A few weeks ago, I was sitting on the terrace outside of a Kaffeehaus in Vienna when I was approached by this spindly-framed, spiky-haired fellow holding a fold up easel and a paint-box.
“Do your portrait, mein herr? Tventy-five euros!”
“Twenty-five euros? I’m afraid that’s a little much for me. I’m traveling on a budget…”
“But, mein herr… I am Egon Schiele!”
“Dzee Zecessionist painter?”
“I’m sorry, I study art history at Concordia University. I don’t know art from before 1980…”
“Ach, never mind! But tventy-five euros ist fast geschenkt… it is practically a gift, trust me!
“Ok, ok! But quickly please, uh… Egon, if you don’t mind! I want to get to the Schnitzelmuseum before it closes.”
“Wunderbar! Now, vould you like me to paint you as if you vere in the nude und masturbatink?”
“Eh? No, no! Just a traditional portrait, please!”
The strange man set up his easel in front of me, and pulled out his painting materials. He then set to work amid a flurry of bobbing spiked hair, splattered colours, and nervous twitches of a paintbrush held between long, knobbly fingers. This went on uninterruptedly for what couldn’t have been longer than fifteen minutes, and then…
“Und voila! Your very own Egon Schiele portrait!”
He turned his easel around so I could admire his creation.
“That’s me?” I couldn’t hide my disappointment. “But you’ve made my face all splotchy and… I dunno, sort of gnarled looking…”
“I have made you look tortured und intense!”
“But… I’m Canadian! No one’s going to take me seriously as a tormented, brooding type!”
“Ja, vell… Look, to be honest dzis really isn’t one of my best… I tell you vhat, just give me tventy euros… I just need to pay one of my models… She’s a minor, zo she doesn’t need much…”
I handed him over a twenty, and he was on his way. I took a good hard look at the portrait.
“Honestly,” I thought to myself, “I feel like I could have done this!”
(For great Egon Schiele content, click here: https://www.artsy.net/artist/egon-schiele)