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Ezra Croft holds a painting and needlepoint art of Nicolas Cage at his home in Fairfield, Friday. Croft is hosting a Nicolas Cage art exhibit at the Balacoire in San Francisco on April 12. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

Solano County

In the Nic of time: Art show offers homage to actor

By From page A1 | April 12, 2014

FAIRFIELD — It could be an idea whose time has come.

After all, the subject of this vision has an Oscar and some MTV moon men. An Elvis fan, he wed the King’s only child, daughter Lisa Marie Presley.

He reportedly suggested a scene for his newest flick, “Joe,” where he would play the pan flute, sans clothing.

These facts are not wasted on Ezra Croft, a 35-year-old Fairfield resident who has organized the Nicolas Cage Art Show and Shenanigans, a one-night event Saturday in San Francisco’s Mission district.

Croft said he believes it’s the first art show dedicated to the actor. It attracted national media coverage from Time magazine and the Huffington Post.

The idea for such a show, which should include works from around the globe, came to Croft one night when doing inventory at Vacaville’s Bed, Bath & Beyond store, where he works.

The original plan was to display a few pieces in a coffee shop. Croft put an ad on Craigslist and Nicolas Cage artists, including one woman who did two needlepoint pictures of the actor, responded to the tune of almost 85 pieces.

“Social media had the biggest hand in this,” said Croft. (There’s a page on Reddit dedicated to Cage being the one true god.)

Croft’s thoughts about Cage are neutral. He praises the actor for his portrayal of H.I. McDunnough, an ex-con who marries an ex-cop in 1987’s “Raising Arizona.” He’s less enthusiastic about some of Cage’s recent film roles, such as 2012’s “Stolen.”

He’s most impressed with Cage’s catalog, which Croft calls “gargantulen.” In the past 33 years, Cage has made at least one film every year except 1985 and 1991.

Why the show?

“It’s such a random thing to do,” Croft said. “It’s more off tangent.”

It’s also a great way to run with something and see how it goes, he said. He’s exploring the idea of taking the show to Los Angeles and New York.

Julia Croft, Ezra’s wife, wasn’t sure about the Nicolas Cage art party at first. Once she started to see the artwork being submitted, she knew her husband was on to something. Cage is portrayed as everything from St. Francis of Assisi to a shark.

Croft is wrapping up his own painting for the exhibit. It’s the actor done a la “My Little Pony.”

“It’s been a visual roller coaster,” Croft said of the artwork. “I never know what I’ll see next.”

Those who attend the show have the opportunity to see Cages Through the Ages, a series of lip glosses from Shiro Cosmetics that feature Cage’s face on everything from a flapper’s body to one with disco clothes from the 1970s.

Caitlin Johnstone, who runs Shiro Cosmetics, will travel from Oregon for the event. She asked her online customers in 2012 to choose a color of the month, which she would create. Someone submitted “Nicolas Cage raking leaves on a brisk October afternoon.” Her customers chose it and the story went viral.

“I found so much success with it,” Johnstone said. “I decided to follow it with lip glosses.”

The line was introduced on Cage’s 50th birthday in January.

Vallejoan Kara McNary is one of the artists who will have her work showcased. It’s a side view sketch of the actor, wearing a red shirt.

“Portraits are my favorite thing to do, so I just looked for a picture that interested me,” McNary wrote in an email. “I was drawn to his profile. I wanted to make it a graphic tribute to him and his most well-known movies. It was a lot of fun to do.”

She felt she had to be part of the show. A few years ago, a friend introduced her to Cage’s movie “Face Off.” She loved it.

“It was some of the most fun I’d had watching a movie,” McNary wrote. “Cage’s acting went to 11.”

His films have become a go-to when McNary needs cheering up.

“He’s that fun,”she said.

McNary said she likes the idea that the show is open to all. Croft said he had only rejected on piece.

“There’s no exclusivity, no snobbery. It’s all in the spirit of fun,” McNary wrote.

Not all of the artists are Cage fans. One woman told him she was submitting a picture of the actor done in a Last Supper theme and noted, “I really hate this man enough to paint him 12 times over.”

The event’s Facebook page has more than 1,000 RSVPs. Tickets have been purchased in various cities across the country, from Salt Lake City to Baltimore.

Hopefully all don’t arrive at the same time. The venue holds about 450 and Croft plans on using every inch of display space for art.

Croft has reached out to Cage’s management team.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” he said of the actor dropping by.

“I hope he shows up in full beard,” Julia Croft said.

More details can be found at nicolascageisgod.com.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

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