Morris Katz has been listed twice in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the the world's fastest artist and as the most prolific artist, having painted and sold more than 250,000 canvases in a career spanning more than half a century. By his own admission, the author of the 1985 book Paint Good and Fast prefers to sell his work "cheap and often." He has a studio/gallery on Rehov Mesilat Yesharim near the Mahaneh Yehuda market, and a second studio on West 29th Street in Manhattan - a few kilometers from Greenwich Village where he was born. Over Succot, Katz put on a virtuoso display of his palette knife and crushed wad of toilet paper technique in Safra Square's candy succa, to the delight of the many children present. In less than four minutes, the 75-year-old maestro of "maher, maher" (Hebrew for double-time fast) churned out a striking depiction of Rachel's Tomb, all the while quipping, "This is going to be worth millions of dollars." He then donated the canvas to the municipality. "I have been demonstrating my 'instant art' technique before enthusiastic audiences worldwide for over 50 years. I have been listed twice in the Guinness Book of World Records - once for being the fastest artist in the world and second for painting more paintings than any other artist alive or dead. I beat out Picasso in the 1990s." Painting with a hand-held microphone tucked inside his elbow, Katz kept up a running shtick in Hebrew, Yiddish and English while applying and smearing acrylic paint in his inimitable "impressionistic realist" style. At four minutes, the Rachel's Tomb painting was far from Katz's speed record. Among the highlights - or oddities - of Katz's speedball career, on October 16, 1985, he painted a 16 X 25 inch canvas of a skier at the Limelight Nightclub in Chicago in 43 seconds. Conversely, on July 15, 1987, he painted for 12 consecutive hours at New York City's then-Penta Hotel (now Hotel Pennsylvania) completing 103 paintings, 55 of which he sold on the spot. The proceeds were donated to the Boy Scouts of America. How much is a Katz painting worth? According to, his works range between $700 and $900. And for $100, the artist will provide a signed certificate of approximate value, two signed 8"x10" paintings and a two-hour video. For all his comic banter, Katz is a serious artist. Schooled in the Old Masters technique of glazing, his portraits of figures such as Pope Paul VI or former US president Ronald Reagan are almost photograph-like in their realism. But in 1956 Katz largely abandoned the paint brush for the much faster and more impressionistic palette knife. He adds details like tree leaves by daubing with toilet paper. Katz is also a book illustrator. His current project, The Greedy Rich Man by Ramat Gan children's book author Shmuel Olitzky, is due to be published at the end of the year. But more than a painter, Katz is a performance artist, shtick-meister. "I am not only fun to watch, I'm fun to listen to! I like to talk and tell jokes while I paint, drawing on an enormous wealth of life experiences."

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