The Real Artists of Hey Girl Feb 1, 2008

by Sara E

Three years ago I wrote "Real Artists Make Masterpieces" on the wall of my shop. It's a quote from an NPR story I had just heard about a group of farmers or cowboys or some other stereotypically hick group of rural yokels who had turned themselves on to painting and sculpture and had organized a small artists' collective. These were blue collar, red-state ordinary folk who we white collar NPR-listening urban folk assume hate art and all things beautiful. One cowboy/farmer/yokel they interviewed said something like, "I always thought that real artists made masterpieces, that there was no way I could be an artist. Then I just started painting with the group, and I kept going, and whaddaya know, now I'm a real artist." I wrote the quote on the wall to remind myself of what a dumbfuck that yokel was (and to remind myself that I was not a Real Artist, and maybe as a challenge to be one). Anyway the cowboy was right in the first placeReal Artists Make Masterpieces. A masterpiece is a complete piece. It is exactly the size it needs to be. It is exactly the length it needs to be. It moves at precisely the pace it needs to move. It lacks nothing and contains nothing extraneous. A masterpiece is exactly what it wanted to be, and exactly what you want it to be (even though you didn't know what you wanted). Hey Girl! is a masterpiece. It's magical. It's tender, it's explosive, it's simultaneously obvious and enigmatic, it's brutal and sensual and spectacular. It's described by all the adjectives that apply to things I usually like. But that's just coincidental. It could have been described by adjectives that apply to things I don't like and it would still be a masterpiece. These people, these people who made this masterpiece, these are Real Artists. -Matthew Richter