The story of a relentless dreamer

Paul Cortese was born in Italy, otherwise poetically called Bel Paese, but the exact date is unknown. He lost his identity in the flames of a fire. He was raised by his mother, a seamstress, without knowing anything about his father. He had a humble but peaceful childhood.
To earn a living he used to exploit his intelligence to play cards and his charm to convince rich women and noble men to allow him to paint their portraits.

Paul was tall with piercing blue eyes; he had a deep look and hard features. After a few years of being a slave to his vices (he used to drink but was never drunk, he smoked a lot and gambled, but with the class of a good loser) he decided to change life.

In 1929 he left Italy and went to New York. He arrived by ship in autumn, without any money and America was just starting to go through the worst economic recession ever. He lived in the outskirts, near the port, in the houses of the men and women he met on his tormented nights. Paul had a dream: he wanted to become important; he needed to earn money quickly.
He was strongly attracted by the sea and the characters that revolved around it. He was fascinated by the tattoos on the sailors’ bodies and was particularly interested in this form of art. He was told to contact an old mercenary captain who had learnt this type of art on the Mexican coasts on one of his journeys. Without hesitating, Paul went to meet the captain. He quickly learnt all the secrets of this art and started to tattoo both men and women.

Paul was unique, refined, unpredictable and evasive; he loved women and men loved him. Women used to go after him and do crazy things for him. Men respected and feared Paul and at the same time they were fascinated by him.

A fire burnt inside Paul, he couldn’t settle in one place. He just kept moving on. Some people were jealous of his ability to love deeply and totally; those who knew him well said that he was a big hearted man. He used the fortune he accumulated to help his family and friends; he also helped hospitals and care homes in Italy, when it was on its knees due to the economic crisis, and in America. He did everything without expecting to be thanked. After his troubled childhood it was natural for him to help those less fortunate in life, without seeking praise or recognition. When he left New York, all his old flames were in floods of tears. He moved to Dallas and shortly after to Honolulu.

After a while he seemed to disappear; some people swore that they saw him California, Australia, and France, in his beloved Italy…wherever he may be, still today, everyone remembers his words: BE A DREAMER, only if you dream your wishes will come true.