“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares,
I paint my own reality.”
He just wanted his art up. That’s all.
Bruce is our friend. He’s settling in to a new apartment after he was kicked out of his previous abode because Brandy, his 130-year-old comfort dog, was sitting in the grass without a leash when the apartment manager happened along. I suppose rules are rules, but karma is karma. I hope it works.
So now, here he was, displaced, disheartened, dis and dat. We sat in Char’s patio while they enjoyed their evening cocktails. We talked about life, politics, how the move was going. He shrugged, that look of someone who hasn’t quite found his footing.
And then his eyes lit up with hope. He and Mo had gotten out his artwork yesterday and moved them around to various places seeing how they would fit in. They apparently had a battle plan in place. All that was left was to hang them. He thought that would go a long ways toward settling in.
“So why don’t you do it,” asked Char, always one to suggest work when she wouldn’t actually be involved.
And so we did.
He has a fabulous, eclectic array of art, from realism to abstract to quirky. The art was all leaning on the wall where they had decided their new spots should be. He began.
Bruce measured everything carefully with the precision of someone who once worked with his hands. Tape measure, left to right, up to down, a measurement to account for the height lost for the wire, algebra equations I didn’t understand, pencil marks on the wall, nails hammered in with the manly man tape measure.
One by one, the paintings went up. Char stood watch with her martini, barking instructions. A little to the left. No, to the right. No, to the left again. Never trust someone who drinks her martini out of an antique Green Bay Packers collectible cup.
A painting over the TV. And the couch. And the piano. A “Shalom, y’all” greeting in the doorway. High, low, everywhere, all in just the right places.
Mo tried to rearrange his dining room set because one of the chairs partially blocked a painting. Bruce pointed out that one person no longer would be able to sit at the table under her new arrangement. Mo stared blankly at him, unsure why that would be a problem. This, after all, was art. Bruce won. Mo pouted.
More measuring, more pounding, more hanging. And then, we were done.
Bruce sat down in his chair, looked around, and smiled.
“Now it feels like home,” he said.
Brandy curled up on the couch and put her head in Mo’s lap. Apparently she agreed.
And then we went home. Home being the place where all of our art resides.
Paint your own reality, Frida Kahlo said. And we did. They can boot you from your apartment, they can disrupt your life, they can lock you down.
But they can’t tell you where to hang your art.
Nightmares can become dreams. In reality, all you need is a tape measure, a few nails and a stout quarantini. Done, done and done.
Welcome home, Bruce and Brandy.
I like your new neighbors already.