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August 28 2014

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At DVF: From Wall Street To Walken

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Visitors to the New York Stock Exchange probably wouldn’t assume that, among the horde of red-faced traders on the floor, there was an aspiring painter or two. Well, consider John W. Codling, and think again. Codling didn’t work on the trading floor itself, but as the head of his own institutional brokerage, he had front-row seats to the last year’s financial meltdown. “When you work on Wall Street, you’re used to a certain level of intensity,” Codling says. “But after the crash, I mean, that was a whole other level. And it wasn’t like you could go home and zone out watching TV, because everyone on television was talking about the economy.” As a means of therapy, Codling turned to art—a pastime he had last indulged back in grade school.

For reasons that are a little obscure, even to him, he began painting images of Christopher Walken, and tonight, he opens Sundays With Chris, a show of that work, at Diane von Furstenberg’s gallery on West 14th Street. “He’s just an amazing character,” Codling said, when pressed on his choice of subject. “Christopher Walken could read a brownie recipe and it would be entertaining. If I’d been painting trees, I wouldn’t have gotten as much out of it.” All told, Codling has painted 57 Walken images—which averages out to about a canvas a week since the fall of Lehman Brothers. Sales of the paintings will benefit Team Continuum, a nonprofit organization assisting cancer patients and their families. In other words, painting is not yet Codling’s full-time job. “Nah, I’m still working on Wall Street,” he says. “I’ve got no big plans to become a starving artist.” The show opens to the public tomorrow.

John W. Codling: Sundays With Chris at DVF Gallery, 440 West 14th St., NYC, October 23 to November 1

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Dept. of Culture