The Art of Perfection

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told.  Some will be fun, some will not.  Some will be great, some will be less so.  Some stories are true, some are merely possible.  This is one of them.

The Art of Perfection

Vladimir was simply the best.  His professors said so, his classmates all stared at his work with awe, and Vladimir certainly thought it about himself.  Born the son of an engineer and an architect, his innate sense of design and shape was unparalleled.  As a small child he would sketch out intricate pictures that we were beyond his years.  It came as a something of a surprise when this mathematical oriented kid wanted to study painting, but his parents figured he could always fall back on his more analytical skills should his artistic abilities fail him.

As he progressed through the art program, Vladimir found that his painting skills were unmatched.  After studying the style and examples of any artist, he could reproduce their efforts on canvass.  Each line and every brush stroke was efficiently broken down in his mind and he recreated the steps that went into past endeavors.  However, while he was technically the best in the world of practices and techniques, there was a very important area that he lacked.  Vladimir didn’t put any of himself into his art.  His teachers would try to tell him that the need for exposure of oneself through their medium was critical.  Vladimir only argued that he was doing the work, and that work was flawless.  What more did they want?

Like each painting that he sought to recreate, Vladimir soared through his classes.  The studying wasn’t a chore to him since he was used to exerting himself in school.  Professors marked him down for lacking emotional expression on the canvass, but that was not enough reason to fail him in any class.  Vladimir exited school having all the needed skills and tools to paint, but none of the heart.

Vladimir could not understand why his works were not selling.  He had created dozens of samples for his school portfolio, but none attracted any commercial interest.  He painted constantly, but every time he tried to show his work, the studios turned him down.  They were certainly impressed by how someone so young had mastered so much, yet they never felt compelled to look at his next piece.  Each painting was a carefully laid out, intricate, and somehow entirely devoid of emotion.

That is how Vladimir, the best of the best, found himself painting on the street three years after graduation.  He had mainly gotten by on creating drawings for technical manuals and the occasional commercial cover.  Not surprisingly, having one’s work featured on a box for paperback books didn’t fulfill Vladimir.  He wanted to succeed as an artist, not as one who merely collects a paycheck for whatever assignment came along.  He watched the people stroll by and painted the ones that stood out.

Image

Paintings by Marek Otolski

As he worked, carefully placing each person in a position and location best matched their logical spot; he noticed that the wind was picking up.  He began regretting using such a large canvas on an outdoor project.  Without warning, a gust of wind rushed behind his work, grabbed ahold of it, and carried the canvas away from its stand.

Vladimir chased after the painting, but it was too late.  It had been thrown through the air and tossed onto the ground face-down.  A last little burst of wind had pushed the object along.  Vladimir recovered the painting and fount it had been smudged and scraped by its trip along the ground.  To further annoy the artist, rain began to patter down.  Vladimir was vexed to see drops of rain smearing and smudging his efforts.  He angrily pulled the work close to him and retreated towards the awning where his supplies remained.

Vladimir surveyed the canvas and knew that no amount of work or tricks could recover his would-be masterpiece.  There was simply no turning back.  Enraged that the world would turn against him so, Vladimir grabbed his roughest brush, slathered it with dark red paint, and attacked the painting.  His anger and frustration were expressed with each brush strong.  After his fury had subsided, he put down the paintbrush.  Looking about him, Vladimir noticed that he had attracted a crowd.

“My word”, an older gentleman said.  “That’s simply, it’s, well it’s extraordinary.”

“It’s breathtaking”, his companion offered.  “I mean, your visceral creations… the way you’ve made each person every person by obscuring their identity.  And then you try to take them out but they’re too strong to disappear entirely.”

“Those red strokes; they’re so violent and primal”, commented a younger man with multiple facial piercings that was clearly quite excited by the work.  “Do you have other works like these?”

Many paintings later, Vladimir found his niche.  His angry works were booked in galleries months in advance.  The critics cheered his exploration of our inner anger brought to the forefront of his canvas.  Vladimir didn’t rub every painting into the ground, just the ones he was truly invested in.  Soon after his weather-filled encounter, he began to have more fun with his work.  He let his technique take a back seat to what he was really feeling.  He still had some anger to express on the canvas, what person doesn’t?  Still, he found himself immensely more satisfied with his art.  Vladimir now knew that paintings created without feeling were hardly works of art.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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