I like a nice work of art, especially when it’s one I can re-use for English assignments. This was true with a painting that I still have up in my room, both in black and white and in color. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it looks as though I have to: up close it’s a woman in the mirror. Far away it’s a skeleton.
This is nowhere near my favorite work of art, but I think everyone needs a nice book, a nice painting, and a nice pair of L.L. Bean boots to cling to. Death of a Salesman was and still is that book for me. AP English Lit exam, AP English Language exam, in-class essays, practice essays, SAT essays…If you see Death of a Salesman, you’ll know it’s me…and all the 5 billion other kids!
The painting that I should remember but can’t was the one in the room of a university admissions officer. I was having my first college interview, and I was nervous beyond belief. I had practiced all my practice questions. Yes I’m excited about college. Yes I try my best. Yes I will make the Dean’s List. Etc., etc.
Then there came a question I had not anticipated, which is why I’m going to use elipses dots. The question was…what does this painting on the wall mean to you?
Really, Interviewer? We were getting along so well. It was swell. You liked my books and I pretended to like yours. We were both headed in the right directions…until you asked me about the painting on the wall.
So I faked it. I faked it ’til I made it. I went on a twenty minute tangent about the colors and the shapes and the profundity of meaning in that $5 painting.
Maybe it was a test: stand on a sidewalk in New York City and grab five bucks out of your pocket and pay for some street art to ask prospective students about. Test their creativity.
It was an entertaining painting, that’s for sure, with the swirls and the lines and the curves. Yet it was too upbeat, like people.
I like my paintings like I like my people–deeper. If Nancy Clutter were a painting, would you buy her? If you could re-use the Nancy Clutter painting for every task, would you buy it? Yes, yes I would.