I was Googling pictures of Star Trek era Patrick Stewart and
practicing my Reporter Voice to myself when an assignment came from Basement
HQ. An art assignment. About a man.
HQ explained that a street artist on campus was frustrated
by his inability to garner attention. I’m defined largely by my journalist’s
spirit and willingness to interview anyone who may potentially be an attractive
man, and am still working through a phase where I assume all artists are
attractive. So I took the job and called. He said he wanted to meet by his
latest work. I asked what that was; he hung up on me.
I wheedled my way into some specific directions and we met
one afternoon. I spent a few minutes trying to decide whether he was attractive
and realized he had been talking to me the whole time. I hadn’t decided.
“””just feels like nobody appreciates subtlety!“ He spat. “Nobody appreciates the little things. So my installations are “little things.’ And, of course, nobody
He’d probably be cuter if he weren’t yelling, I reasoned.
Too soon to tell.
A pause hung. He calmed. He asked me what I thought of his
piece. Caught off guard, I said that that was mighty forward and his pants were
sort of baggy ““
“What?! My ART! My installation!” He gestured widely. “¦I
asked if he could gesture less widely.
“Isn’t it obvious?? That!! There!”
His art, I gathered, is installing works on campus that look
exactly like the objects around it.
The pieces are very successful mimicry, but ignored for the same reason. His
past works include a bush that looks like the surrounding ones, a fence in a
place where it makes sense for there to be a fence, and removing some graffiti.
This latest one is a brick, replacing one of a slightly different shade. I
assume to make a point about how boring art can be.
“I kept my identity secret, in the beginning. Because of
street art prosecution and, you know, Banksy. But I’ve been introducing myself
to everyone I meet for a while now, and they still don’t seem to know my name!”
He stopped expectantly, like he was waiting for me to assure him that I
“I TOLD YOU FIVE MINUTES AGO!”
I sat quietly waiting for him to finish ranting when I
remembered I had two tools at my disposal: my Reporter Voice and the one
question I’d thought to write down.
“Art is subjective. To some, Star Trek era Patrick Stewart
is a work of art. Can you assure our readers that what you do is, in fact,
He looked less empowered than I thought he would. More
broken. “I thought so”¦ I thought so.”
He reached sadly for one of the bikes nearest us. “Is that
street art?” I asked helpfully but authoritatively. Spot-on Reporter Voice.
“This is my bike.” His eyes welled. “I rode it here.”
Photo credit: Grace Talice Lee