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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Art and the Hostile Takeover

I WAS VERY SORRY TO READ the obituary of Joseph H. Flom, Esq. in today's New York Times. I knew him professionally and worked with him on art projects for the firm with which we both were affiliated. To clarify that, he was a senior name partner and I was a midlevel employee.

Mr. Flom was a brilliant lawyer who perfected the hostile corporate takeover. But more important, he was an artist. That's how our paths crossed. He worked on the 35th floor of the building on the telephone masterminding billion-dollar deals, while I labored on the 42nd floor for what worked out to $45 an hour, drawing editorial illustrations and cartoons for the SASM&F Newsletter.

His obituary referred to the firm's "lawyers in thrall to Mr. Flom as they would try to decode his doodles." These doodles, which were amazingly controlled and complex, were always rendered on lined yellow legal pads in ballpoint pen. My drawings were done with a fancier pen, but they too started out on yellow legal pads because that was what was available. Remind anyone of the caves at Lascaux, where one of the cave dwellers discovered that various pigments could represent life? Even if not, I believe it supports my thesis that art and life are one–or fungible, as Mr. Flom would say.

Unlike his acolytes, I never had to think about decoding the hidden messages in Mr. Flom's doodles. I knew they were art the moment I saw them. I wanted to incorporate these beautiful "doodles" in my art, asked him for permission, and Mr. Flom agreed. Coincidentally, the drawing I recently chose for the header of Depingo Ergo Sum is one that incorporates one of his doodles under the baton. I chose it for its lyrical quality, which reminds me of music.

Goodbye, my doodling art friend. I enjoyed making art with you. I would like to make art with you again sometime–just not too soon.

Paint on,


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You and Joe Flom could have taken over the art world.

  3. I enjoyed reading it. Glad you have some of the doodles.