Nothing and nobody epitomises my love/hate relationship with art quite like an old school friend I bumped into the other day.
You know the type: well-rehearsed cliches tumble off the tongue like blobs of mercury, leaving you with a mouthful of sawdust and an overwhelming urge to commit a seriously violent crime.
Why can’t I bullshit like that in good conscience, you berate yourself while feeling like an old hypocrite, and rightly so.
Of course, it’s not entirely his fault my scepticism about The Art World had assumed epic proportions over the past few decades, a condition I rightly or wrongly blame on the pervasiveness of money/ego/elitist-driven pretence. (I thought I’d better not use the word bullshit twice in the first half dozen paragraphs, but apparently not everyone exercises such discretion.)
“Don’t let those bullshit artists spoil your innate desire to express yourself creatively,” the unrestrained wife chimes in with a cliché of her own, before adding: “Not after what those bastards in Hollywood did with your last film script.”
Well, thanks very much for reminding me, dear. I suppose next you suggest I take up knitting ... or watercolour.
Too right, she smiled without a hint of irony. You're a better painter than a writer.
Now that hurt, but not enough to stop me from mansplaining. Watercolour is for old fuddy duddies, I proclaimed; it sells for peanuts and, anyway, who'd remember Jackson Pollock had he been rolling around drunk on oversized canvasses covered in boring watercolour pigment rather than bucket loads of sexy/gooey oil paint, plus other unidentified substances, no doubt.
So? she intoned loftily. Isn't that what you want? Be rid of those boring snobs who rate this time-honored art form on par with carpentry and carpet cleaning, or words to that effect.
Of course! You're right! Why didn't I think of that! Gloriously unglam, uncool, unpretentious watercolour. Thank you for the insight, darling, and for helping me finally to recognise my true vocation - apart from washing the dishes.