The Hollow Crown
Conversation with David Paterson
His studio wasn’t as messy as she thought it was going to be, but then she thought to herself his work was that of organisation as she looked at some of his work in progress. She recognised strong elements of cubism alongside a slightly more fluid sweeping style which broken down the overly structured style into something that was oddly more classical yet fresh. The artist himself was talking on his mobile to a gallery about arrangements to have a small collection of his work shipped upstate, Gwendolyn idly tidied a few of his brushes whilst he finished off his call.
“Gwendolyn, it’s great you could come over and see the studio, what do you think?” David bounded over, after briefly hugging her he stepped back and gestured to both his work and the wide expense of the studio. It was a lovely airy space with one side of the studio filled with windows, Boston’s night landscape looking rather fetching with the dark buildings lit with fog swirling around the lower floors. “It’s bigger than I thought it would be, I like the colours of your latest collection.” She answered whilst flipping through one of his stretch books, “Hmmm, wasn’t aware you liked drawing portraiture David.” He looked over her shoulder, “Always drawing anything to be honest, you learn that if you don’t use it then you lose it.” Behind her she could hear him rustling though some of the paperwork he had piled up on one of window sills as she continued to look at his work, before she heard the sound of a snort of success as he found a bottle opener then the pop as the cork was pulled from the bottle she had brought along.
Sometime later once the rather heated argument over the differences between modern and contemporary art had settled with the pair of them comfortably grumbling about the other’s debate, possibly slightly tipsy grumbling from David who’s glass was topped up by his companion, did Gwendolyn broach the subject of the two artists she was interested in… “Stevie Hughes? Of course I know him; we went to Art College together and still meet up for dinner and drinks, his wife is lovely woman.” David got to his feet and wandered to his noticeboard and unpinned a photograph, “This was taken a couple of years back, and it was a hot summer so we had a bbq down by Walden Pond.” Gwendolyn took the photograph from him; it clearly showed the two men having a water fight in the pond. “Steven pushed me in after losing a run in the baseball game; I pulled him when he went to help me out.” David’s voice only confirming the memory she could see from the photograph.
“I hadn’t come across his style of art in Boston’s galleries before, was he always into same style?” Gwendolyn sat back down on the floor next to David and leant back on the wall. “The driftwood? Yes, he always loved beachcombing even likes looking along the rivers for objects. What was the piece like? He spent ages finding the right piece of wood on the beach, took two of us to drag it back up to his studio, remind me to give you his card, think you would like his other stuff, some of its smaller than that behemoth.” David laughed into his glass and looked at her. “It wasn’t the driftwood but a piece of machinery; I have to admit it is very different from what you have just said.” “Machinery? Fuck, that’s odd, he’s always loved working his pieces with his hands, like the way I make my own brushes so they feel right in the hand.” David rests his glass on his low lip before continuing, “Steven’s always had a thing for living materials, the way that nature shapes them before he releases what’s inside, we always wondered if he was distantly created to the natives in this area, nature and religion seem so connected him in his work, you really should go to his workshop.” “I will, thinking of getting something for my flat, would need to be a wall hung piece though. I was thinking a painting but I wasn’t too keen on the other artist Jeanette Peterson..I think her name was?”
David looked thoughtful, “Very modern? Hmmm I know her by name, hang on I have an article somewhere.” Setting his glass by Gwendolyn he got up again and wandered over to the windows, there he nosed though the reams of art newspapers and magazines, “Let’s see what I can remember, she wouldn’t really move in Steven’s and my circles to be honest, she is, as far as she says, ‘self-taught’ and rather bitchy about us art school lot.” He caught the magazine landside before it fell to the floor and stacked it neatly up again, “Seen her work at a lot of exhibitions, not keen myself, it’s a bit soulless, if you know what I mean?” He shrugged as he flicked though a couple of the magazines and Gwendolyn quietly tipped some of her wine into his glass, “Seems to sell well at her exhibitions but she is more a brand to my eyes than an artist.” Sitting down he took a mouthful of wine whilst handing over an article on the artist, looking at the picture it was obvious what he meant to Gwendolyn. Jeanette would probably be a reasonably pretty woman if she wasn’t twisting her nose up at the camera, “Suspect I look like that when I have to clear up after my dog.” Gwendolyn laughed and he joined in, “It does look like she has smelt shit I grant you.” “I wasn’t too keen, a few of the others at the exhibition I was at mentioned that her work drew a lot of influences from other better known artists…?” David leant back and looked at her, “I wouldn’t say that as per say, but as I said I think she wants to create a brand for herself rather than be an artist. It’s difficult; don’t know her but from her attitude in the trade press to anyone else other than her work can’t say I would go out of my way to know her either.”
“I can see your point,” Standing up she dusted herself down, “Thank you for seeing me tonight, it was nice to get some conversation away from work subject.. well for me anyway. I must have seemed totally out of my depth at the exhibition not knowing who these two were.” David stood up, collected the glasses and bottle and placed them in the studio sink. “Doubt it, Boston has always had a booming artistic side; keeping up to date on us lot isn’t easy… Speaking of artists when will I see another ‘Ash’ exhibition? I don’t think modern is your style though, anyway we can discuss this at the bar, should make last drinks…” David gently pushed her towards the door, “And maybe some food, I haven’t eaten today, you?”