Arty schmarty

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It’s simple enough to create. Any fool can be an “artist,” can’t he? The world is full of artists.

What is art anyway – music, paints on canvas, aerosols on brick walls? Stamps? Smashing a rat on a canvas with a hunk of granite?

Back in 1990, I married an artist. At that time I had never met a “real” artist, and all of a sudden, for some reason, I wanted to be one. All her friends were artists, some in bands, others acting or painting. I longed to be accepted by these alien creatures.

So, I bought a few cans of aerosol paint and removed the legs from our kitchen table. I propped this “canvas” against the wall, sat down on our shag carpet, looked at it and prayed for inspiration. Where to start?

I did what I thought was a base colour first. Then a few swirls and blotches, a streak here and there. I thought it was quite good really. I had beautified the table!

When the artist came home and looked at my work, her intense gaze told me that my first attempt at public art had bombed. She didn’t laugh or cry – she simply said we had no table to eat on.

“But the table is right here,” I said.

“It’s ugly and smelly,” she replied.

I guess my art wasn’t real art like her friends’. My art was shit.

I took the table outside to the alley and leaned it against the dumpster.

The next morning, I rode my bike past the dumpster to get another look at my art. It was gone. The dumpster was still full, but my art was gone. Maybe it had become public art after all. Maybe someone, somewhere, is eating at a beautified table.

Spoke lives in Three Hills, Alberta.

Issue 9

This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 9, Spring 2008, Art in an Age of Brutality.

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Issue 9, Spring 2008

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