The Story Behind the Work

Paul Zdepski's van Gogh-like
Paul Zdepski's van Gogh-like "Vincent Van Toad." (From Paul Zdepski)
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Friday, May 30, 2008

Illustrator Paul Zdepski's painting of "Vincent van Toad," which features a red-bearded frog done in the style of a van Gogh self-portrait, is hilarious enough without knowing the back story. But we did a little more digging anyway.

Turns out the Strasburg, Va., artist was hired last year by a local art magazine to illustrate "The Frog Prints," a short children's mystery story by Lisa Lynn Arroniz about the theft of artwork by amphibian painter Vincent van Toad. According to Zdepski, the idea for the picture came to him in a flash. "I just started thinking, 'If a piece was done by someone named Vincent van Toad, what would it look like?' "

Finished in less than eight hours (complete with a passable evocation of van Gogh's nervous brushwork), the picture practically "painted itself," Zdepski says. In fact, he is still a bit amazed by the success of the picture, which took a silver medal in the book and fiction category from the "On the Wall" judges.

"It seems," Zdepski says, "that this little frog has legs."

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