Nothing and nobody epitomizes my love/hate relationship with art quite like an old school friend I bumped into recently.
You know the kind: 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.
But, of course, it's not his fault my skepticism about The Art World has assumed such epic proportions.
I blame this alienation mainly on three factors: money, ie capitalism, ego, ie capitalism again, and elitist-driven pretence, ie. capitalism. (I use the word pretence solely to avoid saying bullshit twice in the first half dozen paragraphs, but apparently not everyone exercises such discretion.)
"Don't let those bullshit artists spoil your innate need to express yourself creatively," the unrestrained wife chimes in with a cliche of her own, before adding "... not after what they did to your film scripts in Hollywood."
"Well, thanks very much for reminding me, dear."
"That's OK, any time. Here's an idea: How about watercolor?"
"Come again, dear."
"Watercolor. Let's face it, you're a better painter than you are a writer."
Maybe she's right - the resident straight talker, I mean. But surely not watercolor! We all know that medium is custom-made for mild-mannered fuddy-duddies, right? It's bloody difficult, and even more difficult to sell because it's not exactly what you'd call cool or edgy. I mean who on earth would remember Jackson Pollock had he been rolling around drunk on bits of paper rather than oversized canvasses covered in bucket-loads of sexy/gooey oil paint, plus other unidentified substances, no doubt.
But, wait a minute! Isn't that what you're after? To have your cake and eat it too? To let watercolor free you of the gaze of art snobs who disdainfully liken this time-honored, complex and understated medium to something marginally above gardening, carpentry or carpet cleaning.
Oh what artful bliss! Thank you, darling, for the insight and inspiration, and helping me recognize my true calling in life ... apart from washing the dishes.