Saturday, July 23, 2011

Compatriots, Artists, Weathermen (That's Meteorologist to YOU)

Yesterday, I put in a brief Art Fair wander with a dear friend. It was more stroll and less hustle, we both met other friends along the way, and there was also the worrisome business of the darkening sky that would likely curtail perusal.

Regardless of how much we would see, it would turn out well, as we share strong Day Trip Sympatico -- i.e. we both get museum-weary at about the same time, we understand the importance of good snacks (and food in general and a nicely made g&t). We interrupt conversation to call attention to babies and dogs. If, at a dinner out, her gaze suddenly shifts down and to the side, I can safely guess she's listening to nearby diners talking about something randomly juicy or betraying an odd, interpersonal dysfunction. Our shared anecdotes periodically end, "but if that [overprotective father] wasn't there, I could have held that baby!!!"

Let's call her Compatriot. Which would cause her to snort, most likely, "Really M? We live in the same country? Ya think?" Which, fine. That's the technical definition, sure, but I'm thinking of it with a bit of kinship and fellow-feeling in there.

So, Compatriot and I, we wander. We chortle and heh-heh to each other in Chris Roberts-Antieau's booth and decide that while we love the fantastic humor of pieces like "Awkward Social Encounters" and "If I Had a Monkey," we'd both love to own pieces like "Night Birds" or "Ghosts of Birds" (I heart heart HEART the latter). I don't need to write an ode to CRB here, as the likes of Oprah and Ben Folds own her works, whose images are created entirely from beautiful fabric and a prolific, quirky mind.

So, onward we go.

Compatriot: "...oh."  The utterance falls halfway between "oh" and "ugh." We peer over.

There, just where we were about to venture, is a TV crew. A guy in a red shirt is breezily talking into his hand-held microphone. The camera guy is hunched over and doing a smooth backward walk (not like Michael Jackson. but that would be unexpectedly cool). To put it mildly, Comp dislikes getting her photo taken. I am okay with it, though the camera is infrequently my friend. You certainly aren't going to see me Hi-Momming it up in the background. We dart into a booth. We are booth-bound.

Luckily, John Whipple's booth is a good booth to be in. Whipple's highly textured paintings and sculpture share a good, dark Circus-y quality (duh, current series include "Side Show" and "Misfits"). Playful meets bad-turn-in-a-dark-alley. Whipple ticks off different materials he uses to create texture: acid, glue, wood shavings, sawdust...basically, if it's near him he'll use it...and then he'll set it on fire. I like it! Time having passed, I popped my head out. They had inched down a bit. We scooted into the next booth.

Which, as luck (well, planning) would have it, belonged to Lynn Whipple. The Whipples, who met in film school and have been married for some 20 years, try to swing getting into shows together and exhibiting nearby. I imagine this usually works, since they are both quite talented and held in high regard. Her collages and mixed media paintings have a sunnier quality than her spouse's, though elements of off-kilteredness flow through both their work.  Her ninnies are always popular and her new work is simultaneously nicely layered and sharp and clean, with wonderful pops of cherry red.

Lynn Whipple's blog has a section titled "100 Bad Paintings," which strikes me as ballsy. The page begins,

"okay. these are so bad, I am not even putting them up. yet. But, the idea here is, that I believe that in any new pursuit, creative or otherwise, there is a learning curve. the learning curve, quite often, is not all that good looking. it’s okay. really. how in the world are we going to get better at anything if we are a-scared of the messy beginning parts."

This is such a  lovely reminder. I took a beginning acrylics class earlier this season and it was virtually impossible for me to remember this, especially since I hadn't taken an art class in years. Thanks, Lynn!

On her About page, she lists some of her likes, an excerpt of which is:

art, artists, cake, making art, animals, birds, orange dogs, all dogs, cats, (aka fur people,) collage, people, bacon, laughing, music, kids, mixed media, drawing, painting outside, singing, playing games,

Lynn could walk with us. We could laugh and eat bacon together. She is not, however, in her booth.

I stand close to Comp, but crane my neck toward the walkway and the TV crew, which is taking forever to go away.

Me: "Hey! It's Jim Madaus!" I don't quite squeak.
Comp: "...Who?"
Me: "He's the weather man!"
Comp: "Shhh. You're making me giggle."

I shush. I don't really know why this has me excited. Maybe at the kid level? Like ooooOOOOOooo, the MAIL MAN~! You know, as in: "Who are the people in your neighborhood" The last time I was home, my Mom gestured toward the mail truck and said with a sigh, "And there's our nice little mailman." Patronizing aspect aside, it was amusing in the way my Mom usually is.

Poor Artists, Poor Art Fair people, it is raining again outside. Hope it clears up nicely for the last day.

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