Friday, April 17, 2015

Tainted with Success: Thought on Diamonds & a Few Drawings

 I have an image stuck in my head.  While waiting in the car with sleeping Austin, puttering in a sketchbook I started playing with triangles again.  I had been working with a checkerboard style of shading and primarily bounding my patterns in squares.  However, the sketchbook allows me to experiment more.   I was looking for a way to literally break out of the box.  This sketch grew organically, despite its measured geometric components. The result was a diamond.  I wasn't thinking about diamonds, nor has it been something that I have visually obsessed over before, but as this was hitting the page I knew that it was soon going to be something that I would obsess over.

Thinking back, diamonds have really only entered my conscientiousness when thinking about engagement rings and in a lone short story by F. Scott Fitgerald, Diamond as Big as the Ritz.  Fitzgerald is super important to me, as I read him exclusively during the rough patches at the end of my first major relationship.  Diamond was from "Babylon Revisited," a book of short stories that I read on the plane to and from Minneapolis.  My time in Minneapolis is qualified as both the most crestfallen and defeated that I've ever felt, but also the most able to function and live on a small means.  It was interesting then, to be reading Fitzgerald's Jazz Age stories of wealth and extravagance.  I think that the image of the diamond sort of sits in the back of my head as an unconscious sort of relic to that era and the subsequent breaking off of my first engagement.  It is all of the things of luster, but imperfect and valueless too.  

The diamond is also the perfect metaphor for the art star.  The poor, struggling artist attempts to create something to live on.  The story is colloquial, universal.  Our stereotypes depend on it.  The efficacy of the art object is lost out of prudence.  We've built a society that expects artists to remain poor and so, in order for the artist to make money, not only must they develop an authentic and unique style, but they must surpass the overwhelming hurdle of precedence, and vault themselves into the land of the prosperous.

The diamond is a sign of hope, however.  It starts life as just another rock and until it is discovered remains a rock.  Upon its discovery however it undergoes a metamorphosis.  It becomes an object of desire.  It signifies love and stability.  It is tainted with success.


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