Hip to be Square


Let me tell you a story. . .

The other day I was killing time at a discount bookstore by browsing through titles and sifting through stacks of Readers Digest. Popular Mechanics, Time, etc. I came upon a good art book, one that needed opening not just beyond the introduction page. Needless to say, book hunters are often nice quiet people, those that usually are polite and give way to others who might want to reach a well placed copy underneath a huge stack. People who exclaim in muted ahhs and oohs as they caress lovingly a long sought after book or publication.

But not on this day.Today, I’m forced to play nice to a young woman on wedgies, shawl and fake tattered jeans.

I say forced, because, right after seeing me open the coffee table book (it was a coffee table book) she came right over and asked to see if the artwork inside are good. I told her yes they are, and added it’s something Norman Rockwell might have done, or a student of Rockwell art. Quickly, this young woman, as I have surmised, may have been enrolled at some point or another, in the arts, started expertly dissecting what seemed like textbook definitions and  boy she did sound like she knows what she’s talking about. She even pointed out the best pencils and coloring pens, how she buys her materials from Powerbooks and not NBS because NBS is so “masa”.

So I, still civilized and semi-educated, listened and waited for my cue to jump in the conversation anytime soon.

Out of curiosity, she asked me what I do, and I told her that I am looking to start my own art studio of sorts. The lady dropped her several copies of Cosmopolitan on the middle bin and showed me a rather expensive looking sketch book with an inlaid title on the leather cover “sketchbook” in silver leaf.

She showed me her doodles.

Hearing her talk, she could be an expert. Seeing her doodles, well…

Let’s just say, her work is something anybody could have done, when they were in fourth grade. She’s no different from those people who think doodling deserve an organmization and a t-shirt, and a page on Facebook.

She asked me if I have some of my work with me. I was embarassed to embarass this young woman but it would be wrong to decline, so I showed her my large portfolio which I had scanned hours before. I saw her jaw drop. but for for a moment got her mojo back and commented that I need to add more texture, but otherwise my work was, as she said, wonderful, as her cheeks turn a little crimson.

I left the discount book store with the young woman fussing about her shawl while pretending to look at novels when all she had in her hands were just women’s magazines.

I love these hipsters. They can tell themselves a lie that thay are artistic, and believe it. And they playout the part by wearing what internet calls bohemian look, or artist fashion, and buy expensive drawing materials so they can flaunt them while sipping overpriced coffee and leaching wifi somewhere. At least it’s how I visualize them.

I got home with barely enough money for the next day’s expenses.

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