Psst, hey buddy. Yeah, you. Do you see me looking at anyone else? Hey, don’t get pissed, it’s just my way; don’t take it personal or nothin’. Well, get over here already. You want me yelling this across the street so just any yahoo can hear what I got to say? If I wanted the world to hear I’d have take out an ad or hired a blimp.
Hey, I warned you, I’m a bit rough around the edges, but you know what they say about whores with hearts of gold: I may not spread my legs that way, literally as it were, but on occasion, I’ve been known to sell bits and pieces of myself.
Hey don’t look like that. You’d think I just threatened you, ending up in a cheap motel in a tub full of ice and finding out that you’ve donated your liver. That’s not what I mean by bits and pieces of myself. Do I look like that type? Heck, you wouldn’t recognize them anyways.
You’re thinking I’m the type of scruffy guy you’d expect to be taking part in the illegal traffic of body parts, which is a joke and a half because those folk walk around in the latest designer togs that cost more then I make lurking in this alley for a month. You need a lot of money to be involved in that racket to begin with, and then you’re also going have to dress well enough to look like you’ve got a real business behind you.
Not me boss, I’m at the lower end of the scale. Nothing quite that glamorous for folk like me. Nope, the bits and pieces of myself I dispose of are far less exciting, but to me are as precious as any bits and piece of the physical form. I sell bits and pieces of the soul.
Oh grow up, I’m not a Satanist or something silly like that. I’m an Art Dealer. I represent some of the finest creative minds in the country, maybe even the continent. They pour out their heart and soul and turn it into paintings, sculptures, photographs, and video. Then I try and turn that into money for them.
I don’t just represent artists. A person has to eat, after all, and the chance of making any money off living artists is pretty thin. You can’t kill them either to increase the value of their work, because you need them alive so they can continue to produce product you can sell after they die when it’s actually worth something. If there was someway around that problem, believe you me Charlie, I would have figured it out ages ago.
That’s neither here nor there, idle dreams and such for days when you laze around thinking of the ideal world. Where the money is for me is at the other end of the equation – working for those types who want Art to hang on the walls (hey that reminds me of an old joke: What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs who hangs on walls? Art. Kills me every time) of their corporate offices and that goes with the décor, but doesn’t look like it’s been chosen to go with the décor.
Now that’s a trick, son, because you’ve got to make sure it blends nicely with their carpets, the window treatments, and the paint job, but at the same time be distinctive enough to show that they have taste. The higher up the corporate ladder, the trickier it gets I tell you.
Your junior executive just wants something to cover the blank spaces on his walls. He or she can’t afford to be too ostentatious or adventurous, either financially or in terms of style. They don’t want to stand out as being daring or anything like that, ‘cause they need to blend in and give the appearance of at least being just like everyone else.
With those types you usually do a brisk trade in the standard, safe abstractions from the past century or so. Nothing too outrageous, like a Warhol or a Pollack for them, maybe a Chagall or Matisse reproduction. The more daring might go for something a little more modern, like a Harold Town print from the fifties, but that’s going to be it.
By the time they’ve reached the top of the corporate world, and instead of blending in, they feel the need to distinguish themselves, to show they have character and individuality. Now you might be able to sell something new. They love to be able to say things like, “Oh this is a painter I discovered. Quite unusual I agree, but I like the challenge of the piece,” or some equally meaningless self-satisfying words that show off how perceptive and artistic they are.
My job is really sort of like a pimp. Instead of finding them a whore to flatter their egos, I find them paintings that do the equivalent for their intellect. I give them the appearance of having a sense of the aesthetic, even if they have a soul made out of stocks and bonds.
You’d think after all the effort I put in for the artists in finding people who might actually be interested in their pieces of post-modern modern abstractions — or what ever they feel like calling their feeble attempts these days — and the energy I expand on my corporate clients to make sure that paintings I obtain for them fit into their niche properly, that some sort of gratitude would be forthcoming, but no. At best I’m looked at as a necessary evil by the artists, and some sort of minor functionary who doesn’t rank much higher than an interior designer by my clients.
I’m forced to skulk around in alleyways, searching out commissions because nobody wants to be seen in my company or pay me what I’m worth. I’m good at what I do, though, and enjoy it, too. I’m just wanting my ten percent like every one else in the world. Heck I don’t even ask for the fifteen or twenty that actor’s management and agents get. Does that make me a bad person?
You look like a decent soul, with a kind heart. You wouldn’t deny a man an honest living would you? I didn’t think so. Look, sorry to have bothered you like this. I didn’t mean to unload on you, but one thing about being a salesperson and an agent, like I am, is that you soon learn how to judge character. I didn’t think you’d mind lending an ear for a few moments, not with sensitive eyes like those.
Forgive me for being so bold. We’ve just met and all, but you wouldn’t by any chance be a poet or something of that type, would you? It’s just that something about you says sensitive and feeling in a way that I only get from people who have poetry in their soul. If you don’t mind me saying, you look like the type of person who would appreciate art on a scale far more advanced then the cretins I usually have to deal with.
Can I interest you in a piece of art?
The author has just come into possession of an original, one of a kind Harold Town lithograph from 1957 that he has put on the market, marking his first foray into the world of art sales and deals.