Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I just got my letter...

Truth be told, standing outside on a nice day, whoring around with the media and watching people write on my paintings is one of my favorite things in the world. But was sometimes a little difficult.

I mean, watching people write hooker jokes on Big Eliot was one thing. But many of the people signing the painting today have had their lives dramatically altered for the worse. Sure there were giggles. "Nice Job, Cheesedick" made me smile. Ditto: "Pass the bong." One guy clearly hadn't gotten any of the recent memos. He wrote: "Should we raise more capital?"

But there was the dark stuff as well. Someone wrote "My blood is boiling." Another wrote: "Burn in hell, Jimmy." But the topper, the one that broke my heart, was by a woman named Bea Lana. She looked like she was in her mid to late forties, a secretary or other support personnel. She came up to me and asked, "I'm a Bear employee, may I write something?" I gave her the one of the red pens designated for Bear Stearns employees, and she stepped up and wrote: "I just got my letter!!" Then she signed it "bea lana, 5/28/2008." I thanked her and she walked back inside. I think she told me her last day was tomorrow, but I could be wrong about that.

When people ask me why I'm doing this (a question that comes up often), I tell them one of two things. First, I tell them I like that I can give people a voice--as much of a voice as five or ten words can be--at a time when they have no voice; no say in a matter of considerable importance to them. Alternatively, I tell them I like doing my annotated paintings because they are, on some level, documents capturing a moment in history.

Thank you, Bea.


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