“Manners always will out. Jack Lemmon proved to be a perfect gentleman while waiting and sitting patiently for his portrait, I couldn’t ask for anyone better … Jack was comfortable, helpful, kind, a revelation compared to celebrities with their fifteen minutes of fame.”
So reveals Los Angeles’ ace portraitist Mark Viera.
And let’s not overlook the celebrities’ diva attitudes. We’re including guys here, too.
“Danny Glover fell asleep in the midst of our photo session. Grace Jones turned out to be a fun character. Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow were wonderful. As was San Francisco’s popular cabaret artist Peter Minutun.
“Although Rosie O’Donnell was … umm, not very nice. Testy and unhappy … she had lost my studio’s address, and took it out on our staff.”
Mark, 60, comes to us with a sterling silver legacy, having apprenticed with “le maitre,” the famous George Hurrell.
A Cincinnati-born visionary, George Hurell revolutionized the chiaroscuro style of portraiture with the glamour girls and slick dudes during his Hollywood heyday of the thirties and forties.
Hurrell’s rapturous portraits include Jean Harlow, Garbo, Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, known to joke about her “catch me, pluck me shoes.” Dozens and dozens more!
No secret, says Mark, that George l-o-o-o-v-e-d “les girls.”
We owe a debt of gratitude to interior designer Leonard Stanley, who informed us of Mark’s inspired talent and remarkable experience and career with “le maitre.”
A Bay Area boyhood ultimately led Mark to Southern California with its movie studios. Notably M-G-M where Dorie Freeman hired Mark as an assistant in the movie stills department. Did it take long for Mark to wallow in the steep film still files at M-G-M? No.
Over time, Mark’s passion for the photographic artistry of Hurell led to the creation of fifteen handsome titles that are now collectors’ choices. Classics the likes of Hurrell’s Hollywood Portraits, George Hurrell’s Hollywood Portraits, plus others.
Mark’s latest, Into the Dark: The Hidden World of Film Noir 1941-1950, is a gem. A stunning rendezvous with the Who and the Who in fim noir. Ava Gardner and Burt Lancaster in a scene from The Killers graces the cover. A teaser for the heady bounty of busty blondes and shadowy Johnnies within. Into The Dark serves as an ideal gift for the holidays – or whenever – for cineastes who will want to gift other cineastes, who then will gift other cineaste chums, and on and on.
Hey, why not a more personal gift created by Maestro Mark. A portrait of your own. Or of your famiy, pets, etc.
Mark promises his prices are “surprisingly reasonable.”
About his portraits, he says, “I look at the client’s face, and instinctively find the best angle and best pose. I next create the best lighting. For cheeks to glow and eyes to sparkle. Highlighting the hair, of course. I’m always warm and reassuring to settle the client in a relaxed mood.” Shall we mention Mark is as good as it gets with retouching!
Mark Viera’s Starliight Studio awaits in midtown Los Angeles. His phone number is 213-383-2448.
On another note, Washingtonian insider Stephan Gerhardt reports that the leading hotels in our nation’s capitol haven’t lost time in jacking up room rates for the January 20 presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. Four day minimum with top fees surfacing around $1,899 for a deluxe king room. Many of the hotels are sold out.
Meanwhile, ABC news anchor George Stephanopoulos and wife Ali vowed they are moving to Australia with their two offspring if their candidate didn’t win.
Will George now give up his multi-million dollar contract with ABC? Have he and Ali booked passage?