Finding Howard Rice: The Artist’s Way

The responses to our Howard Rice stories are really pouring in! We’re excited to see that so many people are connecting to these stories and, of course, connecting to Howard Rice. This little project has really taken off, and who knows—maybe we’ll each find some answers to connect ourselves again to Howard, or at least to a Howard.

This week, though, we’re taking you all the way over to the East Coast. We have a message from a self-proclaimed “artsy type” who has had their own run-ins with our old friend.

A Portrait of the Artist as Howard Rice

As an artist in New York City, it’s basically required that I lead with the fact that I’m a starving artist in New York, right? Really, though, a lot of us find a little home here, just like I have since coming to the city a few decades ago all the way from Arkansas, a place most people can’t pronounce. The rest say, “Oh, like Dorothy, right?”

So, imagine my surprise when I find another artsy type from Texarkana, someone who became fast friends and bought a studio with me. Now, we do our work there, and sometimes, we even teach a few classes.

That’s where things really begin. My friend usually runs the classes, and most people find them a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of being high-level execs and Queens auto accident lawyers and three-star chefs. “Happy little trees” can do us all a little good, seems like.

Except, she had this one student who was pretty good, if a little bold. He wanted to get in the business of painting portraits for people, like they’re kings and queens or something. Anyway, point is, he starts focusing his class time on these commissions, which would be fine if he wasn’t driving my friend crazy with questions about lighting and dynamic shading and things that were a little over his head.

She was getting close to kicking him out, honestly. Sure, the guy had a decent sense of composition, but when he’s disrupting her business, it becomes an issue, you know?

Of course, that’s when he decided to finish up his very first picture. He was convinced he was the next Caravaggio, with his dramatic lighting and all, but honestly, the subject was just some guy staring out, so it came off more parody than homage. But, hey, what does some hick from the backwoods of Arkansas  know about art, right?

The kicker, though, is when she next sees this guy. He comes down the street, looking dejected, and carrying this massive, ornate frame. It’s really not doing his picture much good, either. My friend was outside on a smoke break, so she stopped him for a second.

“What, he didn’t like it?”

He huffed, holding the painting out to her. “Here, a gift for your help and all, since he can’t seem to appreciate true art. I’m thinking I’ll be trying something more Picasso, this time.” It wasn’t long before he was gone, moved off to who knows where, but the painting is still hanging in the studio as a little inside joke.

When I saw this site, though, I knew I had to submit my story. That’s because the little plaque I’ve been looking at for the past few years reads, “Howard Rice.”

Still Seeking Howard? Check Out Our Other Stories

We’re excited to see that every story gets us a little bit closer to our titular Howard Rice. While the connections started out as a little game among friends, we’re all excited to see other people talk about their own complex, funny, or even sad stories about how they connected Howard Rice.

If you’re interested in learning more about our project, read on here and keep updated on our stories. We’ll keep updating as we gather more connections to Mr. Rice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *