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attendance where Oldham and Sid bonded over a warning to not touch the punch. “‘It’s loaded with LSD,’ he told me. That’s how it was back then. You had to be careful. Our ’60s conversations were mostly, ‘Take a hit. Far out. Have another hit. Too much. What’s your sign?’” Through Oldham, Sid met the doomed Brian Jones who commissioned him to paint a portrait of himself with his girlfriend Linda Lawrence, mother of his son Julian. Sid recalls, “Brian loved collecting. He had tidbits here and there, and many photographs. He loved my baby picture from 1927! Unfortunately, the photo was old and not in great shape so I found an alternate (not of me) and embellished it with a little graphic concept with a tongue and lips penciled in, basically to reflect the Stones as they were: the bad boys of the era sticking their tongues out at authority, as opposed to the Beatles, who were considered more safe. He liked that image a lot and asked me to make a color drawing, which, unknown to me at the time, morphed somehow into the famous Rolling Stones tongue logo, which originated from my baby picture, of all things. I first offered the drawing to their record label, Decca, who were willing to give me a few hundred dollars for it but Brian liked it enough to pay me 500 British Sterling pounds, which was about $1500 back then. I thought nothing of it until years later. In 2013 I was commissioned to make shirts and other items in France featuring my original tongue painting. Sortly after they were placed on display in a Paris department store, they were seized by Musidor and taken off the shelves for Sid on the boat with Donovan, ‘trademark infringement.’ Greece, 1968 Without Brian around to tell the real story, the manufacturer had no choice but to comply.” The next thing Sid created for Brian was a portrait of the Stone and Linda. The photo Sid is holding (preceding page) became the basis for the initial small painting. “This shows how beautiful a guy he was,” said the artist. “I painted that picture somewhere along the line and tucked it away. After Brian died, Linda married my best friend, Donovan, and they became a family.” In 2013, by Linda’s request to honor the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones, Sid was commissioned to re-create the portrait on canvas from his initial painting done all those years ago. The final painting is exactly the same but on canvas. The new version now resides in Ireland with Linda. “I traveled all over with Donovan, and even accompanied he and Linda on their honeymoon. After one of his concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, Tommy Smothers threw a party for him. Hendrix, Janis, Morrison, Mama Cass, and a new kid on the block who didn’t even have a record out — Elton John — were all there. Many of the people I met became casualties, but Don did not. He was always very careful where he hung out and didn’t do drugs. After he made some money, he asked me to invest it for him so I put it in a bank in the Bahamas that I found out was ready to go under a year later. Somehow, I managed to salvage the dough and we bought a boat and took it to Greece with a crew of 12 and three hippies — me, Don and a friend. We landed at the Island of Hydras, to visit Leonard Cohen, who had a house up on a hill, accessible only by donkey.” 9 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2014

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long way from The Bronx, where Sid was born and raised when “the streets were black from horseshit, not asphalt. I was going to attend Taft (high school) but somewhere along the line a typographer friend of my family saw some of my work and suggested that I would be more suited to attend The School of Industrial Art on Jones Street in the Village. There were two teachers there, one for art, the other for academics and it was great, kind of like being an apprentice in the Renaissance. In the morning, we’d find our teacher on the stoop recovering from the night before and the first who arrived was designated to get him coffee. One of my classmates was Anthony Benedetto, better known as Tony Bennett, singer and artist. Anthony Benedetto is the name the signs his paintings with. I wrote the class theme song and conducted our band. After graduation, I worked for Columbia Records in the art department. Their office was then in Bridgeport, Connecticut and I made the commute every day via the elevated Jerome Ave. line, bus crosstown to Grand Central and then a train ride. I was drafted, injured and sent taken home. After the war and I was OK, I started knocking on doors of record companies and was hired by Decca.”

Sidney Maurer album design for Donovan’s Barabajagal

During the late ’50s and early ’60s, Sid frequented the fabled Cedar Tavern where he met artists such as Rauschenberg, Johns, and Larry Rivers in their salad days and witnessed the zaniness of that particular scene. “Every night they would knock each other to the floor, fueled by alcohol. This was just before grass became mainstream in the mid ’60s and in those days I would run into Dylan, Joni Mitchell and many others in small clubs in Greenwich Village. That’s where I became especially close to music. My whole life as an artist has been fueled by my love of music.” Sid’s career in the art and music field flourished in New York City where among his friends were Alan Klein (the businessman who helped form Apple Records for the Beatles and managed the Rolling Stones) and Bob Guccione. “He came to my exhibit at the Beilin Gallery on Madison Avenue, liked my stuff and asked me to show him a few things. I also met him in London. He was a slick guy, loved the girls and very handsome. I painted his portrait and helped him style the girls for photo shoots. He had his own penthouse, the girls were there and that was his life. We hung out,” Sid continued, “and I began to write chapters — not a book — about El Sid The Kid.”

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