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this guy cracks me up.

 

my aunt, one of the most amazing and wonderful persons that i know from my earliest childhood, used to collect these postcards back in the 70s.

 

ashleigh has generated a lifetime vision that involved churning out "pot shots", a self-described genre of proverb-meets-doodle-in-less-than-17-words-and-fits-on-notecards. everyday, he comes up with a new one. AND HE'S STILL AT IT, now in his seventies.

 

and they were always very funny to me, because they were witty and sad, winsome and grand. eventually i think he started using some other illustrator and clip art and stuff like that as he evolved. i prefer his early doodles the most.

 

anyway, we thought it would be good fun to just look him up and invite him out to breakfast. it was actually really easy to find him and he accepted our invite -- my aunt, my cuz and i -- to have brunch on one sunday.

 

sadly, he was the most boring, unhappy fellow we had met in a really long time. we made it through an excruciating meal, bearing down through stories about how his wife really can't stand being around him so she leads tour groups to egypt at any chance she gets and goes anywhere and everywhere to avoid having to be at home with him. and he kept going.

 

sara and i just stared at our eggs eventually, but my aunt was a great sport. she kept the conversation going. her love for his gift to the world is immense. i share in it, too. i guess that was what was so hard about meeting him in person... and maybe, as an artist, i'm afraid that i would appear the same way to others? i stared harder at my egss.

 

continuing, he said that he really wanted someone to run his business (a great opportunity, folks!!! he really did create an amazing body of appropriated ideas), but no one got along with him and it was always a nightmare. i winced.

 

later, we walked back to his studio/office. he insisted on giving us a tour and we did feel very lucky and blessed. despite his harrowing sadness, we were excited to see where all the creations had come from.

 

the place, a little california bungalow, was a hole of darkness, a movie set from the 70s with postcard spinner racks, stacks and stacks of boxes filled with old card stock paper that had been sitting for years with his quirky little sayings all over them.

 

we bought a bunch of his postcards and wished him well.

 

but when we left, i was really disappointed. he had shown us the stuff he was "currently" working on. it was crap. it was old, stolen, completely stale.

 

and it made me wonder if all of his stuff was that way. if it was produced years after some creative, funny, sparky person had alluded to the saying or vice versa. brilliant had really tried to drive home through breakfast how smart he was, as though we really needed to believe in this, too. he mentioned some meta club that all the genius boys attend or join.

 

but honestly, the only really "brilliant" thing that mr. brilliant has done is to copyright the phrases that belonged to culture. so many sayings (yes, when you go look him up you will begin to see what i'm talking about), that you thought were just out there and belonged to all of us, now actually belong, by copyright law, to him and his estate. this man will have an incredible wealth of copyrighted phraseology. this may not seem so important, but it is fascinating if you look into the murky ideas surrounding "intellectual property rights"

 

and further, at this juncture in brilliant's life, there didn't appear to be a witty or creative bone in his mind. he had no interesting observations, his language was bleak and morose and bore no resemblance to the mind that could create such a rich body of aphorisms. INDEED, he is right up there with MARK fking TWAIN for creating american aphorisms, but i bet you've never heard of him, right?!?!

 

so i want to kind of make sure that history has at least one little FOOTNOTE to say that, "I met this guy and I think he basically appropriated colloquialisms and reworded other people's ideas and gestures and such. He didn't have the feel of a man of letters or pen or imagination. Ashleigh Brilliant felt like a one hundred percent fraud."

 

and, i will add, he was 100% cognizant and seemingly untouched by any ravages of age, mentally and physically. he was in excellent condition and of sound mind.

 

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Taken on March 3, 2009