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Friday, June 15, 2007

The Story of My Banner (Painted by Johnny Meah)

Hanging outside the sideshow are usually a series of canvas paintings which advertise the acts on the inside. These canvas paintings are called "banners" and there still a few master painters around. One of the the most famous is Johnny Meah. When Johnny Meah speaks, his voice is so distinctive that once you hear it, you will NEVER forget it. If you click on the link you can hear it.

Anyways, I wanted to have a banner painted for my show. And, if I was going to get one done, why not get an original Meah....if I could afford it. These are collector's items. They hang in galleries. So, I left Meah an e-mail and lo and behold, one day, I get a call. I look at my cell phone and I catch a glimpse of the area code. It is one I was very familar with. "Johnny", I said, "where are you calling me from?" "Ohhh, its a small town in Florida, you probably don't know it...its called, Safety Harbor.".

I was stunned. "Uhhh....that's basically the town I grew up in." As it turns out, Meah, being an artist, was quite familiar with the most prestigious art gallery in Safety Harbor. His work has hung on those walls a number of times and he knows the owners of the gallery quite well.

Well funny thing is that we too know the owners of the gallery. In fact, my family has been close to them for over 35 years. Weirder still...the son of the gallery owners set me up with a young lady who became my wife.

It turns out, that I have been crossing paths with Johnny Meah for probably my whole life and didn't know it. My life might have been a lot different If I had known who he was....I might never have gone into medicine.


Anonymous said...

Your poster is rad. A real art piece.

Anonymous said...

I recently worked in a place in safety harbor where Johnny had a small art studio, he is a very genuine guy, and his voice is
I also saw him in a documentary about sideshows, what a talented and amazing person he is, he is also very interesting to have conversation with, I found him to be one of the most interesting people I have ever known.
From Clearwater.