‘What’s the price of a crushed heart?’: Art dreams dashed in a carpark

Although the columnist's artwork wasn't appreciated as she had hoped, she will keep on creating


Recently I’ve been involved in an underground art exhibition. Literally. It was in a basement parking. There were 21 of us taking part, all recently graduated art college mates, one of whom just happens to manage a carpark. We called ourselves Ambiguity because we didn’t understand what we were all about either. Still, studying art teaches you a few things, one of which I could’ve learned from a Nike box: just do it. So we just did it. Out came my ceramic quilt one more time, all 115 pieces of it, now getting a bit battered but nothing a little…

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Recently I’ve been involved in an underground art exhibition. Literally. It was in a basement parking.

There were 21 of us taking part, all recently graduated art college mates, one of whom just happens to manage a carpark.

We called ourselves Ambiguity because we didn’t understand what we were all about either.

Still, studying art teaches you a few things, one of which I could’ve learned from a Nike box: just do it. So we just did it. Out came my ceramic quilt one more time, all 115 pieces of it, now getting a bit battered but nothing a little hidden tape and some superglue couldn’t fix.

I displayed it on a pallet, arranged as if someone was underneath it, their ghostly head resting on the clay pillow.

Our exhibition ran for a week, finishing last Thursday because Steve needed his carpark back. We took it in turns to invigilate, to do crowd control … to sweep away the tumbleweeds as they blew through the basement.

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But last Monday, I got a thrilling message from one of that day’s invigilators: was I selling my blanket, and how much did it cost? Someone actually wanted my art. My heart swelled and I couldn’t stop smiling. This was it!

I replied cautiously though, explaining that as the piece was “kind of breaking” I didn’t think I could sell it to anyone in good faith but, on that understanding, was somebody interested? All offers considered! Smiley face.

Her reply? Well, her young daughter had been at the exhibition with her and had leapt over my clay blanket, misjudged and landed in the middle of it. She wanted to buy it, or pay for the damage, so how much?

Oh. Right. What is the price of a crushed heart?

I was mortified. Imagine it, actually thinking someone might want to look at my stuff forever, to part with their hard-earned cash to own it? Ridiculous.

I laughed it off. “Oh, it was breaking anyway,” I said, then crawled down into the dark earth to cry.

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But art college is full of learning that transfers to life. Along with “if in doubt, go bigger” and “the magic happens in the doing”, there’s the thing that Nike forgot: just keep doing it.

I will. And next time I might get to the ground floor.

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