"Art Imitates Lies"
When I was living in NY I worked with a beautiful Lebanese girl name Reewa who I would flirt with from time to time. Reewa was absolutely stunning in that old Hollywood glamor kind of way. She smelled good, spoke well, and dressed flawlessly. I, on the other hand, looked like a prepubescent bigfoot who had been raised to wear ill-fitting human clothes. Needless to say, she was out of my league. But one day, and to my surprise, the art gods finally smiled upon me. Reewa and got to talking and wanted to know more about my art. On top of that, she absolutely adored it! The conversation quickly took a serious turn when she uttered these unforgettable words, " I'd pose for you if you'd like". "What...the...fuhhhhhh.....?" I thought. I was not prepared for this. I needed to come up with a plan. "How did she want to pose? How should I pose her? Does she want to be nude? Of course she doesn't want to be nude!". After the adrenaline of a Titantic-esque "draw me like your french girls" moment faded, the real fear set in... I would actually have to stop being lazy and paint something.
Back then I was spending more time photoshopping myself on Oprah and Prince's body and sharing it with my friends. I was a real "N.Y. City artist", mostly talking about doing art but not actually getting on with it. The photo shoot came and went and we laughed and it felt fun and natural. I thought, " Maybe that was enough - she won't ask for an actual painting". Oh no, no, no, life isn't like that. She had told everyone we knew that she posed and now the whole building every day wanted to know when they were going to see the great portrait of Reewa, the most beautiful woman in all of Rockafeller Center! Each day that passed without them seeing it made me look creepier and creepier. "What is he really doing with those pictures?" is what their eyes said. Reewa was hopeful but I also saw a hint of sadness that I hadn't finished the painting. "Can't wait to see it?", she'd say with that gorgeous face.
The pressure was too much, I had to throw something together quickly but felt too lazy to paint something. Photoshop! Yes, of course, I will trick her through the power of pixels and buy myself time, maybe even eternity. So I quickly overlaid the photo of her on top of an abstract painting background, at low resolution, and sent it to her via email. When I got into work the next day it was a total nightmare. She had shared it with everyone. She loved it and now wanted to buy it! Everyone was asking me to bring it in and she wanted to support me as an artist by paying me for it.
What did I get myself into? My web of lies was surrounding me - there was no god damn painting to give her! There was only one choice. I had to David Blaine this and stay up as long as it took to try and recreate a painting from a painting that doesn't even exist. Maybe it was the Mountain Dew or hope that this would somehow convince her to be with me, but I did it. I forged that damn painting in the fires of desperation. I brought it in that next Monday concerned that she would immediately see the difference. She didn't. She said, " Wow, it's even better than the picture you sent me! " She gave me the money and I thought to myself, "Good god, I'm Batman."