The Best Paint Ever

by Grossmalerman on March 4, 2013


Recently, I stumbled into a post opening party where a number of fellow painters were squabbling over the the age old question of which paint tastes the best. If you’re not a painter you may not be aware of this long running argument. But, I suppose every subculture has its points of contention.

I’m sure even installation artist’s argue about something. I have no idea what that would be, nor frankly do I care, although I imagine it involves chocolate casting. I only think of installation artists every so often and then only to pity them or use them as the brunt of a particularly funny joke. I once saw a pair of them argue over a vintage Le Coq Sportif track suit. What was that about?! It’s possible that they were performance artists. I have trouble telling them apart. I only know that one of them articulates tedium in all three dimensions and the other doesn’t.

cobalt-green-tube-MEDIn any case now I’m off topic. Where was I? The best tasting paint! Yes. The best tasting paint is obviously Old Holland Cobalt Green Deep. I am snacking on a tube as I write this. You can’t go crazy with it due to it’s extreme toxicity but you’ll find no paint better suits a cold night in the studio. It’s complicated but not overbearing. It pairs fantastically with a Vodka & Dr. Pepper. It also has an opacity that few green paints share. You try covering with a Viridian!! But I suppose that’s another discussion entirely.

While I’m a sucker for Cobalt Green Deep I know there are a number of painters who feel otherwise. Nicole Eiseneman is crazy for Golden Acrylics’ Dioxazine Purple which I find oddly bitter and overly filling. We’ve clashed over this several times but she swears by it. Drinks it by the quart! Alex Katz too. Once he got that stuff all over my couch. (Little known fact, when Katz was poor and just starting out his paintings were 80% post digested paint. The rest was just the paint he couldn’t keep down.) Carol Dunham still works that way. He just grew to like the consistency. You know … in case you were wondering why his last show smelled like shit. And while Richard Philips claims to love Sennelier Cadmium Yellow I couldn’t help wondering if it was not in fact Winton Cadmium Yellow Hue we were being served the other night at his place. Dana Schutz will defend her gastronomic adoration of Indigo Extra to the death. Says it’s fortifying. And Luc Tuymans has developed a real taste for the “Conflict Colors” he gets though Colonel McCavoy “the Bastard Rhodesian” and his shadowy Sudan Network. He doesn’t seem to care what the color is so long as it’s “blood paint.”

I’m writing about this because I fear many of the younger generation are turning their backs on paint eating. I’ve heard that it’s all but died out at the Grad Schools. I recently had an awkward interaction at a studio visit that could have easily been avoided. The paint certainly looked as though it had been left out for me and I felt obligated to eat it. The student wasn’t nice about it either. God damn it! It wasn’t even paint I liked!!! So if you’re at school and none of the other painters are eating pigments maybe you should start. Don’t jump immediately into your cadmiums, cobalts or your lead whites. Try a nice earth color. A Caput Mort Violet or Venetian Red. If that doesn’t feel like enough, suck down a tube of Manganese Violet and wait for the kick. I find Manganese overblown but others like it (it was Cezanne’s favorite). And know that you are taking part in an ancient ritual. Sure, Video Artist’s can argue about cameras and lenses and editing systems but we have tradition. So crack open a tube of your favorite paint, wash it down with a couple of cold beers and wait for it to work it’s magic. You won’t be sorry you did. I, Jonathan Grossmalerman, promise you that. Do it.

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  • Boldini

    Personally Flake white- however I LOVE the smell of cad red med- all Old Holland of course.a runner up for smell would be Williamsburg’s quinacridone magenta -= though I believe it is the cheesy smell of the oil….

  • I always cleans my palette with a tube of cobalt violet, but do to inflation I may need to turn to cobalt blue with just a hint of cobalt teal. As you can see I have a thing for cobalt. I too keep some distance from flake white as it just tastes like overly rich butter frosting to me and it effects my saturnine moods with great gravity.

    • Boldini

      I will just keep reposting this awesome article.

  • Why are so many wannabes doing trite and silly things just to get some fickle attention in the art industry? Grossmalerman may feel accepted by his cronies but not only do birds of a feather flock together but people whether they like to admit it or not can tell the real from the fake always.

    • Grossmalerman

      That, Mr. Siazon, is a very hurtful thing to say. Remember that I am a living, breathing man with feelings like any other. If I had known, when the Hyperallergic team begged me to share my thoughts with the cultural community, that I would be subjected to such hateful cruelty I would have certainly said no. Well, maybe. In any case, shame on you Mr. Saizon for making the world a little less kind.

      • In this brutal age of rapid human devolution it is you Mr. Grossmalerman who should be thoroughly ashamed. You seem to be a very smart and talented person on the flip side … Why then go about parading yourself like a drunken animal if not for completely evil and self-serving reasons? Surely you must know that your trite and vulgar shenanigans damage society for they have built a gruesome model of stupidity of which the blind follow for it has garnered you success Mr. Grossmalerman but not respect by far. You must grow weary of pandering to children when you could be so much more.

        • in case you missed the much larger, most edifying, and altogether unvulgar historical and artistic trappings of his post, jd,'s_health#Behavior.

          • Mr. Grossmalerman is just trying to add to his mystique in hopes of being somewhat of an anomaly in the art industry. The trend seems to be if you cannot produce great art then be a clown a la Hennessy Youngman.

          • Grossmalerman

            Can’t produce great art!!?? Have you never seen my painting “2 on 1”? It’s considered a classic!! Or maybe “Gaper #8??? For Christ’s sake! Have you done no research you ignorant Dunderhead!!!??? Are you so blinded by envy????

  • Tatiana Berg

    I’d drink Guerra urethane flat by the gallon, with a few drops of quinacridone rose light, if I could afford it.

  • Trish Edith

    When I’m having a bad day, I lick student paints off school brushes which gets brush hair in my mouth sometimes. I know it’s junk food, but it really just gets the stress out.

  • jon b

    Old Holland paint is lame. Holbein is the best! Looks good, smells good, tastes like fruit snacks!! Also, I like a little Permalba White in my coffee (vienna style!! :) ps. Wikipedia says Van Gogh ‘nibbled’ on his paints, but Im pretty sure I read somewhere that he was actually shaping his wet brushes with his mouth as he painted. ::shrugs:: pps. This is REALLY funny!! -Grossmalerman, your paintings are kinda out there, and pretty horny too, but It’s ok Im a hedonist as well, and anyone who uses that word to express derision is just plain jealous!! peace!

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