The Drunkard

the drunkard24″ x 36″, Acrylic on canvas, 2003

“The Drunkard” is a self-portrait based on the fling I had with alcoholism in my early twenties. I was more popular back then than I am now. I had an agent to do all my business, camera crews were often coming to my house, I was really pampered. I had alot of money, I felt like I was on top of the world, and of course alcohol came into the picture. My life seemed like a big party. But the party started to turn sour, I was often doing alot of crazy things and hurting those who loved me, those who wanted only the best for me. In this painting I am almost falling off a chair, my head is on backwards and my face is green from the alcohol. The room is crooked, kinda like the way a drunk person sees. There is a bottle of red wine on the table, which was often my drink of choice. There’s a hand with a heart on it reaching out to me, which represents the people who wanted me to stop my drinking and get off the destructive path. And I’m just glad I did, I think it could have ended my career. One can become a little spoiled when everything is handed to you on a silver platter, like it was back then. In my years as an artist I have seen a few artist come and go because of alcohol. They make a big sale and start drinking, and then they become alcoholics and their career is over, it’s tragic but it happens. After looking at myself hard I cut it out and went back to work, I didn’t wanna lose everything I had over alcohol. Today you will never find me at a party, today I can’t even stand the taste of alcohol. I took it to the limit like many other things, all I can say is, It’s insanity in a bottle and parties are just a waste of time. I have lost many people to alcohol, an aunt, a childhood friend, and a cousin. I don’t recommend it. – Riel Benn (click on image to view larger version)