Wind Eggs
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Wind Eggs

If there’s no accounting for taste, then why do so many people who have none teach art?

Aesthetics

Small Tales

High school art
Source image by Vectorarte

Art sucks. And nobody knew it more than Tucker, who learned the hard way, in Mrs. Hartkase’s tenth grade art class which, when combined with his enrollment in senior level computer classes, was enough to paint “torture me” on his back every day as he hustled past the boy’s restroom where — unable to avoid capture — the juniors turned him ass over head and thrust him into a toilet like a plunger in a shit clogged bowl. Luckily for Tucker, his tormentors were too unimaginative to take a dump in the toilet first.

Which didn’t change the fact that art sucks.

Especially art in Mrs. Hartkase’s class, where she pontificated as often as the senior boys dunked him in piss water that “Art is in the eye of the beholder. One student’s notebook scribbling is another person’s Picasso,” except for his art assignments which earned Cs because (once he learned to interpret the wishy-washy “say good things before you cut off his balls” style of criticism) she thought were unimaginative, uninspired, and poorly executed.

“Art is in the eye of the beholder. One student’s notebook scribbling is another person’s Picasso,” except for Ticker’s art assignments which earned Cs.

But what else could she expect from a guy like Tucker who cranked out perfectly formed code as soon as his fingers touched the keyboard:

void quicksort(int l, int u) {int i, m;if (l >= u) return;swap(l, randint(l, u));m = l;for (i = l+1; i <= u; i++)if (x[i] < x[l])swap(++m, i);swap(l, m);quicksort(l, m-1);quicksort(m+1, u);} [1]

With a pencil, brush, or even paint-covered finger hovering over art paper, his brain farted, seized, or both depending on the day and sometimes on the same day. Balance, weight, proportion, scale, rule of nine, rule of three, foreground, background, negative and positive space. Who can juggle all that shit and draw a straight line? Or circle? Or anything?

All of which led to his outburst before the final, “How the hell can I possibly pass if I can’t figure out what you want?”

Balance, weight, proportion, scale, rule of nine, rule of three, foreground, background, negative and positive space. Who can juggle all that shit and draw a straight line? Or circle? Or anything?

She counted her fingers with her thumb. “You like computers. Why don’t you visit the Louvre online and tour their collections? Maybe you’ll find inspiration there.”

And she was right. After half an hour scrolling through art so old and moldy it could kill the COVID virus, inspiration struck. He built a full-scale 3D computer model of the Louvre, with embedded thumbnails and links to the original images. All the art you could ask for in a single assignment.

For which he earned a C+. And swirlies from the boys in his art class.

Followed by the usual swirlies from juniors.

[1]: I didn’t write this. I lifted it from a Quora comment citing a code snippet in Oram and Wilson’s book Beautiful Code.

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Wry noir author Phillip T. Stephens wrote Cigerets, Guns & Beer, Raising Hell, the Indie Book Award winning Seeing Jesus, and the children’s book parody Furious George. Follow him at Phillip T Stephens.

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Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T Stephens

Living metaphor. Follow me @stephens_pt.

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