Sally can look at my work and identify layers of color. She notes detail. I don’t always remember how I lay down paint. Sally will know. Ruben talks about art, the way art students talk about art, in art school. He responds fully.
When Sally first saw my work she seemed to really appreciate the form: color, size, surface, texture, and various other elements. She chose four works right away (one drawing was a birthday gift for Ruben). They were in museum matting, suited for exhibition, and she wanted something with more character. She took them from my studio, to the framer for re framing, and had them hanging in her home in no time.
Ruben on the other hand, notes a particular work and returns to see it a number of times. He responds to content, usually while drinking wine. He asks questions, he laughs, he points out, he comments, he sits and stares. He relates and he shares. The dialogue with Ruben is amusing and important to me, as an artist. The conversation is mostly honest and open.
Sally is a nurse at the heart hospital. I met her in yoga practice. Ruben is a cardiologist. I got to know him after his birthday gift was handed to him. They are married. And although they both appreciate my work, they do so in very different ways. Sally has bought my work and hung it in her home. She carefully considers color and placement. Ruben has bought my work and has surrounded himself with it, in his office. He lets it poke at his mind. Between the two of them they have bought most of my series concerning the deadly sins. The work consists of drawings and painting titled “The World Stage, a play in finite acts.” It depicts the four cardinal virtues and the seven deadly sins. They were drawn to the sins… at least five of them anyway.
Bryn, Sally’s daughter, upon seeing the exhibit @Central Gallery mentioned Gluttony had caught her attention. Do you know why, I asked. And she said… because sometimes I feel this way, I have so much and I still want more. I just want. I don’t know why. She sighed and looked perplexed. I smiled. It was a sincere and appropriate response. Sally bought Bryn the drawing.
One evening Ruben came to my home and asked me to paint a work for him. Paint a painting for you? Yes, I want a painting, for and about me. I probably laughed. He was serious. Ruben is a complex human being, making a painting for him about him, could be fun, I thought. He wanted two particular things in the composition and he asked it be a certain height and width. He wanted it to fit in a particular spot across from his desk. I agreed to do it. Why? Because he is honest, he is direct and he has passion. And he has humor. I relate.
He dropped in a few times as the month passed, Is it ready? Can I see it? No, it’s not ready. And don’t go back there to look, I said, as he was heading towards my studio table. He stopped and came back. When the work was complete I phoned him. Sally and I went to his office and we hung the work. Actually we re-hung the whole office.
The most recent work Ruben purchased, this last year, is titled “Hollow Man.” It’s a graphite and Prisma drawing on paper, that explores the heavier emotions of a person. It is not really a part of a larger series, it stands alone. It is just a contemplation about the complexities of being human.
He seemed bothered by it, or perhaps excited. I couldn’t tell.
Why? Why did you do this? Because, I wanted to, I said. But why? Why can you do this? Why can I do this? Good question. Very good question, in fact.
Why do I make art? Why can I make art? Why can I communicate things someone else might be uncomfortable communicating. Ruben had been looking at the drawing for some time. Finally, this particular evening, he decided to take it home. I want it, he said. He left my studio with an artwork in tow. And what he left with me, was some very good insight to consider. Valuable. Every artist should be so lucky.
Why do I do this? Why can I do this? Because I can. Because I do. I am an artist.