Spider Webb
performance artist and impersonator

I knew Quentin for almost twenty years, but it was the last five or six years that we spent a lot of time together and our friendship really grew. When a few years back I needed a model to sit for a portrait of Dorian Gray, I thought to myself, Aha! Dorian Gray and who better suited? (Furthermore, I knew Quentin wouldn’t say no.) He was the perfect Dorian Gray. I wanted to capture the look in his eyes; more than that, it was his soul that showed through his eyes. Since that first sitting, I went on to do more than 500 portraits of Quentin. I knew I wasn’t obsessed, I was possessed.

Oftentimes, when Quentin sat for me, he would take a nap during the sittings. I have saved every pillow that Quentin ever slept on. Why? I remember my nephew Billy, who at the age of four, forbade his mother from throwing out his ratty, old pillow because, as he told his mother, all his dreams were in there. When I told Quentin this story, he exclaimed, "Wonderful! Oh that’s lovely. That’s marvelous."

I painted Quentin’s pillows as a reminder to myself to keep his dreams alive.

Copyright © 2000 by Spider Webb and Estate of Quentin Crisp. All rights reserved.
Photograph copyright © by Martin Fishman; painted by Spider Webb.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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