Arty party


Art eh? Always made me a bit wary, did art. In spite of Mr Lipscomb’s heroic attempts to get a classroom of bovine non-aesthetes to understand that heads aren’t discs and bodies aren’t sticks, and that it’s all a matter of working to a grid, art and I have never really hit it off. This inability to score the basics of visual representation spread into all areas of life, not least because I come from a words-not-pictures family. All in all, appeals to the visual side of life have always triggered a hot sense of all that’s inferior in my make-up. Appeals to the visual side of life make my eyes dart about like a lizard caught shoplifting.

But it’s time to crow! I’ve come round to that whole art thing, and without feeling sick and stupid once! A friend, Brendon Marczan, decided to revisit a childhood enthusiasm for drawing – and now the talented bugger has work showing in the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea. Having already asked to buy some of his work, I was feeling a lot more confident. Or at least was in a position to stick out my chin and say ‘well I LIKE IT’, which is, more or less, what I bet every art buyer says at one time or another.

Anyway, last night I went with Brendon and others to the late-night viewing in Battersea Park and we trooped around to pay homage before Brendon’s work. I was fully expecting the familiar dry-mouthed anxiety-slash-doomy sense of philistinism that usually whooshes me to down to a sunless sea at these art hob-nobbings, but I loved it. There was loads of stuff that I would love to own because, for the first time, I really felt something when I looked at them. Is that a dreadful thing to admit? That it’s take more than a decade or three for an entire savannah of human experience to twang any sort of resonating chord in my dry little soul? Dunno, but there it is.

I’m wondering whether that long walk has had a far more profound effect than anticipated. That alongside a nourishing of an already-heartfelt love of the English countryside (which is hardly an exceptional or surprising outcome), it strengthened a sense of self at the very foundations. Some changes are noticeable: for one, it’s depleted the desire to call myself an idiot and a loser several times a day. And, it would seem, behind the scenes, it’s flipped a switch and now I can get a real kick out of art. Although it’s surely no coincidence that the things I loved were about the outdoors: an oil painting of a dim river pool in Kent; a powder-pale painting of summer flowers; a smooth egg of Kilkenny marble.

Of course, it IS possible that the levels of enthusiasm were lubed and boosted by the vast quantity of white wine we swigged as we wandered and pointed. Still, at least I didn’t wake up this morning with a strange canvas parked at the end of my bed, unlike some of our number. No sirree. This new bohemian kraziness goes only so far – and spaffing three grand on a picture of a pond when I’m pissed is well beyond it. Still, planning on returning on Sunday, with a clear head and an even clearer budget.


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