I noticed Janet’s
boobs sultry stare right away. Last Saturday I dropped by Studio 52 in DC for Spirit, an art show showcasing the work of Michelle Izquierdo & Vanessa Smith. I didn’t know what to expect going in and I had know idea what to say coming out.
Google helped me out as much as it could, providing me with two sound pieces of advice before heading to Studio 52: don’t get drunk and don’t tie up the artists’ time. Duly noted. I didn’t have to worry about time, as I’d been allotted an hour to talk to Vanessa and Michelle, and I only planned to indulge in enough wine to keep my head boppin’, but keep my pen straight. I was there to blog.
Apparently I looked the part (it might’ve been the camera around my neck). I dutifully studied and snapped photos of my favorite pieces. Spirit showcased a good balance of vibes between paintings that would match my box collection and hang nicely in my foyer, to pieces that would shame my grandma and piss off my pastor. There was “Play Me” by Vanessa Smith which made me feel like a muse, but also made me wonder if Vanessa had seen me naked. There was the set of paintings which i dubbed in my head “The Cozy Corner,” each piece displaying sets of swirls that made me want to borrow the cup from “Coffee in the Mornin” and vibe with Erykah in “Didn’t Cha Know”.
The only thing louder than DJ Reets‘ feel-good jams were the blaring differences between the artists. Michelle and Vanessa have known each other since kindergarten and have each forged their own unique paths. Michelle initially went to school to be an art teacher, while Vanessa never wanted to be an artist at all. Michelle said her work is fueled by passion. Vanessa’s is shamelessly fueled by greed. ” “At some point I just started painting what I thought people would buy,” Vanessa said. No matter how different their paths, they both converged here, at Spirit.
I diligently took mental notes while talking with the artists about things like the bittersweet twinge of someone buying a piece– a feeling I, as a writer, know nothing about. As a writer, I’ve never known the type of creation that involves birthing a piece and then saying goodbye forever.With art, once someone buys your work, that baby that you tweaked and touched up every day for five weeks is gone. I can always revisit my words, and no matter how many times they’re reprinted, the quality always remains the same. Painters don’t get that luxury. Respect to the artists who say goodbye to their work for a living.
I made one last circle around the room after chatting with Michelle and Vanessa, making sure I hadn’t missed anything. I kept my camera ready, and my notepad out, but there was something in the air hindering me from wanting to “work”. Something that made me want to dance across the floor with Vanessa’s sister. I’d be so corny to say that the something was spirit. Will I say it anyway? Yes.
There’s a universal spirit threaded through every element of artistry, whether you wield a paintbrush, push a pen, or strum a ukulele. It looks like you, striding in your purpose. It smells like something all your own: fresh paint, an empty venue, the pages of your newly printed book. It sounds like Michelle telling you that she recalls speaking to you in the bathroom before your performance at See. Speak. Feel., saying she remembers how focused you were in the mirror, saying that she enjoyed your poem. It feels like the lurch in your stomach when you walk into Spirit and smell fresh baked authenticity, served with a side of chilled good vibes.
Check out the other dopeness that caught my eye at the show!