The trick

Excerpt from Family Anatomy, a work in progress…


My first gallery showing was not a success. I was too much of a rube to understand that paintings don’t sell themselves. I was supposed to press the flesh, speak knowledgeably, and smile until it hurt. Other artists could afford to pout and pontificate, wear flash-frozen frowns and become slowly inebriated in the corner, but for a newcomer, presence was everything. Promotion wasn’t part of my education, and I still don’t know that it can be taught without sacrifice to one’s character. Selling yourself to those with a critical eye is an art form unto itself. The trick is to creatively masturbate in the middle of a crowd and make it appear that you’re making love to each and every collector in the room, tenderly and selflessly. And still make them think it was entirely their decision. A neat trick if you can pull it off, a career-killer if you don’t. I had just enough native charm and naiveté  to keep afloat, but not enough cunning to be taken seriously. If I hadn’t met Saul, I probably would have headed back home and become…what?… a social photographer for the Rawbum Weekly Herald? A paint-by-numbers collector? The proverbial drunk in a gutter? Saul taught me how to make love to everyone in the room. And I discovered how much I enjoyed it.

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