Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Contraband & Crayola Crayons

I just saw the film “Contraband”.  Mark Wahlberg is “number one” on my list, (yes that list) so he can do no wrong in my eyes (aside, of course, from his recent and ridiculous claim regarding the defense of the 9/11 cockpits).  I thought Giovanni Ribisi was genius, and I left the theatre certainly not enlightened, but thoroughly entertained.  Then I remembered the film’s subplot pertaining to the heist of a Jackson Pollock.

To most, his canvas would resemble a tarp used to protect the floor from a sloppy house painter.  To an art enthusiast, it is sacred, and potentially valued at over a hundred million dollars.  To both, it may still be reminiscent of the rainy day activity completed by a five year old, but who is either to judge?  Certainly not me…
Jackson Pollock, circa 1950

My file cabinets are overflowing with everything from press clippings and headshots to medical records and insurance policies, but the folder expanding at the greatest rate is one containing my children’s artwork.  Do I think either may be the next Jackson Pollock?  Let’s just say I am not expecting a heist anytime soon.  Still, they are invaluable, to me.

My friend hung the most uniquely beautiful canvases in her den.  When I asked what they were, she said each was composed of one of her kid’s stacks of artwork, torn up and decoupaged onto canvas.  Too abundant to hold on to, but to special to discard, she found a way to preserve, appreciate and share their designs.  To her, they were meaningful compilations of love and memories.  To me, they were more exquisite (yet less expensive) than any piece of art I could buy.

My mother, too, came up with an interesting way to preserve our creations.  My brother, sister and I each completed a family portrait while in kindergarten.  To this day, they are framed in her home, beside the photograph from our first day of school.  For anyone who knows my family, you’ll see how telling each piece is of the adult the artist was to become…  To a stranger, you’ll see how even a set of Crayola crayons can create a “masterpiece” worth holding on to.

Scott, circa 1978

(Politically minded and literal, Scott's "no frills" attitude was then evident by his representation of me, his baby sister, only as a swaddle.)

Karri-Leigh, circa 1981

(I'll leave this one up to the eye of the beholder, although I will clarify that I have never (knowingly) struggled with Dyslexia.)

Jeni, circa 1984

(At the time, Jeni's portrayal of a naked family was a tad strange.  When in 7th grade she posted a magazine tear out on the fridge asking, "why can't we all spend more time in the nude?", 'strange' became 'slightly alarming'.  Luckily, she is now a successful celebrity fashion stylist, and, though known to rock the boat, she doesn't leave her clients (fully) naked.

So, are they worth 100 million bucks?  To me, they are priceless.