MY BRUSH LIFE

by Jacek Gulla

7 of 8.

—–Neo Eighties I call them, the party decade. Stars of the day, these on the rise, and these in decline, drunk on champagne courtesy of Leo Castelli, under one roof, wheelchair de Koenig in one corner, and up start Haring in sneakers in the other, crowds ecstatic, rich in texture, big time America, taking the floor in between them, open for talent. Ease yourself out, memory dear. It was such a spoil to see them ram in, and how welcome they are today to remember, this walking disaster, a couple of evident losers on the loose, she a holy idiot child, for him, drunk punk loud mouth, to unload himself hysterical on her. There was in her this otherworldly aura, humble acceptance, with faintest gleam of a smile, for her sorry lot, whatever he chose to treat her to, ugly on drugs and vodka, ageing white in his tired boots and leathers. They lived someplace in EV, and I run often into them on the streets there. The high frequency gallery lights or the light of the hour, they remained the same pathetic show. They would be long forgotten, along with countless other life performers, that made the neighborhood the place where action is, as one Parisian put it for a green Berliner, but for this one surprise discovery my memory holds them dear and close. There was this art show in Tompkins Park one summer, with local artists free to hung work on the fences. Much of it, graffiti esthetics for most, got its share of limelight eventually, with much more gone and done for without trace. That’s where I discovered the humble moron girlfriend painted.

—–I consider her paintings a tragic loss today, Aeolian air gone from our breathing room, as I bring them back to mind. Her brush was joy sensuous and observant to follow, as it brought into view the EV of the hour, Watteau quick to catch this or that fleeting moment, now the Park in buds, dripping April showers, now nocturnal, fabulous with pumpkin-like lanterns, among tree branches, that spell for lost soul something urgent, indecipherable though, and everywhere familiar faces, the guy Amen in his high heel confetti skins, Irv Stettner at his happiest in love with one Dana in Veselka, Dondo the barber with Southern manner and Rickie the Ladder prankster, winds of time blowing us in and out of the picture with caressing breath…

—–I kind of sighed a sigh of relief in their luminous presence. The gal did what I wished I was doing, better still, for all her simple heart. But that was to be the last I saw of the troublesome duo, or her art. It pains to ask, why did I never once have stumbled into her painting on walls anywhere, as the neo party went on afterwards, in their absence? Blame the party disaster, that they were? The wreck her boyfriend, he might have pulled angelic girlfriend out of the scene, that she stays his whipping pole to no end, that the attention due her gifts never gets her, yes, chances are, but where, where would they go? Impossible in NYC, they would sure end up in institution everywhere else.

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