As a painter I felt like I was communicating with other artists when I'd paint part of a canvas with very whacky brushstrokes. A non-artist wouldn't notice, but artists would -- I always look at brushstrokes. For one thing they are indicators of the movement of the artist. And texture is a huge part of painting. I thought another artist would look at certain passages I'd painted, and laugh out loud. So each painting has a general meaning for everyone, plus a subtext for artists.
I analyse the world around me through my paintings: I moved around as I was growing up, and didn't understand things because the rules were always changing. Through my paintings I looked intently my surroundings. For instance, I could see that people planted little shrubs too close to their houses, then the shrubs grew into huge things that pressed up against the walls. So I was undercover, but not by choice -- trying to figure things out from a purely visual standpoint.
Once I worked as a waitress. I only did it because my friend A$ asked me to please work for her. Waitressing is part theatre and part nursing as well as part undercover spy. I was tickled by the undercover spy part: if you want to know who is genuinely a nice person work as their waitress. I'd never been in that section of society before -- holy moley it's a bizarre place. I should add "invisibility" to my list of waitressing components, as some people don't see you (as a person). I've always liked grumpy people, so the nursing part -- waiting on people with low blood sugar grumpiness who suddenly become wreathed in smiles after eating -- made me laugh.
I used to paint huge murals for money not art. I was painting something for a friend who had other artists' work on her building. I realised that the tree in the mural had been painted using the tree across the street as a model. From a particular angle that you'd never be looking from unless you were painting on the building, that funny fact popped out. I felt warm, fuzzy communion with the other artist.
Because I'm just that way, I've been searching for something "cool" about having ms, and let me tell you, it's been a fruitless task of many years -- until this morning as I was staggering up the stairs bearing a load of laundry. I don't know why it didn't occur to me before, but being a hopeless crip gives undercover observer status. I went to a Japanese teahouse once, for a tea ceremony, and as each person receives a cup he or she turns the cup and looks at every part --
observing and appreciating the weight, the texture, the dimensions, the color, the shape, the design, etc. I'm inclined that way anyway -- so what better way to turn life in my hands and observe each part than to have many roles? I like to see all around things -- so I have to go here and see life from above, here to see from below, here to see from any of a vast number of possible viewpoints. Makes sense to me...
posted by - 11:03 AM
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