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smooth criminal December 23, 2006

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

My room is tidier, although not visibly so (so! no point screwing around with my camera, you might as well scroll back to the previous post for an example of minimalism at its superlative best).

Last night it is, and I sit on the floor of my superlatively minimalist room, sorting through the remnants of an erstwhile stint in four institutions where I practiced the study of art with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I spend two hours folding and shredding large, unwieldy pieces of paper into smaller pieces of paper that can be shoved in large, unwieldy bags into a tedious recycling bin. Paperoles come apart in my hands like the skins of dead trees. I feel like a murderer.

Halfway through I get very angry. I look at scribbles and sketches and splatters of paint and ink on expensive pieces of natural and unnatural fibre. The worst part of it is that I remember almost every single act of creation. I also remember my family’s reaction to many of these creations — skewed towards poor fine art because I didn’t have the strength to resist the pressure of most of my tutors — cocked heads, wry pauses, resultant “what is it?”s.

I get angrier with each fold. I am anger compacted and cubed. I think “what is this” as I unveil endless horrors of abstract angles and garbled colour. I start throwing away even the drawings that I think I might hate less later. I reduce two hours of backache into seven bags of redemptive recyclable, fifteen pieces of work I have deemed worthy of storage space and thirty lines of bitching.

Most of the ones I keep are self-portraits, possibly because I find the process of ripping my own likeness up slightly unsettling, but then again, maybe because I see some soul in them that wasn’t just a symptom of teacher-pleasing sycophancy (perhaps narcissism, but that’s a whole other story). Two hours of paper condense into two hundred fifty wistful words, don’t give me that “a painting is worth a thousand words” bullshit.

One of my life drawings was done in pencil and white paint and was drawn before I ever knew the meaning of bukkake in its most notorious sense.

Now I don’t have to remember it.



1. Seth - December 23, 2006

No!! This is tragic! You should have at least taken photos of this stuff. Or not. I know how worthless a lot of my old ‘teacher-pleasing’ stuff is, but it’s still waitin in my mum’s attic until I have the guts to do what you just did.

2. eatnorthamerica - December 23, 2006

guts my ass! borne out of sheer exasperation, I’m telling you. there were a few drawings from our prince’s trust sessions (those were fun) that I almost kept, but I ended up scrapping most of them anyway. the way I see it, I better produce stuff that’s better than that in future or I’m shooting myself.
IT WAS A VERY CATHARTIC PROCESS AND AT THE END I WAS LEFT WITH A FEEBLE SENSE OF LASSITUDE. although I couldn’t get to sleep till 5 or 6 anyway. and via catharsis I mean it wasn’t fun at all.

you wait your turn.

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