I awoke feeling a little less cloudy today, despite the weather turning in Perth.
As the rain falls outside I sit up in my double bed and wonder why all motel beds leave me with such a sore back. I open the blinds to see a grey city. I can hear the sound of Saturday morning traffic, made louder by tyres on the wet roads.
I reflect on the past few weeks and in particular, opening night of the exhibition.
It was a good night, but why does there always have to be (at least) one tosser who unknowingly tries to make it not so.
I didn't catch his name, purely because I lost interest very early in our conversation. He was around 60 I suppose, quite rotund, balding white hair and a bulbous nose - the type worn by a number of aging alcoholics. His rosacea of course, may not have been caused by excess drinking, but the bullshit he was spinning caused me to believe it was a real possibility. Either way, his appearance was not the offensive part, but as he kept talking, he became ugly in my eyes.
I'm often in two minds as to whether I should attend my own opening nights. Whilst I used to enjoy the attention, I now feel a little more awkward about being in the spotlight. It's my work on show, not ME. There is a part of me that wants the work to speak for itself. The other part is a little more curious and wants to see people's reaction to the paintings, and even eavesdrop on their conversations about the work - although the comments are not always complimentary, it still always fascinates me. I must say, I also do enjoy and appreciate those people, whom after the speeches have pointed out my identity, put a hand on my shoulder and say "thank you" and smile. Such a simple gesture can lift my spirits and give me hope, unlike the words of the aforementioned tosser.
I happened to be standing near 3 of my works when we crossed paths. We were introduced without the exchange of his name. I was prepared to talk to him and smile as he asked me questions about my work. That quickly changed to wanting to roll my eyes and walk away as he started up about seeing me across the room and thinking I looked like an artist and some other bullshit about being pretty. I let those dimwitted remarks slide and continued to answer a few of his questions until his comments just became too fucking stupid to listen to anymore. He'd picked up on the fact that I was the model for some of my pieces and one in particular, of me and a bear, which just so happens to symbolise my late Russian grandfather. In the painting I am naked, but all you can see is my right breast. This man proceeded to eye off the painting, raise his eyebrows then look back at my bust, (and I certainly do not possess a rack of great proportions), and say "well Simone, I wouldn't mind getting to know you better".
Now, whilst I have painted naked, and clothed, women in a sensual and/or sexual light before, what was kind of funny, and what this man failed to see, was that in this particular piece, the nakedness of the figure actually represented innocence, vulnerability and a sense of purity. Regardless of his words being said in jest, (or not), it was such a fucking stupid thing to say to an artist, or any woman, let alone someone you have never met. It's NOT funny. I am not a prude by any means but that sort of talk from someone I have just met is just fucking stupid and I can't be bothered.
I walked to the back of the room and engrossed myself in conversation with someone I did know, (and had not seen for about 14 years), and despite a few attempts from him to get back into a conversation, I managed to pretty much ignore him for the rest of the evening.
I had to laugh when he came up in conversation the next day. The gallery directors took us, (the artists) out to lunch and he came up as we discussed 'last night'. They asked if he acted inappropriately, to which I responded yes, but said I could handle it. I did say that it was probably fortunate that it was me he'd spoken to like that and not another, perhaps more 'easily offended' or younger artist, and as much as I thought it was inappropriate, I knew to just walk away from him and not engage in anymore of his bullshit. It's not the first time and won't be the last. It was nice that the guys were concerned though, as some of those 'tossers' in the past have actually been the ones in their position.
Lunch was enjoyable and I am so grateful to be dealing with people who know how to treat their artists well and truly believe in the work. The effort that they, and their team went to in preparation for this exhibition is a testament to them and the fact that there are still good guys on the other side of the art world!
So whilst there might always be (at least) one tosser, the good guys outweighed them this time!