Que suis je?
Sounds of pounding
I hear constant ringing
Of phones buzzing
Que suis je?
Right into my soul…
Que suis je?
My face frozen
Much sterner than..Mona Lisa.
Que suis je?
With dark charcoal-honey eyes
Cheeky grin like that of fairies
Skin as rich as baked loamy soils
Que suis je?
In the daylight you would probably walk past me without a second glance. Quiet, unassuming, I don't reach from the wall to grab you by the hair and make you stop to admire me. Those that happen to take a weary pause beside me freeze in amazement, bewilderment and mild concern for the artist's sanity. By the light of day delicate watercolour washes hint at a calm, grandmotherly type, born old, and proud of it. You can just see careful sketch lines behind the trees, every branch painted with careful intention. Gentle dabs to create clouds, the essence of old timey elegance. In the fading light of dusk, as the lights are turned brighter, the watercolours disappear, like a girl throwing off her coat as she steps into the club. Neon splashes glow in the light, destroying the prude illusion. There’s a peace sign where the sun should be, but perched on top of it is a tiger with a bazooka. How you missed this in the daytime you cannot answer. There’s a barely legible pun scribbled under one of the equally barely visible watercolour clouds. It looks ridiculous, like it might have been added by a naughty younger sibling and simply gone unnoticed. Perhaps an epic banana pun is a commentary on some deeper theme in this bizarre piece, but you’re clearly not sharp enough to get it. You think you’ve seen everything, that you surely understand this…thing…that is so outlandish it cannot be art, yet somehow it has gone full circle and back to being art again, and then you spot the soup can, barely hanging onto the canvas. It must have been there the entire time, it must have, and again you wonder how you missed it, then how on Earth it’s related to anything else that’s there. Everyone that sees me remembers something different, some comment on the idyllic watercolour oceans and say I’ll bring back the watercolour craze. Others will burst out laughing and demand what you mean, when clearly, I’m a commentary on rebellion and the tragedy of war. Yet someone else will say that I represent coming of age and shedding childhood shackles as I explore the greatness of the world. No one ever agrees on just what I am, and that is what gives me life.
He Wasn’t Even White!
You were 6 years old the last time you saw me. You won‘t remember where, but you can try. Okay, I’ll tell you: it was in the hallway of your grandmother’s old house, the house with the one weird plywood wall, the one painted a vomitly pale green. You don’t remember the picture hanging on that wall because you never looked at me. I was boring. I was dark. And I was really just a blur, the whole hallway was. Your grandmother had a great big rickety wooden bed you would jump on, trying to touch the ceiling fan with your fingers, until the fan just about chopped them off, and you ran down the hall to your grandmother’s kitchen in your fuzzy socks, crying. This is the only time you ever saw me, the painting in the hall, because your grandmother took me down the next week, the same time she hauled the ceiling fan off to the dump. But if you ever looked closely, you would see I’m really just a cheap 16-inch reproduction of a some European artist’s European, blue-eyed Jesus, originally oil on wood, now printer ink on poster board. I really don‘t look much like the guy at all. But I remind you of him. And when you see me again in the back of a dusty thrift store, sandwiched between a Norman Rockwell and a crude watercolor dolphin done by someone‘s Aunt Terry, you’ll know me. When you see me in the little boy’s room room at the dentist’s office, you’ll know me. And when you see the real thing someday— not the version of me that’s hanging in the museum, no, not the original— the man himself, you’ll see him and you‘ll think, “Well, by George, the picture really look nothing like him at all, but I can see what they were going for!”
some paintings never make it to the museum
some paintings never even get out of the house
some artists are so good they will never finish
can never be satisfied by what becomes mediocre
the constant striving for true irrefutable brilliance
in the corridor of a museum of just trying
some painters stop and look at all the art
at the effortlessness or at how others try harder
some artists are turned away by other art
that is better than theirs or worse than theirs
some paintings become afraid they are a hobby
something fun that everyone else does too
something that will be replaced by a real job
a career in education or hospitality, something practical
what makes a painting special amongst other paintings
what makes a painting worthy of a museum
Behind the scenes
There are countless pieces of art gracing the museum's many rooms. There are brilliant sculptures, beautiful paintings, and let's not forget about the calming background music--there is, unquestionably, artistic talent in it as well. So many artists, so many pieces of art, so much life, talent, and inspiration into each one. Machinery, music, glasswork, relief sculpture, watercolor, batique, bronze, water features, laser light, furniture, and film, neo- contemporary art, bold expressions, timeless classics, revivals, raw talent, and that which is perfected through decades of training--all of it is beautiful in its own ways and for reasons far beyond that which is experienced merely through one's primary senses.
There is education and history represented within each. Each artist grew up and had dreams, goals, aspirations--some achieved, some dashed on life's unforgiving rocks in stormy seas. They have a history--not just the art, but the artists--which should not be overlooked, or under-considered. There's a heartache which helped shaped that curve. There's a joy which helped carry that brush stroke. There's a pivotal moment which inspired that song.
When I see a beautiful and efficient home or commercial building, I have an appreciation, not only for the dynamics of how the structure works for its purpose, but also for the construction of it, the genius behind its inception, and the congruence of its systems--the framing, electric, plumbing, lighting, foundation, roofing, and flooring; along with the intangibles, like view, flow, and "feel." I don't pay too much attention to decor. That's subjective, and I believe: to each his own. It's all art even though each respective ingredient is predominantly science.
For my life, I have been a better coach than player, a better teacher than student, a better choreographer than dancer. If I (and we) were all works of art in a museum, I believe, if I am most honest, I would be the walls. I would be the marble floors, the overhead lighting--I would hold up the other works of art and shine a light on them for people to view for their best representation of the efforts and sacrifices endured which made each piece what it is today. I would tell each piece of art, "Don't be afraid to put your artist on display--I believe, wholeheartedly, each piece is invaluable in its own ways; somebody is going to love you." I wouldn't submit to my own taste. I am the neutral background color to be purposefully unseen. I only hope to help present the others in a way which helps them be best truly seen. The rest is subjective.
No one visits the museum to see me, but they see me nonetheless, and they never forget me.
The gallery is filled with pieces more extraordinary than me, but they don't have my gravity. I have a haunting, unsettling, and unknowable pull.
In a building of beautiful art, everyone stops to look at me. They pause, hesitate, and I catch their breath. I steal a spot in their memories forever.
Curious souls look for nuanced meaning in my ordinarity, but they don't always find it.
Unsuspecting admirers fall in love, and it breaks their heart to leave me.
Narcissists question why I'm at the museum at all because I'm not very special.
I'm not the reason anyone comes here, but I'm a piece of art nonetheless.
But you'll never notice me.
A Process of Becoming; A Process of Unraveling
Scratches and words crossed out.
Roses with dew drops,
Blood on the thorns.
Deepest of shadows and brightest of Light.
Heavy details on the left,
Vague shapes scattered through.
But then there's still quite a bit of white canvas,
That she hasn't gotten to~
There's deep grooves where the scrapers went heavily.
There's some watercolor that got washed out.
But my favorites are the outlines and words in black ink, they clearly show what the artist thinks.
Lovely, mediocre, unfinished work~
Tracing in the Dark
I am a fine ribbon unravelled.
I follow the curves of a woman. Defining her sultry shape without revealing any real anatomy. There is only one silhouette that can beckon in the dark, a tenebristic sliver, delivering a lifetime of promises with a coastline of enticement, whilst flying at night and willing to cross borders.
Behind closed doors.
I am a fine ribbon of paintbrush bristles, dipped in unrequited inks. I spill over her shoulder, swell out a gentle arc at the periphery of her breast, then return to dip back in at her waist, a speckled hint of belly chain glittering here and there to solemnize her center of gravity. I flare wider then again at her hip--the true gift from God Almighty--only to dip back in again and fall to the floor.
She is beautiful because darkness makes the perfect airbrush. But it is the artist who succeeds in painting her inner beauty. Obscured in the shadows, but there for one who knows how to look. That's why it's art.