August 9th, 2009

(no subject)

I come across a large insect struggling on the sidewalk, about an inch long, maybe a bit bigger. It's a cockroach, and two of it's back legs are smashed. It's a hot, muggy August night and the creature must have wandered out from the safety of the cozy drain it's been living in for the past decade, only to be partially mashed by an errant shoe or bicycle tire. The thing is trying to maneuver itself, struggling over and over to move it's oozing legs and walk, but it makes no progress, and it's antennae twirl in agitation. I watch it for a moment and I wonder if it is in pain? If it is afraid? I know it can't have long to live in its condition, smashed up like it is. It must have a nervous system. Of course it does. Of course it has some sense of distress. So that's it, down comes my shoe and I smash it as hard and solid as I can. There, it's done.

I look up and see that I am near a ritzy club with all sorts of slinky girls hanging around outside the entrance. They wear satin hot pants and silky dresses paired with high high heels, and I feel so different from them. Gold Diggers; they're the future Wives of America, the future Mothers of America, laughing loudly as they're gently petted, prodded and shepherded around by their boyfriends.

And I'm the cockroach mercy killer.

My lungs are in pain tonight and I'm not so sure this bronchitis is going to go away on it's own after all. Monday I will go see a doctor if my condition has not improved; walking Pneumonia is not something I want to deal with.

Guns and Butter

Back in 2002 I did a series of paintings called "Guns and Butter". They were plain color fields with stenciled objects spray painted on them; the stencils were of things that are glamorous yet bad for us; specifically, guns, wedding cakes, and my old '68 Dodge Polara. It was a pretty nice series, and I had a couple pieces sell.

Pink Magnum was bought by a girl who's father had killed himself with a magnum handgun. She called me up and asked to meet with me at the cafe where I was showing, and we spoke over coffee. When I found out why she was buying my piece I felt awful. I didn't want for her to be reminded of the loss of her father every time she looked at my painting.

But in those days I was desperately poor. So I took the $100 and handed over the painting.

The second painting from that series sold six months later when I showed my work at Around the Coyote. I'd been positioned in a horrible stairwell in a studio about half a mile from the epicenter of the festival, and very few people wandered by to see my work. Generally they were just kids out getting drunk or people who wanted to do something "cultural" but who had no real intention of buying any art. I sat on the hard steps of the stairwell the entire weekend, and endured the awful behavior of the women who's studio it was. They had a tendency to bully in a passive-aggressive way, and in order to keep the peace I'd had to go spend $40 I didn't have on wine and cheese. But I think the real reason they were so mean to me was because I actually sold a piece, and despite all their art degrees, I don't think they did.

A charismatic middle aged woman with a small entourage of family and friends came through on Saturday afternoon and she was immediately taken by Pink Cake. I don't remember if she actually bought it on the spot or if she came back for it the next day, but I do remember that after she made the purchase her son came up to me. "I don't think you know who my mother is," he told me. "She's a big collector. The fact that she bought one of your pieces makes me think I should, too." He told me about how his mother had either helped to found the Intuitive art movement or if she was just a massive supporter of it. In any case, she was apparently a Big Deal.

The part of this story that kills me - well, there are actually TWO parts of this story that kill me - Number One is that I lost the check she gave me for the piece, and Number Two is that I never had a chance to photograph the painting before I handed it over to her.

Two years later I actually found the check she'd written out to me, but rather than cash it or save it or even bother to write down her name, I destroyed it, feeling that it would be rude to cash a check so long after it was written. If only I could go back in time and stop myself from shredding it - I could have at least saved it as a souvenir. But all that's in the past now. Abegetan.