Cranial Painting

In 1966, before becoming a regular on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and before launching his perennial campaign for the US Presidency, comedian Pat Paulsen got into newspapers by pretending to be a "cranial painter". From the March 6, 1966 Mansfield News Journal:

USING HIS HEAD -- Artist Pat Paulsen, who shuns more traditional means of painting, demonstrates how he produces masterpieces -- with "cranial painting." The 35-year-old San Franciscan, now appearing at the Ice House in Glendale, Calif., smears paint on his beard. top: really gets down to heavy work, center, and winds up, bottom, with as much paint on his kisser as on the canvas.

Another, slightly better quality of Paulsen cranial painting, is below.


Posted on Fri Dec 05, 2008


Pat Paulsen was also known for doing finger shadows on the radio.
He ended every live performance with the line, "I just want to add that today's my birthday, and I've never had a standing ovation." It always worked.

I think Paulsen was also the first to promote this position on gun control: "Let everybody have as many guns as they want, and lock up all the bullets."
Posted by Big Gary  on  Fri Dec 05, 2008  at  09:18 AM
Alex, cranial painting wasn't really a "hoax," inasmuch as he really did smear paint around with his head.
Shouldn't the status of this item be soemthing more like "stunt" or "gag"?
Posted by Big Gary  on  Fri Dec 05, 2008  at  09:21 AM
Gary, that did cross my mind. I figure if he was representing himself to the media as a serious artist then it's a hoax. (A satirical take on modern art, like the disumbrationist hoax.)

But if he never pretended to be an artist, just a comedian, then it would be a gag.

Problem is, I can't find much info about the stunt. Only the 1966 article. And that simply describes him as an artist.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Fri Dec 05, 2008  at  09:48 AM
Of course it's art! Look at the guy strumming the guitar in the background.
Posted by Mr Henderson  on  Sat Dec 06, 2008  at  03:28 PM
Now this is what I call a
Posted by canvas  on  Mon Dec 15, 2008  at  07:01 AM
Hahaha I love this.
Posted by Jerry  on  Fri Jul 03, 2009  at  09:58 AM
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