I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.
Good designs sell – mine sell out!

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Friday, August 31, 2012

"Identical"

Is anything really identical?  Two silk carnations from the same manufacturer aren’t really the same.  They’re even less the same after filtered through our eyes and minds.  If I gave you these flowers, what would you do with them?  Stick them in a vase?  Decorate a hat?  Throw them away?

I pulled this drawing out of my archives and started thinking about why I did what I did.  I had bought wallpaper from an outlet store for $1/double roll.  I thought it was funny because the pattern was so big and bold.  Why not staple flowers to the wall?  It wasn’t any less strange than “Roger’s Rat Count” which had been painted on the wall by the previous tenants.  The painting of a rat had a tally of about 15 or 20 hash marks underneath it.  Roger was their cat.  I wallpapered around the rat count, because good art is good art.  I painted the thermostat to match the wallpaper, and laughed when my upstairs neighbors Pat and Matt came downstairs to change the setting and couldn’t find the camouflaged thermostat on the wall.  I hung up a basketball hoop and invited the next-door-neighbor girls to come over and play.  I glued brightly colored tissue paper on the door frame.  I painted the kitchen appliances and cupboards school bus yellow.

I was renting an old house on Franklin in Columbus, OH while going to college.  The house was built to be a speakeasy (an illegal bar) during prohibition, and the house definitely had its quirks.  I learned that everyone wore their coats at a speakeasy in case of a raid, so there weren’t any closets.  The rooms were huge, with a beautifully ceramic-tiled fireplace, and the kitchen had enough cupboards to stock plenty of liquor for the duration of the misbegotten law outlawing alcohol in the US.  There were 2 distinct advantages in renting the place, the first of which was the rent was $90/month.  The second advantage was that it backed up on the alley where all my pals liked to party.  I got real popular real quick for having a nearby bathroom.

Some years later, I have a regular house, with regular colors on the walls.  I don’t have a basketball hoop or a rat count.  While sensible colors make other people comfortable, is my life any better for sensible colors?

Growing up is a descent into conformity, and conformity sucks.  Why should we all march together in identical tempo?  Why should we get our hair cut the same way or wear the same clothes or paint our room off-white?  Oooo, live it up, paint it beige!

I don’t think most people like identical anythings.  It’s one of the reasons that people often instinctively dislike art made on the computer.  Things are too perfect to be real.  A good computer artist creates conflict and interest in that perfect medium.  A great artist does something different than the identical masses.

My original plan for this post was to write about my non-identical twin brothers, but obviously I took a sharp turn somewhere along the line.  Still, I found this picture on my computer and thought I’d share.  They were little kids when I happily living with a rat on my wall, and they shot some hoops in my bedroom.

You’ll have to excuse me now.  I’m feeling an urge to paint something yellow – or maybe red or purple or any color other than neutral…

14 comments:

  1. I agree re not liking "identical" in art Linda, I am amazed how even the same "theme" comes out completely different every time someone makes something. That's the beauty of handmade art. Love the rat count story and the camouflaged thermostat, that would have been useful when my son still lived at home. In the winter months he would come in and turn up the temperature ...to full! (usually 35c)- you could tell he didn't pay the bills. He now has his own place. They don't have a rat count there and his thermostat stays down ;0) Have an original, colourful weekend,
    Jane x

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  2. Interesting post, Linda. Especially your story about the "Rat Count". Yikes! Hope you had a cat too.

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  3. Beautiful! Love the composition and the different hues. And I'm pretty much stuck on "Roger's Rat Count." I assume Roger was no longer there by the time you moved in, so hopefully the landlord sprang for an exterminator!

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  4. Wish I'd lived next door to you! We once found graffiti on a wall that said "First you take off her cloths." The house had been vacant for a while, but not empty it seems. Nicer than rats!

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  5. I had a friend who lived on Franklin. Ironically his name was Rodger! I liked that street!
    Nice flowers by the way.

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  6. I too don't think any two things are identical, nor should they be, Linda. Even my clones have small differences. You have to look close, but they're there.

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  7. Rats! I could tell you some stories about rats, from living in NYC, the founding home of rats! LOL! I always enjoy reading your thought-provoking posts and the art work is always wonderful.

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  8. "Growing up is a descent into conformity..."

    Oh my, I hope that's not a rule cast in cement, or I am WAY behind! True, I rent a ranch-style house, wear Levi's and T-shirts, love pizza and even watch a lot of movies on my DVD player...but have I succumbed to conformity? I don't think so-it feels like I'm still fighting The Good Fight.

    e. e. cummings said it so well:
    "To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

    But then, maybe it's just that stubborn artist streak in me?

    Another great post, my dear. just don't know how you hit it out of the ballpark, week after week! Love the flowers too. :-)

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  9. Nice illustration. It's just imperfect enough.

    "Growing up is a descent into conformity". Fight the good fight, Linda!

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  10. For $90/month, you don't get an exterminator. I had a dog, so Roger's rat count wasn't augmented during my stay, but I never saw a rat in the house. I think maybe you have to have food to have rats? Ah life of the starving art student!

    Love the e. e. cummings quote Susan!

    Thanks for the comments everybody! I hope all the US people are having a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

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  11. I love to learn about things like rat counts on your blog. Hilarious. I don't like digital either. Too flat and perfect. So true. And there are some amazing photos on Pinterest. But so many look photoshopped into oblivion. And don't even get me started on beige subdivisons. How do people find their identical homes?

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  12. So nice to spend some time catching up on your blog. You always write such creative, thoughtful posts to go along with your wonderful work! I love the unconventional aspect of this piece, with the stapled and taped parts providing a sort of trompe l'oeil effect...cool!

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  13. Beautiful illustration and thought-provoking post. Always a pleasure to find your blog!

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  14. I've wondered how people find their identical homes too Sharon. Thanks for the comments everybody!!

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