Stories From The Art Dilettante
These fliers are hanging all over campus: “Feeling overwhelmed? Sad, anxious, overwhelmed, in pain? Win a free iPod!” Well, that’s only part of what it says, but I’ve walked past these fliers several times now, and that’s where my eyes always automatically travel to because of the positioning and size of the words.
I was sitting in the Art Building lobby reading homework between classes sometime this week. I’ve started doing this only recently because I like the building and I have the time, and while I was sitting there reading, a guy walks into my line of sight carrying this huge cardboard contraption. It looks like a modern art piece; it’s as tall as me and obviously hollow because of the ease by which he’s carrying it. He walks over to the middle of the lobby and sets it down in a pool of light, then walks away. I go back to me reading, but look up when I hear cluncking from that direction; the guy has brought out this small, black display stand with a rock on it that kind of looks like a small version of the cardboard thing in shape. He then begins moving the cardboard thing and the display stand and stepping back a few feet next to me to see how it looks in the light. I wonder why he’s doing this; it’s a public place and someone could easily damage what he’s obviously worked hard on. Despite the fact that it’s cardboard, it’s not easy to make something hollow and of that height and shape. However, this is an art building and in a utopian art gallery, one can just walk in, set up peices to be viewed, and walk out without an inkling of worrying thought.
Nevertheless, I was curious as to why he was taking such pains to do this, so I watched him alternately tweak intensely then step back and study. He eventually catches me watching him, as I’m not too far away, and I tell him not to mind me. I’m just studying him studying. After awhile, he asks me pointedly which looks better: the display stand in the shadow of the cardboard thing or in the light. I stood next to him and explained, after contrasting verbally the shadows on each situation, that if you put it in the light, it shows the two pieces as equal, and if you put the display case in the shadow of the other piece, it means that the smaller is portrayed as much lesser than the bigger. I then told him that it depended on what he wanted to say about the relationship between the two. He nodded and took my advice, then told me this was Christ and the Virgin Mary and that he was thinking of draping cloth over the cardboard. He then thanked me, and I walked back to the table I was sitting at. He rearranged the table and chairs next to me for some reason, (he didn’t straighten them or push the chairs under the table; he just rearranged them into a different chaotic fashion) picked up his backpack, and walked off. The art piece was still there when I walked off to go to class. I enjoyed immensely the openness and abstractness of the whole thing; I also enjoy the fact that I’m not a visual artist by practice or major, and yet I can still take general artistic concepts and apply them to the visual arts. I love being a dabbler.
The downside is that when the dabbler has morals, and she’s given the chance to choose the play to go to for her birthday (with the in-laws paying for the tickets). When she picks the comedian/musician/visual artist collaberation, and the images presented by the visual artist are incredibly risque (and mediocre in quality at that), she feels really embarrassed, not only for herself, but for her husband and her in-laws as well. She didn’t know how bad it would be, but still… bof.