Middle aged, always gracious, and surprisingly blunt when it came to the truth, Renee was one of our famous artists at United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia. When she discovered she could connect curves, she created a painting that garnered much praise from the staff. Referring to this painting of tightly writhing skinny curved lines that had brought her so many compliments Rene told us, “That painting gives me a migraine.”
Renee’s second, more graceful, much larger, painting beautifully stretched and framed on the auction block at the fancy catered gallery reception the auctioneer asked, “Can I get an opening bid?” From the crowd we heard Renee’s voice call out: “One million dollars!” The final sale price not a million dollars, but Renee did quite well. After the show had come down, and the artists were settling back into their studio life with us, Renee said, “I really like painting, but what I like more is the money.”
A.R.T. Confidential, an inside look at a hidden world: Danny and the Perfect Symmetry
Danny was a little boy who could not walk, talk or use his hands.
The staff told us he could not make it to the A.R.T. studio that day because his wheelchair was broken.
SuperTracker Marybeth Hill returned with this news, a giant beanbag in hand. Tossed it on the studio floor and headed back the way she had come. To return with Danny in her arms.
Laying him on the bean bag we could see how fired up he was to be back with us.
Choosing the Point System he utilized the large pressure switch nicknamed The Big Mac.
When he lowered his hand onto its spring loaded surface it called out: YES!
Although his head swayed on a horizontal path so far left, then back so far right it appeared he could not see the canvas when he fired the YES! audible signal to locate a point.
We, as always, just went with it. He was in charge of the process. Not us.
Others watching him might have been thinking: This is embarrassing. This is random. This is not real.
Ahhh. But when the painting was finished the lines Danny had plotted and had painted in the strong colors he had chosen, they formed a perfectly symmetrical set of colorful feathery brush strokes.
I mean perfect symmetry. All of the stroked lines of color rising at the same angle as the others. Six color strokes rising from the center to the right. Six rising from the center to the left.
Danny, on his own, worked out how although his head was swaying he could still nail the YES signal so the points would create these individual rising strokes. Suggesting a lyrical feeling that everything was okay. That everything emanated upward, outward, from a single invisible horizontal central line.