The Grey Tub

I love doing performative drawings. I like the feeling of my body pressed against the wall with charcoal smearing across me for an hour or three. I like seeing how far my arms reach by drawing circles from where I stand or investigating the limits of my body. The difference between the smooth plane of my shoulder blades that coat immediately and my lower back or flat chest that in spite of my maneuvering never touch the wall. All of the physical experience of creating these wall drawings is good. It feels great but that feeling doesn’t end just because I’ve gone home.

It goes on because my ribs have been stripped of skin and bare purple bruises. My shoulders are ripping open. My forearms are raw from running along the charcoal coated wall for six or so hours. Today I felt my hands and found blisters. They hurt and skin was peeling. These are things not everyone thinks of when looking at an art work. The effort is somewhat invisible.

However, my husband is very aware of the impact my art has on me. He notices the small changes on my body or the uncomfortable way I sleep in bed, but mostly he notices the grim in the tub. I spend a few hours each day rolling about in charcoal only to take an hour or four to get home. The charcoal mixes with sweat, oil, and water before I even walk in the door. It’s hard to remove especially as I try to preserve my skin. I try to soak in soapy water.

Today was an apple pie scented bubble bath. I was disappointed to find that even after a shower I turned the water grey as I laid back. Normally I go for steaming hot molten lava temperature but today lukewarm gave me a burning sensation everywhere there was charcoal. The loofa that used to be white is a dull grey and matches the tub. I just relaxed and tried to get clean.

I’m doing what I love in a strange and wonderful way. I’m exploring relationships, violence, sensitivity and a whole heap of personal issues all by pressing my body against a wall under the pretense of art. I press into it and feel my body as if grinding against sandpaper and then everyday I rinse repeat. Tomorrow I’m trying black paint mixed with lube or oil.

In closing I would suggest to you to also try this. At least the part about pressing your body against the wall (or something else) and think of how you feel about it. What are you like compared to the object? How does it reciprocate? I like the wall because it reminds me that as stubborn as I am I can be worn down and must be flexible.


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