To the Unknown Helper #26: reflections on Mahler

The grisaille is finished. The right side of the painting needed more solidity and has become a banana tree of the sort I live amongst today.

The painting shall probably be too emo to show in some bar on Lamma Island: drinkers don’t like distraction. On the other hand, the standard of workmanship in Hong Kong galleries is very high, because wealthy collectors no longer have any truck with “artists” whose inferior materials are some sort of Statement; the artist today exists strictly to make objects that appear valuable and are a “good investment”. Or, if he’s a Basquiat, the ugliness has to be infinite in all directions.

Something Mahlerian, some song of a wayfarer limited by materials bought for a song at Commercial Press on the Hennessy road and time snatches, is probably not saleable except to domestic helpers and the fahrenden Gesellen.

Life sucks, but the point is I get to see what happens when I paint, to make something new. The incontinent, out of control greed of the rich (cf. Paul Krugman’s column, printed today) is none of my business. They think they are being cute when they demand that the piper play but they are merely sowing the whirlwind.

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