Saturday, September 19, 2009


I love getting messages from old friends. moving around in childhood did its damage on me. I have tended to just leave the past and the people that populated it behind like some finite fiction. . . but of course, all this silly facebook activity in the last year and half has stirred up a lot of real people I once knew, who are still having their lives. it's really great.

so, the in-flow of old friends continue. . .the latest communication I received was so bizarre, I just have to share it:

I received a random email from an old high school buddy, who is now living in south texas. . .he filled me in on the pertinent details. . .yes, he's balding, has 4 children, two of which are adopted from china. . .and is an artist, too. it all seemed kind of interesting and my heart was warmed that he thought to write, that he remembered my old artistic pranks. I responded immediately. then found another second email from him with just a single line or two, saying he felt like a sell-out artist. I thought that was odd, but was nice and replied, " well, aren't we all sell-outs, as artists, when the market is so unavoidable. . ."

then he wrote to me again. . .to confess, I guess. I uncovered the real reason he emailed: to say that
he was commissioned to do a statue of Laura bush for a library. (!) he rather enjoyed hanging with the bushes. . .nice people and all. I think he remembered my opinionated nature and was fishing. . .or was he being antagonistic. . .how cruel? he and his friends in high school were masters at a sarcastic brand of humor. . .so I do have to wonder.

here was my response:

" 'I was commissioned by a library to produce a statue of Laura Bush '

. . .wow, it took me a moment to recover from reading that. (I see what you mean about selling out. . .WOW. . .) (are you joking?)

. . .today, my boss at my main freelance gig was distressed to discover her sister going to washington to protest obama with a despicable, ignorant group called "americans for prosperity". . .we looked up the website to find obama being compared to hitler . . . ( and not that I'm totally happy with obama, but I'm thinking that's totally unfair. just 6 years ago, an fbi agent would haul you away to a prison camp if you published such a thing about old W. . . .no, I have no sympathy for bush, regardless of how complicated a person he is or was, no matter what a friendly guy he is in person. . .he is a criminal! he lied about war. he cheated in the polls. he was a goddamn cowboy puppet for terrible despots who greedily controlled our country. . .and wrecked it pretty damn good. and, he's going to get away with it. . .I remember days when it seemed as if his regime was not going to end but just get more nightmarish, even the new york times was complicit. . . hardly any political protest was heard from the people. we just all shut up and watched more television. . . so much complacency, and ignorance. . .and laura b, seems very much the good ole-fashioned co-dependent, trophie wife. sure, maybe they are nice people . . . but look what they are responsible for. the worst kind of assholes, indeed are the nice ones.

anyhow, what an art resume builder . . .maybe, I hope, you made a double and can place it somewhere remarkable, in a decade or so. . .like at the top of a steaming landfill mountain or something.

ok, I just had to say that. sometimes I cannot even believe we lived through that bullshit right here in america!"

. . . I went on the say nice, sincere things about his family and place of residence. he has not written back. not a peep.

was I too harsh?

would I have taken such a commission? (well, I HATE bronze sculptures! I can barely think of a more despicable kind of middle class public art!, so hopefully the answer is no. . .) but I sell out all the time as a graphic designer. for me the art is where I try not to compromise my creative integrity. but some people I guess don't think they can take that luxury.

very strange encounter. what did I get out of it? a good story, I suppose. . . also I took a chance to articulate my feelings about that old administration. funny, it was only a few years ago, now. how soon we forget!