Beer In Art #83: Bob Kessel’s Charles Bukowski

Today’s works of art is part of a series of American Icons by Bob Kessel. It’s am abstract portrait of the writer Charles Bukowski, who was known to drink a little alcohol from time to time.


Kessel writes of the portrait. “Appropriately, Buk is shown drinking a bottle of beer.” I love its simplicity of both palette — just red, white and blue plus yellow — and the imagery, capturing the essence of Bukowski in the portrayal of him hoisting a beer to his lips at a bar. It reminds me of a cross between Piet Mondrian and Roy Lichtenstein.

Below, it’s show with a frame to better see the white space intended to be around the exterior of the artwork. Limited edition prints are available of this, and other portraits from the series, American Icons.


To see more of Kessel’s work, check out his website and also his WordPress blog.

Also, below is a poem entitled Beer by Bukowski, from my Beer Poetry database.

Beer, by Charles Bukowski, from Love is A Mad Dog From Hell (1920 – 1994)

I don’t know how many bottles of beer
I have consumed while waiting for things
to get better
I don’t know how much wine and whisky
and beer
mostly beer
I have consumed after
splits with women—
waiting for the phone to ring
waiting for the sound of footsteps,
and the phone to ring
waiting for the sounds of footsteps,
and the phone never rings
until much later
and the footsteps never arrive
until much later
when my stomach is coming up
out of my mouth
they arrive as fresh as spring flowers:
“what the hell have you done to yourself?
it will be 3 days before you can fuck me!”

the female is durable
she lives seven and one half years longer
than the male, and she drinks very little beer
because she knows it’s bad for the figure.

while we are going mad
they are out
dancing and laughing
with horny cowboys.

well, there’s beer
sacks and sacks of empty beer bottles
and when you pick one up
the bottle fall through the wet bottom
of the paper sack
spilling gray wet ash
and stale beer,
or the sacks fall over at 4 a.m.
in the morning
making the only sound in your life.

rivers and seas of beer
the radio singing love songs
as the phone remains silent
and the walls stand
straight up and down
and beer is all there is.

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