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Davis, California

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Column: Make it up

There’s something strange about watching Davis squirrels approach us on the Quad with hungry eyes, opening their mouths as if about to speak. And there’s something uncanny about seeing a Davis cockroach scamper across our linoleum floors like a hockey puck after months of hiding in the shadows.

Yes, these sights are common to us all as Davis residents. And since I’d rather see literal hockey pucks scattered on my kitchen floor, and since I’d prefer to hear that squirrel ask me for a piece of my banana in a hoarse smoker’s voice, can’t I just pretend these things are true?

I’ve found that everyday sights and experiences can be turned into artistic subjects just by looking at them with your head twisted at an angle. It’s like when you’re in an art gallery, you’re looking at literally, say, a picture of a bell pepper. But is it really just a bell pepper? With those smooth curves and suggestive twists, doesn’t it sort of look like a sultry fetus? Did you ever think a fetus could also look sexy?

Sometimes it’s more fun to fill in the gaps in your understanding of the unknown by creating your own version of the story. When you walk into your bedroom and find two naked strangers passed out on your bed, and you ask yourself, “Uh, what the hell?” isn’t it better to tell yourself, “This isn’t my room. I’ve barged in on a scene from an alternate universe”?

Well, maybe not. But the point is, we can make things up — in fact, we should make things up, and often. In small ways, we can help ourselves make life a little more interesting in order to suit our various needs. Whether directly art-related or not.

Sometimes my need for turning the inexplicable or the mundane into something exciting means seeing those patterns on trees as eyeballs, and staring back at them intently. Or looking at squirrels gather in the shadows beneath the trees and watching them scatter like marbles as I bike through them. Or making up worlds where stalkers become almost loveable, or where you can use your hair to capture fish like a net.

As an observer in this world, I try to build things out of whatever becomes available to me. So am I saying that art can be found outside of art galleries, and perhaps in our own lives and minds every single day? Yes. That’s what I’m saying.

I love art. I’ve been in love with drawing and painting since I was a wee child, I’ve dabbled in photography and I study art history out of my interest in how art shapes us and how we shape art. I love the art of making things up so much that I’m dedicating my last year in Davis to writing a Thesis in Fiction. I love looking at art, living in it and making it, in all of the forms art takes.

Due to my love and respect for the arts and as the newly appointed arts editor, I assure you that we will be reporting real art events. Real concerts, live theater performances, physically present works of art in galleries that exist. And all of these events will be covered by real reporters, providing true facts and unfabricated quotes. And it’ll be great.

But in this column, I will talk about things I may or may not make up, depending on how important I find it to revamp things I see into a more artistically-refined subject. I will give you a glimpse into the way I see the world (which, I warn you, might get a little funky) and I hope my vision freaks a lot of you guys out (while, hopefully, you people are sadistic like me and come crawling back to this column to swallow up a weekly dosage of oddities).

Let’s just say I’m doing this for our own good. Because we all need to incorporate art into our lives, in whatever screwed up way we can. I’d rather see these little Davis bike rides as something more like rides on a broomstick that hovers awkwardly close to the ground, as I often imagine, and hope you will too.

Feel free to tell CRISTINA FRIES how awkward her interpretation of art is at arts@theaggie.org.


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