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April 22, 2005


John King (Jan Kral) and Antonin Votova
                          on Charles Bridge
A Meeting of the Mimes: John F King and Antonin Votova

I've always been attracted to eccentrics. At first they seem so out of step and you might want to pity them, but stick around long enough and you see their wisdom in laughing at social conventions. Central Park in New York City had its Poet-O; Prague's Charles Bridge has Antonin Votova, who tells me he's been selling paintings on the bridge uninterrupted for thirty years. He's a man with staying power, weathered (literally) the transition from communist to capitalist and continues to bust out a living selling bucolic watercolors and peculiar self-portraits with devil horns (an approximation of which he wears over his sun visor). He's not crazy. He charged me 20kC to take this picture--enough for a bottle of beer or a long skinny meat sandwich. If you're ever in Prague, seek him out and support this unique community fixture.