Picture The Hamptons in your minds eye. Conjure up every possible fantasy of lavish extravagance and overindulgence and you'll be right on the money .... thick gangster wads of money .... greenbacks lining non-descript briefcases, locked and chained to sturdy, muscular wrists powered by a billion deal-making handshakes.
Welcome to The Hamptons: the playground of the uber-wealthy, the super-elite. Just renting a summer beach house requires a casino robbery of Daniel Ocean proportions. How does $395,000 sound? That's right, just to RENT a beach house and only for a SINGLE summer. Oh, and that would be one of the smaller estates. Supreme manors rent for around $900,000 for 3 months.
With that in mind, it won't surprise you to hear that I spent Independence Day sipping icy mojitos beside a private pool before cruising the coast in my mate's Maserati. Despite our top speed hitting 100 miles an hour, (good old radar detectors, eh?), we slowed down long enough at a set of Bridgehampton lights to allow Batman (Christian Bale) a decent squizz at our car. Pure auto sleeze. We drooled over his shiny red Ferrari as he gave our silver bullet a long once-over (Celebrity sighting #10 - tick).
And the beaches .... let me tell you, I was in heaven! I now understand how real New Yorkers can live in this crazy city without going insane. Give me every summer sifting pure white sand through my toes as the sun sets over a rose-flushed horizon and I'll gladly give up my Aussie status. Beach bars pump tunes across the waves and topless, tanned torsos bump and grind amongst flocks of sequined bikinis. But you've gotta be one of them. Exclusive beach clubs ringed with invitation-only golf courses segregate private estates. Finding beach access becomes a meticulous treasure hunt. Add to that the $200 parking pass and you know you've reached the Pearly Gates once your feet hit the waves.
String a red velvet rope across a dingy doorway in Manhattan and you'll have a line of wanna-be's desperate to get inside. Perhaps that is the pull of The Hamptons? Australia boasts stunning beaches to rival this meager Long Island Peninsula, yet the Aussie lifestyle achieves a balance to neutralize the novelty of a perfect beach. Immerse yourself in Manhattan's overbearing, dirty, noisy, crowded stench for long enough, and you too will find pure, incontestable heaven in a colourful stretch of sand at the brink of a frozen ocean.
Acrylic on canvas with polyurethane varnish
Southampton Summer (2014)
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This artwork is sold by Penny Cannan from Australia