The newest art gallery in town is anything but dull.
by Peter Conti
Saturday September 4, 1999
Photo by Mark Clifton
Wearing his trademark chapeau, a tie-dyed T-shirt, yellow and black vertical striped balloon pants and red hi-top Chucks, Happy the Artist was in his chaotic element Friday night during the opening of his new art gallery.
Make that "Art Gal-r-eee."
In the area known as Uptown, full of bright pastel colored buildings, Happy still has no trouble standing out.
This is not your usual art gallery fare. No hushed tones, no brooding artists, no cocktail airs. Happy is not for the feint of heart.
Out front, Happy's children (five?) leaped from yellow benches chasing each other and occasionally running in to help dad hang another frame. Some of the children are already preserved in murals in progress along the narrow hall leading from the front gallery space to Happy's office in the back of the building.
Painted on the cement threshold - welcoming you on in - is a swirly yellow "Howdy" complete with splatterings dripping toward the sidewalk.
In the gal-r-eee a big screen video of Happy's work (or is it play?) runs continuously. Giant murals made from huge swatches of plastic core board cover the walls from head-to-toe. Various works hang happy-hazardly throughout the space.
Some of the more intriguing items are the over-sized core board stand-ups, a Guernsey cow and the Eisenstaedt V-J Day sailor and nurse kissing, perfect for Happy's broad sweeping style.
Laid out for purchase are Happy T-shirts and Happy coffee cups in garish colors complete with phone, fax and URL.
The inaugural show is titled "My life as a 69 American Rambler." Happy's Rambler station wagon is parked prominently out front of the new gal-r-eee. Festooned in its finest 10-foot-high glued-on pile of artifacts, balloons, beach balls and anything else unlucky enough to get within its vortex, Happy's rolling work of art has already become a gutter-side bright spot in the Fan.