him with it. Dani loves the things other people drop or throw away and he turns them into little works of art. A hideous porcelain rainbow trout I won in a fishing competition now has an alien cowboy riding on it with a koala bear strapped to his back. Two weeks ago he decided his bedroom wasn’t a big enough studio for his canvasses. I came back to work to find he had commandeered the living room and the kitchen table.
“I like it here,” he told me. Next morning I found him asleep on the sofa. When he woke up he said: “This is great, I wake up and I can start work right away because everything I need is just two steps away on the kitchen table.”
I found him in the shower the other day filming an animation where a little alien comes out of the shower head. He said to me: “Stand there and hold the bathroom door open, I need to get this finished now.” I did as I was told.
He listens to thrash metal music and the lyrics find their way into his pictures as well as the images they make in his head. He can be quick and funny like a cartoonist or surreal and modern like Keith Haring. A discarded banana skin recently became an octopus in two quick strokes of his pen. A crust of dry bread turned into a monster, roaring at a fleeing pack of terrified breadcrumbs. He photographed a little ball of fluff on the floor and added a speech bubble that said “I’m worthless”.
I have no idea if he’ll ever become famous but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. He’ll have his first exhibition in Budapest this September. We’re hoping that when we take him out to dinner afterwards, he’ll sign the cheque with a drawing.