Full Frontal Assault: The Many (Disfigured) Faces of Tom Warner
By Tom Warner (baltimore Or Less)
Over the years, a number of artists have tried to capture your trusty Baltimore Or Less scribe's image in various mediums: an attempt, perhaps, to soften the harsh reality my blunt, in-your-face features project in photographic renditions – to wit, my signature scary bird-like eyes (with their slightly askew “space-gaze”); my pronounced proboscis; and, my ever-shedding, ever-thinning straw-broom hair. Here are some images, in various formats, over the years.
A local artist and library regular who went by the name “Library Dude” liked me so much that he painted this portrait of me, with a complimentary note, and dropped it off at my workplace. It scared me so much (though I did like the broad shoulders he gave me) that I gifted it to a co-worker to replace his dart board. The accompanying note read:
Your (sic) a kind and humble dude! I've seen how you've treated a variety of people with great respect and patience. When people are treated with kindness, they go home and kiss their wives and take their kids out for ice cream. Drunk people crack jokes and sing songs instead of losing the (sic) tempers. Appreciate they (sic) way you take time out For (sic) people dude So here's a picture. Hope you like it
– Library Dude”
Abandon HOPE, all ye who gaze upon this Shepard Fairy-styled poster, created by an online software program:
Scott Huffines commissioned this Simpsons drawing from a Vietnamese girl on the internet. “The best $5 dollars I ever spent!” Scott later commented, clearly pleased with his investment.
My MICA professor friend Laurence Arcadias made a stop-motion animated film for French TV about a sexually frustrated married man who discovers he's been on the “down-low” for years and really prefers les jeune garcons to les filles. My face inspired her for this character (how flattering!), and she used the following drawings of me for her film, Tempest in the Bedroom.
I even drew a self-portrait of myself one day. Here I am frantically manning the phone at work:
Of course, the only decent photo ever taken of me was by the late, great Sam Holden, who took the pic below for a City Paper article (“Splice World,” January 3, 2007) on one of my film programs at the Enoch Pratt Central Library.
I remember Sam prompting me with the words, “Hold those reels really close to you like you love them, like you wanna hug 'em and make love to them!” Reel love, indeed. And it took a real pro to make my mug look less zany than Lon Chaney! (Thanks Sam!)