Sunday, June 17, 2012

Making the World a Better Place -- Four Square Feet at a Time

So I currently (at this moment in time) work in a large office complex where everything is about as bland as you can make it. The walls are beige, the carpet is... actually, I don't know what color the carpet is. I think it's some sort of grey/black pattern that comes in squares, but it's so boring I can't even remember what it looks like. The cubicles are beige on beige, and the ceiling is white. There is colorful artwork on the walls, but it's all prints of stuff that I think is specifically produced not to offend anyone. They all sort of look like someone swiped the test paper at the Home Depot paint aisle and put a frame around it, but I know nothing about art.

At least, that's what the art looks like everywhere except the wall right next to my cubicle. On that wall are three prints that are supposed to be some three-dimensional representation of the output of one of our programs overlaid on the geography of Rome. To say that it looks bad is an understatement. It sure as heck doesn't make the program look impressive. The only thing those pictures have going for them is that it's really difficult to see them because that corridor is somewhat narrow, so unless you stop to stare at the wall, you'll really just get a blur of blue and green out of the corner of your eye as you walk by.

It's a pixilated mess, and for once the problem is not my photography.

Jon and I got to talking and we decided that pretty much anything would be better than that. So I decided to fix the problem. Jon's leaving at the end of the month (unless someone comes to their senses first) -- I figure if there's a problem, I'll just blame it on him.

Since I wanted to just swap out the image, I had to make something that was about the same size. Two feet by two feet is huge, by my standards anyhow. I don't have any paper that big. In fact, all I have that size is a roll of plastic plotter paper that was going to get thrown out after the large plotter was retired. And since I was using that, I had to switch from watercolors to enamels.

Let me tell you -- enamels are perfect for people with short attention spans. This is the first painting I've ever done that I didn't accidentally smudge because one section wasn't dry when I thought it should be. (Not that the smudges ever changed the quality of the previous artwork, but still.) In fact, enamels dry so quickly that if you, say, need to stop to go remove the sheet of plastic that one of the cats is gnawing on, the paints might almost be dry before you get back.

This is the first replacement painting:

"Penguins Fly Little Bit?"

The title is from something that Rvan's kid Tory said. I don't think this is quite what she had in mind, but you never know.

The old "art" is just flipped around in the frame, so if anyone in building management ever notices, we can always restore it to the previous picture. However, the new picture has been in the frame for two days and absolutely nobody has even noticed.

I'm trying to start a betting pool for:
1) The first time someone who wasn't involved in the switch notices the change, and
2) The first time someone disparages the painting in my hearing (since it's not visibly signed).

(About the second point -- I realize this isn't museum-quality art. It's meant to be interesting and funny, nothing more. My feelings won't be hurt when someone points out that it looks like something a second grader would do.)

I still have the other two to do. Tory's mother suggested that I go with another quotation from this week:

"Boogie come out my nostril."

I think maybe I'd better hold off on that one...