BUT IS IT ART? // Stheno

 

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TATI: It looks like you’re obsessed with Gorgons, Tony.

TONY: Only insofar as they’re fun to draw. Especially this one!

TATI: Yes, I saw you had a lot of fun with this. Is this a man or a woman, by the way?

TONY: A woman. Stheno was the oldest of the three Gorgon sisters. She was immortal too.

TATI: Hmmm… so, it’s not a bunch of penises here…

TONY: Nope. Just a bunch of pubic snakes that would be very unfriendly to one if it ever got close.

TATI: Now it’s getting interesting, Tony! So, do you have a theory about Gorgon physiology? Every hair is a snake? Not only the hair on their heads?

TONY: Exactly. Everywhere there would usually be hair, are snakes instead. So, it stands to reason they wouldn’t have any form of hair removal. No Brazilian wax for Stheno!

TATI: I had hoped for this answer, Tony. Now I’m going to have fun!

TONY: That sounds… ominous.

TATI: Hee hee hee…

TONY: Now you’re scaring me.

TATI: Question number one. Her brows. Where are the snakes?

TONY: Oh, she plucked them.

TATI: Plucked? But plucking doesn’t get rid of all the hair. It only makes the brow a different shape, or thinner. There would still be snake heads there.

TONY: Okay, then Gorgons don’t have eyebrows.

TATI: But I see them on your drawing!

TONY: Oh, shit. Erm… Those are cosmetic tattoos!

TATI: And what about the lack of armpit hair?

TONY: Laser hair removal!

TATI: But moments ago you said something about no Brazilian wax for Stheno!

TONY: Next question!

TATI: Hm. Okay. Your wish is my command. What kind of black liquid is that dripping around her feet?

TONY: That’s blood from a… well, penis. It got too close. Can you see it lying there in the middle?

TATI: Oh, so this blob is a penis? I was sure it was her reflection in the water. Or a part of her left leg. I dunno.

TONY: Nope. It’s a penis. A willy. Man’s bouncy ball buddy. A one-eyed wonder weasel. Hitler’s salute. A salty pube kebab.

TATI: Okay, you can stop phallomorphologising, Tony. I got it. It’s a penis.

TONY: Well, I didn’t want there to be any ambiguity.

TATI: Where’s the head?

TONY: Erm. What?

TATI: The head, Tony! The man’s head! His noggin. Pate. Bean. Dome.

TONY: Oh! I thought you were still referring to the penis!

TATI: Sigh. It’s plain to see where your thinking centre is located. I’m referring to the upper part of the human body that (usually) contains the brain.

TONY: Are you saying that there should be a man’s severed head at Stheno’s feet?

TATI: Of course! Let’s speak sense, shall we?

TONY: Well, I could have put one there, but I felt that a severed penis would be a more powerful statement of her independence and ferocity.

TATI: But a man approaches Stheno with an obvious intent to copulate. (I don’t comment on his taste though. They say never speak ill of the dead.)

TONY: Perhaps he was attracted to thickset women with unmanageable hair? I don’t know!

TATI: Obviously, his head was equally as close and important a target as his penis. Agreed?

TONY: Well, yeah! What’s your point? Are you saying I should have drawn a severed head instead of a severed penis?

TATI: No. I’m just trying to be logical. At the same time Stheno’s lower serpentry was busy with his penis, her higher serpentry would have been busy with his head. But, for some strange reason, the snakes on her head look clean and pretty relaxed. Do they have a different attitude toward men?

TONY: Maybe her ‘higher serpentry’ was tied up in a neat little bun at the time? I don’t bloody know! I just drew the damn thing. I didn’t think too much about the logic of it all!

TATI: It’s evident that you didn’t think at all, Mr Artist. Let me tell you how it should loo—

TONY: Oh. Fucking goody.

TATI: The serpents on her head should be dripping with blood also, and the man’s severed head should be laying somewhere around.

TONY: Somewhere around, huh? What if it’s just out of shot? Did you think of that? Huh? Did ya?!

TATI: Of course! Her posture, actually, can point to the possibility that she has just kicked the head off his shoulders—like a soccer ball—and her happy expression can mean that she scored a goal.

TONY: See? I didn’t need to draw a man’s severed head after all. There’s a perfectly legitimate story behind its absence.

TATI: Well, I’ve just explained it, Tony. What would you do without me? Those angry art critics would tear you apart with their tricky questions!

TONY: Really though? It’s not like they’re even paying any attention.

TATI: Yes, they are! And we need to invent an explanation of why the snakes on Stheno’s head are clean. Only then will I allow you to post this picture on your Instagram.

TONY: Oh, I’m sorry, your highness. I didn’t realise I needed your permission!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

BUT IS IT ART? // Moon Me

 

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TATI: Tony, if you were an art gallery guide, what would you tell the visitors about this picture?

TONY: You mean, other than it was drawn by a rank amateur? Damn. I don’t know. Do I have to comment at all? How’s about I say it’s a silly little scribble that has no real meaning? Would that be good enough?

Tati takes on a nerdy expression and a dull academic tone.

TATI: Nope, I mean something like: ‘This picture presents a crescent man with a pretty athletic pair of legs and a sexy butt. Its arms look weak, and despite it being an Olympic athlete from ancient Greece it has a lot of trouble because of its heavy head. It can’t run and it falls over every time. This fact frustrates the crescent man, and makes it yell from helplessness and despair because it didn’t win Dolichos in 720 BC.’ A professional description, dude.

Tony goggles at the picture with a slack jaw.

TONY: Are we seeing the same thing?

TATI: ‘The artist’s intention is to show the tragedy of the character, its physical and spiritual torments.’

TONY: Oh, okay. Sounds good. Let’s roll with all that stuff you said.

TATI: And it should be a discobolus, not a runner!

Tony is starting to warm to this now.

TONY: That sounds feasible. Someone give the moon man a discus!

Tati waggles her finger before Tony’s nose.

TATI: I suppose it has a discus already.

TONY: Or maybe it is the discus?

TATI: Exactly. It could try to grab itself by the nape and throw itself as far as it can. But, alas, its hands, as I mentioned before, are too weak.

TONY: Yeah, that seems a bit strenuous for the poor geezer.

TATI: It hasn’t got a chance in hell.

Tony sniffles. He looks at the crescent man with deep pity. He had no idea that the character had been leading such a dramatic life up until this point.

Tati smiles and pats his shoulder.

TATI: See, Tony? It isn’t so hard. You take a turn now. What would you tell the visitors about this picture?

TONY: Erm, let’s see: ‘Drawing of a middle aged moon man whose parents would have liked him to have made something of himself but he only ended up disappointing them with his poor life choices. He is screaming in frustration at having been outshone by the surrounding stars and planetary bodies. Now both of his parents are dead, and his hopes of redeeming himself in their eyes are dead too. The drawing has rough pencil linework that has not been cleaned up for the final version, and the background is of a nebulous, unspecified setting because the artist couldn’t be arsed to render it in any detail. The moon man himself hasn’t even been carefully posed, therefore it looks like he’s puking up one of his legs. God, the artist is a hack. Tear this drawing off the gallery wall and burn it immediately. It’s a silly little scribble that has no real meaning.’

TATI: WOW, Tony! That’s a horse of another colour!

TONY: No, a horse has four legs.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019