Surrealism is the new Real

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas with Dan Brown

Meeting SO's family is always an interesting time. Especially around the holiday when it's extended family, cousins, SO's of those cousins, and more. While sipping my 2008 Monarch Vidal, I envisioned the family as it's own strain of DNA. All interconnected, you just need to figure out how to place the strands together to form a whole. Thankfully, this morning it's only 4 strands remaining in the household.

One of the family insisted on seeing my portfolio, having been informed that I am an artist. As usual it was passed from her to her daughter, then to other family members. It helps when people are drinking and therefore inclined to "oooh" and "aaah" a little louder than normal, thus attracting the attention of others. After she viewed my drawings and paintings, she asked me about a painting she possessed from the turn of the century, by an artist I had never heard of, Arthur Reid. Or maybe Freid. I admit, she was slurring a bit, and I was just tipsy enough that my memory now more than 12 hours later is failing me. She wanted an appraisal of the painting for it's potential worth.

We had a long and lively conversation about the lives of artists, and what kinds of things raise the worth of the art. Adversity, one-of-a-kind, or the last piece of a series... She listened happily and aptly for longer than I would have expected for someone with an apparently short attention span. (I guess when $$$ is involved, it's far more entertaining. I think under normal circumstances, she would have tuned me out about 5 minutes in.) We discussed possibilities, and if she's lucky, she'll remember one or two of the eight or nine options I had given her for discovering the worth of the painting. First and foremost, find other paintings by the same artist and how much they have been sold for in previous sales. 

What was entertaining for me was at the end of the "lesson" she said "You're just like that guy in those books..." (Narrows it down nicely, doesn't it?) "You know... the Da Vinci Code guy." "Ah," I replied, noting the coincidence that The Lost Symbol was perched in front of me on the coffee table, my bookmark nestled at page 131 at the time. "You mean Robert Langdon, from the book by Dan Brown?"

"Yeah! Him! You sound just like him with all that art history stuff. Did you go to school for this?"

The usual conversation and detail of my artistic schooling commenced, and I found myself amused by the comparison. Especially when she asked if I had been through any adventures like in the Da Vinci Code. I thought about relating a couple of tales, but in order for her to 1) understand and 2) enjoy it, they would have to be 1) dumbed down and 2) heavily embellished. (Though there was this one night in Scotland when I found my to my youth hostel by following landmarks I had spied on the way into town, and I did go by Rosslyn Chapel, but it was really nothing in comparison to finding the holy grail. I wish I had taken more pictures.) I often joke with several of my friends who have a healthy sense of skepticism and humour that when I grow up, I want to be a Symbologist, or perhaps an athletic archeologist with a nemesis and nazis who chase me around, who I can outwit with my knowledge of arcane things at the end of the adventure. Thankfully, they're smart enough to laugh.

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