Biography


               N.S. David sees unicorns on Main Street and leprechauns on Hill – N.S. David realizes she’s just a little bit delusional. This is why she paints, this is why she photographs; she harbors the hope that she can prove to her brethren that fairytales are more than just stories – she wishes to make her delusions real.
               Born 26 years ago, N.S. David has never formally pursued art outside of the midnight hour of her home. Currently, she is tumbleweeding through the vastness of Los Angeles, fully employed as a student of its vibgyoric whimsy.














Exhibitions:

2012                To Look Through My Eyes, Group Show, Flower Pepper Gallery, Pasadena, CA
2012                Lo-Cal, Group Show, C.A.V.E. Gallery, Venice, CA
2012                Picks of the Harvest, Group Show, Thinkspace, Los Angeles, CA
2012                Art On The Move, OAC group show, White Walls, San Francisco, CA
2011                Beyond Eden, Multi-gallery grouop show, LA Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2011                LAX/PDX, Group Show, Together Gallery, Portland, OR
2010                Beyond Eden, Multi-gallery grouop show, LA Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2010                Group Show, Downtown Dialect, Los Angeles, CA
2010                Cannibal Flower March Show, Featured Artist, New Puppy, Los Angeles, CA
2010                Give Me Space To Think, Group Show, Sherman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2010                Paper Magazine: WE LOVE ART!, Montablan, Los Angeles, CA
2009                Cannibal Flower 9 Year Anniversary, Group Show, Los Angeles, CA
2009                In the Garden of Earthly Delights, Group Show, Daydream Republic, Los Angeles, CA
2009                Transcend. I. Omatic Method, Group Show, World Gallery, Costa Mesa, CA
2008                In Her Image, Group Show, Melrose Lightspace Gallery, Hollywood, CA
2007                Deck the Walls, Group Show, Satsuma Gallery, NoHo, CA
2007                Sky-stitches, The Electric Pen Gallery, NoHo, CA
2006                Windowside Lore, Borders, Glendale, CA
2006                I Am A Love Story, Coffee Club, Pasadena, CA


Upcoming:

September 2013: Untitled, Thinkspace, Culver City






[back]

Paintings

click on thumbnails for full image


[2012]


Watercolour


"there's no waiting for us"
SOLD

"I was once a boy."
SOLD


"Irish Singer Scottish Puerto-
Rican Mexican Black"
SOLD

"in the worst years
of our madness"

"Untitled"
SOLD


"Black White
Beast"




[2011]


Watercolour



"carried on fog exorcised
out the lips"

"Le Premier Homme;
L'Homme Révolté"

"Hard like winter;
wet like rain"


"deep roots are not
reached by the forst"

"Nameless (or, forever a
stranger to myself)"

"Seaing (or, ageless and
broken up by salt)"




[2010]


Watercolour




"the love of men was like
this; a will and not a grace"

"life is no way to
treat an animal" SOLD

"a talent for
alchemy"

"we're all just following the
light of long dead stars"


"I leave Sisyphus at the
foot of the mountain!"




[2009]


Mixed Media




"Little Prince, revolt!"


Our sin/Our soul.




Watercolour




"language as navigation"  SOLD


where it's safe to undress


"the human season" SOLD


"this can't be how it ends" SOLD
 




[2007-2008]


Watercolour



"fame"


"this is why"


"In Retrograde"


"I Am An Aviary"


"Body. Hair."


"a northeast tradewind"


"whooping cranes"


"Letters and Seasalt"


"Sunspots and Stamen"


"Meet Me In Wisconsin"


"a room in the springtime"


"just this one night" SOLD


"prisms on your eyelashes"  SOLD


"head south for winter"


"how we are living things"




Mixed Media



"self-stitching"


"skyfalling"


"steppenwolf" SOLD


"Maps"


"Mating Season" 




Oil



"aerial tarantellas"


 

[back]



© 2007 N.S. David. All rights reserved.

Illustrations

click on thumbnails for full image


Miscellany




03


04


05


"darcy vs. poppins"     [SOLD]


01


02


"Human. Nature."    


"Knees"     


"Forlorne"    



Inscape Literary Magazine [2006]




COVER ART


1


2


3


4


5


6


7



Pop Art




"Pippin"


[SOLD]     "Jack Sparrow"


"Legolas"




Bibliography:

Illustrator, Inscape, Vol. 61, 2006
Back Page, Asian Pacific American Journal, Vol.6 Num.1, 1997




[back]

 



© 2007 N.S. David. All rights reserved.

Photography

click on thumbnails for full image


Conceptual


"thalassa"


"middle"


"end"


"hype"


"grief is a vanity"


"such a thing as the grave"


"paint 01"


"paint 02"


"double 01"


"double02"


"savage under"


"street"



Portraits


1


2


3


4


5


6


7


8


9


10


11


12


13


14


14



Nature


1


2


3


4


5


6


7


8


9


10


11


12


13


14


15


16


17


18


19


20


21


22


23


24


25


26


27


28


29


30


31


32


33


34


35


36



Concert


Patrick Wolf at the Roxy, 15th of June 2009


1


2



The Veils at Spaceland, 15th of July 2009


1


2


3


4



Patrick Wolf at the Troubadour, 16th of May 2007


1


2


3


4




Miscellany


1


2


3


4




[back]


© 2007 N.S. David. All rights reserved.

(no subject)

 [OXFORD PLATFORM HEELS, PART IV]

                Okay. Okay. This is fine, this is good (not the turtle neck yellow-notepad-failed-artists preening outside and using magnanimous fifty dollar syllables smelling sartorially of grandpapa’s Argentinian cigars) but this.
                It is good, someone’s said that before and I am declaring it now – from the tops of my tiptoes loud up the esophagus! It is good!
                This is what it, it is: the music is loud and the faces are sweaty – liquid coalescing through the pheromone sheen and they are all smiling at me in this one big teethy amoeba-mass! One thing I like, rollercoasters, because when you’re upside-down-turned-around-round fifty miles fast, everyone becomes this continuous line of colours. Real-life-abstract-people art! Art! And there are words all around, I like that too.Words, words, words. Art, art, art.
                [I’m sorry. I’m sorry.]
                It’s just this one big circle. “Hi!” Loud! Loud so he can hear! “I didn’t know you did the artsy fartsy bartsy thing.”
                He’s so pretty. Like calm in a storm like peacock autumn leaves. “What are you talking about? You know I like to keep abreast of the art scene. Congratulations, by the way.”
                “You’re just being nice because they said so.” Petulant so he hears.
                "Who’s they? What are – oh. Ah. Let me take this from you,” pleading, big honest eyes pleading and he has form inside the abstract, “there, I’ll just take this, okay? I’ll take care of it for you, okay?”
                He does. Takes it from me and puts it down his esophagus.


                I was wee and I couldn’t wait to show teacher and class. See, her hair is orange and she lives in the ocean. Aplomb, sangfroid. She has the best voice anywhere but she trades it with a witch because she loves dancing. She’s my favourite; that’s why I made this.
                Her hair is supposed to be red.
                And her eyes are blue.
                Where’s prince Eric?
                My favourite is the fish. (They’re all fish, dummy.)
                I sat down and put it back in my folder. When mum took me home, home, I crumpled it in my hand and put it in the trash can.

+

                He’s looking for a recycling can to put my bottles in because he’s an environmentalist. He loves nature and children and poor pathetic fucks [I’m sorry. I’m sorry.] and all those things, so I follow him and it’s cold. Like Sunday School in Wisconsin, America. I stay close and hook my arm around him, because he’s warm, I can tell. Like hot chocolate. Free refills, sugar and spice, warm.
                “It’s cold out, are you cold?”
                “Yes.
                Recycle-ables only! it says. He throws it in, mission accomplished, the end, and he puts an arm around me, and he stumbles so we both put our palms against brick wall. It’s cold, and he’s all chivalry.
                “I’d offer you my jacket but they took it, filthy thieves.”
                “Then offer me your shirt.”                
                “What?”                
                “We’re going the wrong way, this way.”
                
                “You’re cold.”
                
                “It’s dark here.”
                
                “Didn’t you want my shirt? Here.”
                
                “Okay. This is good.”

+

                He was playing his guitar and I had my harmonica so I sat down next to him and we made music and he sang, sitting here, with a girl I don’t know, we’re musicians making music not your galley slaves who’ll roll, with the tide flow, flow, we don’t roll with the flow.

+

                We’re lost so I turn around and his arms are across his chest hairs, up in straight lines. He says, now I’m cold.                
                “Take it back, here.”                
                “Okay.”
                
                “Do you want my shirt?”
                
                “What?”                
                I crumple it in my hand and hold it out, full circle, and he stares at my left collarbone, then he crumples his face in mine instead and it’s funny but I can’t laugh and he tastes like Crown so it’s nice.
                
                “Fuck. I’m sorry.”
                
                “I’m sorry.”
                
                “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
                
                “Shut up!”
                
                “Okay.”


                T. appears and he’s a silhouette but I know it’s him because I recognize his voice:                
                “Fuck. What are you doing?”
                
                Recycling!
                
                So I say, “Recycling!” and I spread out my arms big and spin around and hold T.’s hand.
                
                “Jesus, you smell like a men’s bathroom. I know it’s hard, yeah? But you’ve got to toughen up, damn you. Do you even know what a risk I took for you tonight? Do you know how hard it was to get some of these pretentious fuckwads to come out and give your no-name ass a chance?And what do you do? You little cunt, what do you do? Do you have to be such an ungrateful shit? You’re never going to do anythingworthwhile in your life, you know that? You know that? You were a goddamned mistake; go to your room.”
                
                “I’m sorry.”        
                “Get yourself some coffee, spray yourself down, come back in an hour. You’re a good artist, P. Hold it to-gether, man.”                
                “I’m sorry.”
                
                “And tell your friend,” he makes this motion with his hands, “zipper.”

+

                T’s a gentleman about it; he sits with me in the empty gallery quiet with our breathing. He tells me that it went well despite my foment-fueled missteps, and he thinks I’ve gotten some good reviews, and there was one lady interested in one of my paintings. Which one, I ask, and he tells me, the one you hate, and I tell him that that hardly narrows it down, and he laughs and winks and says, I know.                
                All I can say is, I’m sorry about tonight, I’m sorry.

 

[SELF, PART V]

                Five blocks west is home. The keys are loud against the counter, against this backdrop of an oxygen-free compress. I go into my bedroom, stand in front of my mirror. I look at my mouth, and my lips are red around the words, I’m going to cut my fingers off, right below the interphalangeal joints.                
                It’d only be the right of course. The left hand never claimed to be anything other than what it was: just your average appendage, here for maintenance of the body. My left hand never made me a fool, hoodwinking me into the belief that I was more than I am; my left hand couldn’t even draw a straight line.
                
                So, it’ll just be the right. In this order: pinky, ring, middle, thumb, pointer. I like the pointer the best.

                What I’ll miss most, when I’m fingerless: one, nothing; two, my fingers.


                I dream.
                We’re underneath where the droplets carry and the black is in recessive layers, focal point the tipped-orange cigarettes between our nails and teeth. Our thighs are cold against the brick-laid limestone, bodies and feet bare, toes skimming the surface of an opaque, black, stream, and it’s not just water slipping through. We’re breathing in our nicotine, and it’s laced with the scent of my species – sweat and piss and saltand spit and digest. Time stretches like the stygian backdrop, and we’re unmoving, just the same, until we wake to the telltale hiss of a wet cigarette, and we look down to our navels. It’s then that we realize the black is rising, cutting us through the middle in sickle curves.  I look at the creatures from my paintings – faces half shadow, half light, nonchalantly suggestive mouths, and their shoulders lift a millimeter, as if to say, look where we are, what did you expect?                
                So I put my cigarette out, and I tell them, you’re right, you are right.

+

                04:11 AM, seven seconds.
                There isn’t any light for the mirror to reflect, but I can see my face. My jaw is set, my eyes are sunken, and far-east into the horizon line I see the first photons of the day, rising, rising, but I can’t see tomorrow. I put my clothes on, shoes first, robe second, and I open my craft drawer. I put scissors in my coat pocket, handle down, point up.
                It’s coldest at this hour, and when I walk outside the air greets me in pinpricks, coaxing pink to the surface, and it feels like I’m down to the last layer of my epidermis; the slightest touch of morning calling for blood. This early, sound stays inside safe-boxes, locked by sleep, so all I hear are my feet, and the gallery key tick-clacking against the scissors in my pocket.
                Left, tick-clackle, left, tick-clackle, left tick-clackle left. I hold my hand out, fingers spread wide to catch the rising sun.

+

                There’s a knowing hum inside the gallery, a tenor chorus from the men on the walls. They are mine, my ownership shows on the colouration of their faces: their eyes are sunken, their mouths are set, they won’t survive tomorrow. I sit in-between their accusations, their queen – scissors as a scepter, hair as a crown – and I look at their bodies, noses gleaming behind cheap glass; I make a choice.
                As I rise to my soles, I say to them, fuck you, what else can I do?


                I’ve never been in love. Not really. My relationships have been a litany of almosts, different keys of the same tune. P, you don’t have it in you to love; you’re hydrochloric acid down my throat, baby, eating through my soul. God save the man you decide to keep. And who was I to argue when they left; who was I to argue with truth?
                There was once. A simple boy with a walk that stuttered mid-step. An idiot savant who had reigned in gravity; I remember how with such ease, he had collapsed my barricade, and as I stood out there looking, I had thought, there’s nothing of me that he can’t see, what do I look like? He answered the question for me – even before the aftershocks of the collapse had time to fade past the lithosphere, he had turned around, and he was gone.
                Except, of course.                
                The men that take form with the movement of my fingers – the men with eyelashes of gum-arabic and my saliva, irises green and cheekbones camel-piss mango-yellow, teeth moist – they, they, I love.                
                As citizens of the empirical realm, as my so-called art, there is nothing but loathing and hatred between us. But as incarnations of human romanticism, as the vessels for my daily catch of accidental poetry – they are my one true love affair.                
                So I break the glass, set them free.

+

I don’t know how long I drive, only that the sky is full, radiant, vermillion by the time I pull over, step out. The windows gleam with sunrise, cadmium reds and yellows in strong concentrations that burn with direct contact to the cornea. But I look, I look unblinkingly, I let my eyes water to dilute the solution.                
                Scatters of clouds have condensed overnight, the kind that can only idly threaten the sleepy city with moisture to lick off the lips – mere decoration for a sky glowing whiter, cleaner. I look at the belly of the mountains below, maturing with green bush, and I look far away at civilization nestled indulgently at its base. I think to myself, there are so many people down there, begrudgingly rising from their dreams, rising to wash away the scent of their bodies for a new day.                
                I lift each boy up from the passenger seat, putting my right palm on each sheet of paper, committing the feel of their faces to sense memory. I take them with me, paper handfuls of my fanatical shortcomings.
                
                The blockade barely reaches my knees; I step over the cold steel with ease, and I turn around to make the morning-blue a background. The belt of my robe unravels, but I welcome the breeze. One deep breath, then I spread my arms out, wide.
                
                One, two, three, four. I need to take a piss.                
                I start laughing, because I need to take a goddamned piss!                
              
 Thighs squeezed shut, I close my eyes, and I see the painting I make: girl, half naked, fingers curled around paper-hair, thumbs pressing into male-manubria; behind me the sky, the green, the city outlines my shape with a bright haze. I laugh and laugh.
                
                I think about the last time I showered. Not yesterday, but the day before. Last minute gallery preparations had kept me estranged from the usual bathing schedule. I recall the recycling bin last night, the alkaline between my thighs, the paint underneath my fingernails, my belly full of bourbon.
                
                Bloody fuck, I smell like a men’s bathroom, I say to myself, laughing, laughing.



                Below the interphalangeal joints, my fingers twitch, and I try to remember if I have any leftover canvases back at the studio. Because, five, I catch my reflection on the car-window, in the daylight hour. I look, and I see an almost naked human body, three days unshowered, stomach and intestine brimming full.

end.


(no subject)


[RED SHIRT, PART I ]

This is what’s on rotation when I look into a reflective surface during the daylight hours: one, my sideburns are uneven I need a haircut; two, I have too many clothes I need to donate more money to Africa or something; three, I should shave my eyebrows and replace them with stamen tattoos; four, musha ring dumma do dumma da! Whack for the daddy ‘ol, whack for the daddy ‘ol, there’s whiskey in the jar!; five, I should I cut my fingers off, just below interphalangeal joints.
               It depends on the mood, of course. The moods these tracks apply to, respectively: one, when I’m happy; two, when I’m all right; three, when I’m sad; four, when my ability to recognize mood has been compromised via liquid ingestion of C2H6O; five, when I’m tired – empty and void, carved out hollow, echoes in a vacuum, et cetera.
               During the not-daylight hours there is no variation. There’s just: your eyes are sunken, your mouth is set, you can’t imagine tomorrow.

               So when dusk tucks itself into this truth-telling night, I don’t look.

+

               I don’t like working with graphite, or charcoal, or chalk pastel. Rough up the paper, spread the bits of carbon, and the molecules won’t go deeper than the crevasses of your fingerprints; too tiny for anatomical detection by the naked iris, sure, but too big for successful osmosis into pores, too big to disrupt immediately the flow of sebum from the sebaceous glands on your knuckles, on your eyelids. Rinse up in the bathroom sink, and you’re clean.
               Inks, pigments diluted by dihydrogen oxide, oils deconstructed in turpentine – these mediums stain, invade, force surrender and peaceful symbiosis between light and skin. I run my hands under a showerhead after painting with oils, and the water runs down to my elbows clear; this is when my flights of fancy aren’t silly – they’re real, evidence left on my hands; paintings I make are no longer art – the process, what the painting makes of me, that’s the – but it’s overly sentimental. Romanticized. Idealized. I won’t argue semantics, but I do know what’s said: “Oh, so you’re an art-tiste. But I take one look at the water draining in the tub, and I think that I can’t be anything else.
              My hands are ambassadors capable of negotiating this clarity, this peace. My hands sign the treaties, eat dirt in the trenches. My hands are all I have.
      
              This is why, when mood number five settles in (as it does often, always, most likely), I look at myself in the mirror and think about chopping off my fingers, just below the interphalangeal joints.

+

                     One thing. I’m no masochist. At least, I don’t indulge in more than my fair share of few-and-far-between moments of being curious about a body’s capacity for, and sensitivity to, pain. I’m the average kid who wonders at some point how many times a rubberband can snap into the same spot on a forearm before shredding endodermic capillaries the layers of skin, the kid who wonders where clothespins would hurt most (earlobe, nipple, asscheek), the kid who pulls at hangnails because they’re annoying, and if you pull hard enough, sometimes you bleed. In truth, for a self-proclaimed and habitually labeled Tortured Artist, I would make for a fairly boring case study for the earnest psychologist.

                     [Do you have a history of self-infliction? If yes, explain:
                     I don’t know if it counts, but I did stay in a relationship with a bloke who had this goddamned, downright inhuman penis. Talk about well-endowed – sex with him always hurt like a bitch. But he was gorgeous, and he’d let me photograph him naked afterwards while he slept. Reference for my paintings, of course. So really, it was sort of just business. A fair trade of goods, if you will. Sex for him, future blackmail material for me. I don’t know if that counts. Does that count?]

                    So I don’t think about self-dismemberment because I like pain. For clarification.

 

[FLOWER PRINT SUNDRESS, PART II]

After fall’s first rainstorm, I open up my windows to let the scent of wet houses in, and I put Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on the stereo, loud and after-the-fact, and I open up my windows to let the scent of summer-heated stagnation out.
                It’s quiet, I imagine that the city has heaved one long sigh, except there’s that moment of nostalgia that needs to pass before we can be relieved, and so no one makes a sound. We commemorate with this silence, algae in the backyard fountain, and blue in the sky.

                  I look at my paintings, and there are five possible reactions: one, pursed lips, biting of the inside-cheek; two, a forty-five degree tilt of the head to the west, squinted eyes; three, a loud exhalation from the back of the throat, a muttered word that would cause reprimand by a lady; four, twitch in the lower eyelid, a quick glance at the zippo on the paint-stand; five, a desire to cut my fingers off, just below the interphalangeal joints.
                 The thoughts these involuntary tics apply to, respectively: one, I hate it; two, I really hate it; three, I hate it and I hate myself; four, I should burn it – if I developed a sudden, documented onslaught of pyromania, it might give character to this piece – voilà (posthumous) success!; five, most people only recognize the name Van Gogh because he went batshit and took a what was probably cadmium-red-coated palette knife to his own ear, so what’s the point, who the fuck do I think I am, when I’m dead it won’t matter anyway, et cetera.
                When I walk into my studio, half started, half finished, fully worthless canvases strewn like mistakenly popped confetti on the cement flooring, all tics start up simultaneously, and if there was a mirror in the room, I’d probably laugh at the face looking back at me – sour, wrinkled and twitching to a three-four time signature – and I set my feet down the width of my shoulders, look on until the tics die down. I look at my hands, solely steady, predictably spotted in patterns of blue, and I look for a canvas that is clean, and I start again. Because what else can I do.

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                Mostly, I paint people – luminous (sweat, tears, saliva, et cetera), intelligent (xenophobia, tabloids, insecticide, et cetera), pliable (rock to spear to arrow to powder to hydrogen-in-half, et cetera), beautiful (backs, thighs, chest-hair, lips, the in-between dip of two clavicles) people. It’s part of the artist egocentrism – you paint what you know, and you paint what you love: the starry nights, the unibrows of marked individuality, the dreams of not-here, the wars of right-here.
               And I, I love people. I love people because I know people, and because I know people, I love people. I even love the word – how it pops explosively off the lips, ends deliciously on the tongue. I love watching people open their jaws, masticate the world around them into esophagus size pieces they can swallow and keep in their mucus-lined bellies. I love watching them feed each other this world they’ve stolen, mouth to mouth, little sounds of self-satisfaction pulled from their necks as they do so.

                   More than anything, I love people because this gluttony means that like all animals, though sentient, people will reek of the world. In all my days, I have never encountered a subject more all encompassing than a naked human body, three days unshowered, stomach and intestine brimming full.

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                  I love the carcinogen-laced city because of these bodies. I sit at cafes, sipping my art-tiste latte and cigarette, and I look at the bus stop on the corner where grandmothers with big, dyed-orange hair and frayed, dyed-rainbow scarves sit knee to knee with youths in four-inch, black suede boots. I look at them and I think about the bang-whimper we’re all open-eyed careening to, all of us. And it makes my hands twitch, aching for my paint and my studio.

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                 Constant exposure to turpentine has made my hands dry. The top layer of skin habitually separates from its compatriots, right at the fingertips. Sometimes, I pull this skin off with my teeth, and I swallow, and I think about how much I like the taste of human.
                 I tried to explain this once when a boy asked why I was so pleased to be on my knees in the bedroom. He didn’t believe me.

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                There are times when a person looks at me in the eye, and without preamble, without permission, without shame, splices me open, widens their jaw, and feasts on my viscera until I find myself nothing but esophagus-sized pieces inside their belly. These are the people that wind up on my canvas, my paper, my paintbrush, my home, my bed.
                In the presence of these people I can actually look at my art without the crippling revulsion bred of my neuroses. Trapped inside another’s belly, I can look at my paintings and think nothing but: shit, it’s disgusting in here.


[BLACK BOXER-SHORTS, PART III]

                 My bio for tonight’s show: Raised in a small farm town populated by a mere 1,254 people and twice as many cows, P.D. Solomon ripened with the nourishment of a torrential loneliness. In those years among the grass-stalks and wide-open-spaces, Solomon learned the values of art, and the art within man. Men were needles in haystacks – minuscule, lost, prickly-cold and silver-sharp – but they were men, and cause lay in that discovery.

Solomon’s art seeks to illustrate this truth. With muted, grim colours, Solomon paints man’s living loneliness in the decaying world, and the attempt to spark with the responsibility of the self.

I didn’t write it. T., the gallery owner, informs me my write-up wouldn’t inspire patrons to part with half a cent of their easily-earned savings. “Even the sympathetic fucks who’d probably shit gold after a glimpse of that wet-eyed mug of yours would be put off by this bio, P. I can smell the desperation and you know my olfactory sense is shit. Even people without self-respect like to pretend that they do, guilt-trip them all you want, it’s not going to override that.”

                Originally: P.D. Solomon is 23 years of age and cannot remember getting there. She has no formal training in the art of fine arts; this is her first solo show in a reputable gallery in a reputable town. She has no idea how she has managed the feat, but she thinks it may have something to do with “special favours” for a friend of a friend of someone with pull in a secret Elite Ar-tiste Appreciation society. The Free-patrons! she suggests as a name, if one hasn’t been decided upon.
               Of course, she only means all of this half-metaphorically, a third-facetiously, and one eighth-truthfully.

               I thought it was charming. T. tells me that if by some need for filler I were to make it into an art history book, I would be noted as the Starving Artist! who worked her damnedest to stay a Starving Artist!. I told him that fuck, at least I had a niche.


                  My five significant vices, in alphabetical order. Cigarettes. I’ve been told that they’ll kill me. Except we all fall out of uteri directly onto that singular, one-way high-way anyway – life, then death, no other options. Besides, I like the burning at my fingertips when I forget to put it out; there’s appeal in how a cigarette grows steadily more bitter, more concentrated, near the end. It’s how the world works: the cycle-of-seasons, a glass of wine left out on the kitchen table on a hot day, relationships with your fellow man, spinach and ricotta gnocchi – it’s all shit in the end. Crown Royal. “Because there’s something majestic about inebriation-inspired nescience!” – how’s that for a tagline? Meat, (Animal). My best friends growing up were never imaginary. They were however, livestock. I call myself a vegetarian, except once a season, I’ll go through a drive-thru, and think about which friend back home I’m digesting. I’ll take one valid reason to hate myself, please. To-go. Risk-chasing. Cliff-jumping, whitewater-kayaking, red-light running – there are multiple ways to coat this vice with the saccharides of freshman philosophy – awareness of the physical body, a reminder of our fallibility, contrition for the birth-given guilt of the sinful through asceticism, a barometer for the will. But mostly, it’s a love of the human body tensed and coiled, in motion. Which leads me to the last, and alphabetizing has saved the best for it. Sex. To clarify. Alone-sex isn’t a vice, there’s no harm in making yourself happy; form of Good be damned, the sophists had a point – if it feels good, it is good. Sex-sex is different. It requires company. It’s a good dependent upon another body, happiness in the face of, and given by, someone else. Our forward-march culture has trivialized it, and my promiscuity would suggest that so have I – but I still romanticize it, still find it beautiful, frightening. Every single time. The faces, the sounds – it’s not just alkaline between your thighs, it’s a willful, private, exhibitionism of the naked, joyous, self. Sex is two people abandoning, for one moment, their living loneliness, and in that abandonment lies the vice.


                Currently on rotation as critics look at my paintings in the fluorescent-light hour: One, “it’s all very pedantic, isn’t it? What’s funny is that she attempts to mask the creative amateurism with this spit-take…prismaticism, too stupidly young to realize that her application of Rainbow Brite’s palette only calls attention to the fault.”

                Apparently, it’s a one track record.

                There are people everywhere, just mouths regurgitating modern art theory, fingers caressing stems of wine glasses half-full with cheap merlot, eyes squinted, brows furrowed, shoes shined. It’s loud, and bright, but not with words and light – only a collective, continuous sigh, and a paranoia that I am standing in front of everyone naked, everyone expecting me to dance to Mozart’s Piano Sonata in A Major, trembling through a speaker in the backroom. There are so many people, except not one offers me the safe-haven of their bellies – it’s like sex without the pleasure, just the abandonment of loneliness and my private exhibitionism, and I look, and there are hundreds of human bodies around me, feasting on the brain matter hanging on the white walls, and I look, and it hurts.
               T. warned me that it would – this was my first time, after all. I told him I could take it. That’s the trouble with being human – sometimes you forget that in the end, everything is shit, and you don’t plan for the inevitability. I should have seen it: standing naked as Mozart laughs and merlot is downed, no one looking me in the eye, snapping that rubberband.
               Before we opened tonight T. offered his veteran counsel: “No matter what you overhear, you don’t let them see that you're a human being. You're an art-tiste now. You're as much a showpiece as your folks on the walls.” So I take it. Bottoms up.