14.75 x 16.25 x 0.75”
oil on board
2005 - 2013
They know where his room is; they can follow the chemicals in the trails on the carpet, their black tongues digging through the shag to find him. Six told me once that they can taste, in the air, (“In empty space,” he said) the particular ways about you. The way your bones are strung together, and how they slide among all your meat. Those things.
“Fourteen is a dancer,” Six says. “The clients can…” and here he always sticks his cigarette in his teeth, freeing both hands to grope for the word, “taste the way he moves. The air he displaces when he walks through a room, they can feel that, even after he’s gone.” Six is a heavy smoker. They love the chemicals in his lungs. I can hear him cough, when they take him to his room. They keep Six fed on cigarettes, brought through just for him. Each of us, we’re a little different. Thirty-one flavors, says Six.
I like how Fourteen wears his mask tilted down a little, so the fringe swings loose. I like his sticky skin, the musk of it, the furrows dragged in the mucus shellac at the end of his shift. Sometimes he just goes to bed without washing, and fuzz from his blankets gets honeyed up in the stickiness, and I like that too.
This is an original oil painting that I’ve been working on for years, as part of a larger show that hasn’t come together yet. At this point I feel this painting is not right for the show as planned, and will serve me better being enjoyed by a collector, and funding my next works.
This piece is created with a series of washes in different textures, with relief glazing and the slightest touches of deep jewel turquoise bringing out the lips, eyes, and the slim dripping from the tentacles. This is one of my best and most long-worked paintings.