Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A few years ago, I was talking with an artist (I'll ask him before I name him). We were looking through his portfolio together and I asked him to tell me about the significance of the curled ladder that appeared over and over in his paintings.
He stared at me for a moment and said, "What ladder?"
"That one," I pointed, "and that one, that one, and....this one."
He was stunned.
I felt really badly, as though I'd complimented someone on their mismatched eye color only to find out they'd never noticed it before.
He thanked me and reassured me he was happy to realize it. But he was flipping through his portfolio, page after page, more and more slowly. Even during our goodbye. I felt really badly, and even worse, for finding it all funny, which quietly, I did.
I haven't seen him since, though I hear he's still doing well. He is very talented.
Tomorrow I shall look him up and try to find out what indifferent angels and curved ladders may have in common.


Anonymous said...

Just a few weeks ago a friend pointed out recurring numbers in things I write that show up without fail and without my notice, so I know exactly what you mean. I'm fascinated by mythological and archetypal criticism, as they explore these recurring themes and really lend a lot of insight. It makes me wonder exactly how much any given artist can shape what he or she produces, and to what extent the art shapes us.

jordan's mom said...

Really don't know why you would feel badly about pointing this out to your friend; people pay me lots of money to point out their "curled ladders"....You may well have unlocked new worlds for that artist....

Carl V. Anderson said...

More amazing work! We are ever appreciative of you sharing pictures of your work. It is inspiring. Thanks!