Tuesday, April 15, 2008

ran the van man

Ran Van Horn is nothing if not ambitious.  And he's having fun .  Though he's had no art training whatsoever, Ran opened the Van Gogh Gallery on the main drag of Van Horn, Texas 11 years ago. Thousands of people a day drive past on I-10 he figures, and the price is right for rent in this part of the world, so why not?  

Ran's previous occupation was Baptist minister, but a fall and a head injury gave him a reason to relocate back to his native state, and start painting in the Van Gogh way.  Maximalist, he calls it.  Sometimes it's recreations of the one thousand or so paintings Vincent made during his short career, and sometimes it's variations on his own heroes, newsworthy events or simply things that strike his fancy.  He paints, and then lets the world slowly wander in to see, and sometimes buy.

We showed Ran the World's Largest Ball of Videotape in fervent hope he'll get the urge to whomp up a masterpiece that includes it.  We'll keep you posted.

At the other end of the street Van Horn also has an antique shop with a front yard brimming with  junk sculptures.  We couldn't find the guy who makes 'em, but we took plenty of pictures and heard Van and his friend Patricia say plenty of nice things about the sculptor, whose name is Gerald.  It's right next to Chuy's Mexican Restaurant, which proudly proclaims that football analyst John Madden stops in often and is crazy about 'em.

Speaking of crazy, we drove up to the Guadalupe Mountain National Park (the highest point in Texas except maybe Willie Nelson's bus) to play some very windy catch, and what should we find out in the midst of the cactus and brush but an old handgun.  A 9 millimeter that someone had unceremoniously ditched.  New meaning to the phrase "rock and fire."  We loved the view nonetheless, and followed it with a sprint through the Salt Flats nearby.  Grand Caravans seldom set speed records, so don't even ask.

Music In the Van--Shelby Lynne Suit Yourself", Crowded House's newest

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