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.