Anti-Rockwell, the Banksy wanna-be, and nude art photos

It’s dawned on me that I didn’t finish telling you the story of Friday night.

We all headed back to Edinburgh on the train. Intern2 and I spent time catching up and even reminiscing a little. Talking about what everyone has gotten up to over the last years. Boobs moved back to London and is now working as Senior Editor for the cultural section of a major newspaper. Her husband stopped working and is a stay at home Dad. Intern2 actually had Boobs do a couple of guest lectures at the Uni he was working at. NFEditor is out of jail. She didn’t spend much time in the end (if any, I think she got time spent), but she’s pretty much disappeared from the radar. Heard a rumour she runs a tea shop in some seaside town, but that’s just a rumour. She would be a fucking miserable tea lady. Goatee, part owner and manager of an art gallery in Glasgow, and HP…

I paused, because at this point I was still upset about us…I wasn’t trusting him…and I didn’t want to get too much into it.

But, the cultural world in Scotland is small and everyone knows your business whether you want them to or not. Intern2 had heard that HP left MNM and was living in Dundee. Then he raised his eyebrows asking the question.

So, I answered that he was living with me and then I admitted we were having problems.

Intern2, being the ever nice guy, said, ‘I don’t know what to say…’

And his husband cut him off and said, ‘Is he worth it?’

Simultaneously Intern2 and I ‘Yes!’

I gave Intern2 the eye, and he said ‘What? He’s fit. He’s smart. And he’s just that right amount of geek.’

Katie then piped up and said, ‘And dating him, she’s not with those other ugo losers she picks up.’

As much as I hate to admit it, Katie has a point.

We had all been sitting at a table with Hubby’s sister across the isle. She then leaned in and said, ‘Just because he’s perfect he may not be perfect for you.’

She too had a point.

I told them how HP and I had been drifting apart, how I’m worried I’m losing him, and how he has a secret he can’t tell me. Hubby asked if maybe HP wanted to come out. Intern2 and I agreed that that wasn’t it. Katie told me I was being stupid, put on her headphones and switched seats with Hubby’s sister.

The rest of the journey was spent dissecting my relationship with HP. It solved nothing and I found no answers, but I felt better. It just felt good to talk to people again. To feel like I had friends with whom I could gossip and natter. It was amazing. I miss my friends so much!

Once we were in Edinburgh it was a manic night. Rather than go into it in detail I’ll give you the crazy timeline.

21.00: Arrive at ‘gathering’ in a warehouse where champaign and nibbles are being served. Talked to all kinds of cool art types, but it seemed everyone was there with someone else, so I never figured out why we were ‘gathering’. Too many hipsters for it to be a UKIP or Britain First type event. But I am kind of worried as no one knew why we were there. Although I’d bet the BNP doesn’t wear ironic t-shirts.

22.15(ish): Talking to a friend of Hubby who said he was famished. None of us had eaten. We went back to his loft in Leith for an impromptu dinner party.

22.45(ish): About 20 people are crammed into this open loft. Came back with tables and chairs and food and wine and more food and more wine. We moved all the furniture back and strung the tables together to fashion a giant long table for 20 people.

We ate and drank and chatted at this table like it was Christmas Day dinner.

00.30-3.45(ish): We’re sitting amongst empty plates and food crumbs and empty bottles of wine and some said it looks like the an anti-Rockwell image. (Norman Rockwell, as I learned that night, was a famous painter known for his picturesque America scenes. So anti-Rockwell uses the same nostalgia but depicts the messy, the ugly, or the untraditional.) There was a photographer ther who decided he wanted to capture this, but Rockwell pictures are heavily staged. There was a costume designer and makeup artist there as well. They disappeared for a bit and came back with what seemed like enough clothes and wigs and make up for a film set. We all dressed up like vintage figures, and the photographer arranged us into photo shoots. We left the mess on the table and floor and let the artsy ones pose us about. I was a flapper with tattooed arms (added of course) with a cigarette on a stick leaning across talking to a gangster in a zute suit who was on an iPhone in the middle of empty wine bottles. Then they dressed me like a 50s house wife grabbing the arse of a Mad Man looking guy in a suit while he hoovered crumbs.

Out side of the absolute fun we had, it was such a cool and brilliant idea. And it was so collaborative. Oh, and Katie got to know the costume person, and she helped her. Running about dressing people up.

4.00(ish): As we were drinking…a lot…another artist in attendance had a bright idea, and as soon as he said it everyone hushed. It was like the freaking Messiah had spoken. Right, so there was this chappy who was hanging back. Just watching. After it all had died down and a few people even went home, this guy just points at Katie and says, “You. I want to paint you. And your mother.’

I was really confused until I realised he meant me. ‘I’m her sister. And I’m only a few years older.’ I was indignant.

He then walks over to Katie pulls up her top, I jump to beat the shit out of him, but Hubby holds me back and says quietly, ‘He’s working.’

And…Katie punches him in the nuts.

After the it all dies down we discover that this chappy is a really famous artist…sort of.

For his art he chooses public places that are known for being discriminatory, he then takes people that are discriminated against paints their bodies to perfectly match that landscape from a certain angel. At dawn or at night when no one is around he places the painted people there AND other people who are not painted but in clothes that are representative of the majority force and places them around the scene leaning and stuff on the painted people. When you look at the final photograph you have to look really closely at the picture to find the painted person. (I am so not explaining this well.)

Oh, and no one knows who this artist is except his agent who places his work in galleries. He likes to keep his identity a secret because he calls his art work ‘guerrilla’. But I totally call bullshit on that. Everyone in the room knows him and he works with a giant team.

Also, I’ll be honest. He’s trying to make a ‘statement’, but it did seem kind of artsy self-involved. But who cares. It was fun, weird, I got too be in two art installations in one night, and I probably only agreed to being painted naked because I was drunk and it was in the moment.

Oh my god. It just dawned on me. I have art photos of me! Cool!

So, here’s what happened. Katie and I and a few other people piled into a van and went to St Andrews where BanksyWannaBe had a hotel room. He’d called ahead and his people were there (see why it’s bullshit no one knows who he is). He’d taken a bunch of photos the day before at dawn. He set up a projector with the image he was going to do. Laid Katie, one other girl, and I respectively in fron of the screen and a team of five or six people painted us completely (well the side that showed on the photo), hair included. When they were done we looked like grass–to a photo realistic detail.

The painting took about 45 minutes in total. Really impressive.

Then we went down to the Old Course and positioned us exactly in a certain way. Then the guys dressed as golfers came out and they were placed. The other girl was a part of Swindon bridge and a guy had to pose like he was about to walk across her. I was lying on my stomach with a golf bag between my legs and come guy with his foot on my back and he was pulling a club from the bag. Katie was on her back with a golf tee and ball in her mouth and some guy pretending to hit it.

One person kept complaining that it was inaccurate and you wouldn’t play that part of the course in that way, but no one else seemed to care.

We were on and off the golf course in less than half an hour.

The photos were gorgeous. The sun rising and the pink sky, and you really did have too look closely to see us. Then once you did it was all you could look at. It really did make a statement about women being invisible but also used. Then again this statement is being made by a white posh bloke, which makes me wonder if this ‘statement’ is just a gimmick for his artist manifesto. But I guess he can’t help being a white posh guy.

What was also weird was that I was that I was naked, like starkers except for some flip flops, for nearly two hours and I hardly noticed. I think it was the throngs of people, and the business and the drink. And, I guess, the paint. In someways it was like wearing leggings and a one-piece bathing suit.

He made us sign a release and a confidentiality agreement that we wouldn’t tell anyone the name of the artist or his crew. Then we took turns for a shower, someone made some breakfast, and around 9 o’clock that morning Hubby, his sister and I wandered down to the a West Sands. (Intern2 went home before St Andrews.) The plan was to nap on the sand before parting ways. But it was such a strange amazing wonderful night. We just lie there on a blanket stollen from the hotel staring off to sea. No sleeping, no talking.

Not much before noon, some people from BanksyWannaBe’s crew came tripping down. They were heading back to Edinburgh but stopping off at a sea side village for a fish supper. It sounded like the perfect end to a weird 24 hours, so we came along.

Yummy fish. Great conversation. Then buses for me back to Dundee with bits of green paint still in my hair.

After writing this, I’ve come to realise why I’m drawn to blog. It puts things in perspective. Writing all this down has made me realise how silly I’ve been about HP. I got home on Saturday afternoon and I should have been revelling in my bizarre night, but I was fretting about things my boyfriend may or may not have been doing. I am a weirdo moron. Why was I even freaking out about HP? I’m now the type that has had art photos taken. That’s what I should have been blogging about on Saturday afternoon.

Holy shit! Something’s just dawned on me. If Dad or Mum find out that I let Katie do nude photos, even if you couldn’t see anything because of paint, they are going to shoot me. Holy shit! How could I have let Katie do this. Shit! What kind of a sister am it? Katie’s not the fuck up. I am. Now I’m freaking out about this.

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