It's been rainy, so I'm not out. It's kind of nice to have the excuse to have the day off, plus I gotta re-build my rickshaw since the original is made out of cardboard & it is currently 'out of service'.
My boyfriend is helping me (really pretty much building it for me) & we've got a pile of wood and bolts set aside to build one that will hopefully last much longer.
The last day I was out these folks walked by and a woman caught her eye on a piece and said, "Oh, that's like me when I'm worried.." She seemed taken by it, but there's plenty to see in the French Quarter & so they walked on.
A block down her husband turned around and ran back. Quickly & quietly he bought it for her and very covertly we put it in his bag. They strolled back by about a half hour later and the women looked for the piece.
I caught on and got up and acted like I wasn't sure which one and then said reluctantly, "oh..that one is gone.."
It was hard to keep it up because she looked so disappointed, but her husband was trying to hide this wild grin and it made me want to be there later on when he surprised her with it.
I think about things like this...that I wouldn't have gotten to see this part of the exchange if I were selling through a gallery. As useful as paying the rent is, it's just as much a necessity of living to see demonstrations of love & care. She initially identified with it as herself worrying, for me, him buying this painting for her said, "I love you, and I'm with you- even when you're worrying."
I didn't get their info because of how 'sly' we were being to surprise her, but hopefully they will contact me & I can thank them for sharing the moment with me.
Another pleasant random act of kindness was Richard, a friend from around the Quarter, who appeared with tiny cupcakes.
Today was a long meandering day that encapsulates the absurdity & randomness & contradiction of such an occupation. Maybe I got a whole 2 or 3 hours of sleep, after I
Yes, thats a Bose Cinemate series II
drunkenly went to Kinkos in the AM to make prints (I don't recommend doing this.) I wanted to try getting that prime real estate on the front of the fence & I wanted to bring out some bigger paintings.
A friend had given me this hook up with wheels for the back of my bike, so I found a big cardboard box & jimmy rigged it into a make-shift rikshaw. I believe this is referred to as 'Cajun engineering'. I was damn proud of my construction and it got me to the quarter with plenty of paintings around 7 AM.
On the ride I FOUND a canvas, resting by itself on a street lamp. Ground score! The world is workin with me!
Unfortunately I didn't get a front spot & pirates ally was already filling up, but I heard the front was already claimed around 4 am, so at least I got a little bit of needed sleep.
Mostly the day consists of sitting, and finding alternate methods of keeping oneself stimulated. Usually I bring books & drawing materials, fetch coffee & smoke a lot of cigarettes. Watching the world jostle around me. Often enough I get to witness some truly random shit, like this:
People seemed really over-stimulated by French Quarter Fest so by the time they came by me they couldn't focus well. I also got a lot of people that didn't seem to 'get' my work at all...one women stopped, asked if I took commisions & when I said, "Maybe, it depends what the image is." said, "Can you paint a picture of my dog?" Geez...I've got a whole fence convered in paintings of people, no, I do not want to paint your pet portrait. I also decided I'm going to start writing down the best little bits of eavesdropping. For April 12th they were...(dun dun dun)
"...Yeah, I got him a picture of Lafittes...after The Katrina..."
"And I watched, I mean, I saw the guy doing it! On You Tube! It was amazing! He has this spray paint...and the picture just formed everything..like the twin towers and..."
I got traumatized while walking to the Bourbon Orleans to use their bathroom. A silver guy screamed some compliment to me, followed by something about licking my thighs, ugh, I do not need such menatl imagery & hollered back that there's some thoughts better kept to oneself. Finally at the only bathroom the bourbon orleans has not effectly key-card locked I got trapped behind a bachlorette party. They giggled like a flock of hens while performing for themselves with a 2 ft inflatible penis (with a face nonetheless) in the bathroom mirrors, while I blinked trying to stay awake & eager to get back to my spot.
All day long, and this has been happening a lot lately, people side stepped all my other work to ask about this cluster of 4 paintings of the same girl:
Everyone wants a fascinating story about the mystery girl...why..oh why would I paint her 4 times if she didn't have some extrodinary signifigance? Well, actually I've painted her about 7 times...and I don't know who she is.
I was doing it for a technical study to see how one flesh palette would contrast against differently colored grounds. I learned that my answer was: Not very much. It took me a long time doing all these studies & was mostly pretty frustrating. If you're gonna paint from reference don't use a dual light source. That is was this image means to me.
Finally, a little while before I was about to pack it up, some really vibrant sweet folks stopped. They got a little cigarette box picture book and somehow made me more enlivened by their presence. Tim & Kathy, who pilgrim down here every french Quarter fest also came by, like an island of sanity, a relief from the parade of huge-ass-beer swillers and non-stop tourists who treat me like a convenient information office, asking,
"Is this the St. Louis Cathedral?" and "Where is Bourbon street?" They went home with this piece, that I think is really beautiful, and some others.
Somehow I managed to pack it up and get to R Bar to hit the last crawfish boil of the day. I rolled up particlarly self-satisfied with my carboard rik-shaw & parked it on the side. I met a remarkable young man (and so i remark on it) who told me that he paints too..and I don't know had some kind of natural politeness, some kind of grace in his character that I much admired. He asked to see my work but it was all packed up & the only one I had easy access to were...the dreaded 4 paintings of the girl that everyone gets stuck up on. I pulled them out and as he was looking at them, someone came over & said,
"Who is that girl?"
"I don't know," He shrugged, "I just like it."
I can't say how sleep deprived my joy was to hear that! I wanted him to have it. He asked how much they were...$400 for all 4, or 200 a piece...but hell, Whats really the point of all this!?!?
I asked him to do whatever he could, so he gave me $20 and a high life. And now he's got this piece:
But really, he gave me far more! He broke the pattern for me!!!! God, I can not speak my relief...because I was about to take these home & give them bizarre facial tattoos..just so that people might stop asking me for the back story. It's a painting. Look at it. Live with it.