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Tales of a Post-Grad Nothing

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Hitler was a Painter

Every Thursday night, my mother and I take a painting class, which, I think is supposed to be a way for us to bond, but instead is just a way for me to remember how bad I am at painting and how good my mother is at schooling me in all things that matter. Our 3 HOUR CLASS (written in ominous courier font to show how hard it is to get through) typically begins with a lesson on drawing and a couple of exercises then we spend the reamining 2.5 HOURS working on whatever project we've got going on.

This past Thursday, the lesson was on gesture versus contrast drawing and how, in order to get the most realistic painting, you should combine the two. "Good painters know how to seamlessly transition between the two," my teacher said. "It's like the idea that two heads are better than one. In this case, combining two ideas about art are better than just using a single idea." And I was with her all the way up until the next part.

"It's like that book, you know, the one that talks about how the perfect society is a blending of socialism and communism. One idea alone won't give you the best results. You know, that book, what's it called? Mein Kampf. Yes, Mein Kampf. When you're painting, try to think of Mein Kampf. Make your artwork like Mein Kampf."

I looked around the room and in our class of eight, my mother and I were the only ones NOT nodding as if to say yes, I personally have always found the musings of the man who systematically exterminated more than six million Jews to be artistically inspiring.

And that was it. Class proceeded as if an accidental Holocaust reference hadn't been dropped and moreover, that it wasn't a complete sin that in a class of nine adults, many of whom probably had parents who fought in WWII, only two people knew what Mein Kampf was. Conversations quickly shifted to upcoming weekend plans and holiday stories. While my mom was getting out her oils to finish up her parrot portrait she was working on, I scribbled this note and passed it to her:"You should tape it to your easel," I said. "For that instant dose of Aryan inspiration."
"Hitler was a painter," she said, tearing the note into microscopic scraps, and somehow, coming back with "too bad that didn't work out," didn't really seem fitting.

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