This morning on Good Morning America I caught a story about a couple of guys who bought a house and in the garage found a ton of original paintings, sketches, journals and more. After six years of research and organization what they had found amounted to the life’s work of Arthur Pinajian.
A painter of “modern art” he created in relative obscurity till his death in 1999. From most accounts he was talented and though his work is considered of slightly uneven quality is known as a “master of structural color”. He also worked for several comic book companies in the 30’s such as Quality, Marvel, and Centaur Comics and is known for his creation “Madame Fatal” for Quality Comics.
His life’s work, tens of thousands of paintings? It’s being valued at around 30 million dollars. This is a man whose creative life spanned 50 years yet he never gained fame or notoriety for his work. In fact his most famous creation Madam Fatal is best known as the world’s first cross dressing super hero.
For more on Madam Fatal click over to Web Comic Overlook for their article Know Thy History: Madam Fatal, really well written piece.
So what is there to say about Mr Pinajian? This is one of those stories that comes along every now and then to show us that there’s more out there than we could ever hope to know. What do I take away from a story like this? What could this man have created now. With the climate we have towards creators. With independent publishers, and print on demand, and comixology.com new submission portal? When I look at a life like Mr Pinajian’s I see missed opportunity, I see “what if”.
What about Arthur’s family? Friends? Didn’t anybody see this guy painting and painting? Didn’t anyone try to get his work out there? Well the people who sold the house reportedly told the new owners to just toss all the stuff, they had no interest in it.
So tell me, do you have a story you want to write? A painting you want to paint? Some masterpiece hiding away in your sketchbook? Will the world only discover you after you’re gone? Or do you know some really cool artist or writer the world should see?
Whichever the case, ask yourself, “What if”.