Some artists are driven by passion or necessity. Peter Zonis, that guy who sells pastel paintings outside of Barneys, is driven by a hilarious, bossy Australian called Ellen Petrincic. Petrincic, a former restaurant hostess, became Zonis’s “muse” after meeting him on a park bench, she tells the Times today. She directed him “to draw Barneys, the store I love more than anything else in the world,” and got him to change his medium. “When I met him, he was just a tortured bloody artist,” she told New York in 2003. “I made him switch to oil pastels.” She also apparently made him go to a cosmetic dentist. But even though they live together and he has nice teeth now, “We’re not boyfriend and girlfriend. We’re two people who collided to change each others’ destinies.” Her destiny definitely needed changing:
… she was checking coats at the Monkey Bar and looking for her 30th restaurant job. She also needed a place to live because the 67-year-old man she was staying with was chasing her around the apartment, calling her his “birthday present.”
Hate when that happens.
Related: Artist of Rich Shoppers Has Madison Ave. As a Storefront [NYT]
Painting for His Supper [NYM]