Monday, September 25, 2006


In her quite astute and pointed post, Art Powerlineschose not to write more directly about this guy in the picture. Maybe he was a little off target to what she was talking about. He sits at the cafe near my house and pesters people to buy his sort of stylized illustration board ink drawings for 50 or 100 pesos. When this picture was taken he'd already asked us about ten times what we thought of the drawings that were arranged over some of the tables and he seemed genuinely excited at the prospect of selling some more of them. We tried to be polite and excited too, but mostly we just wanted to order some coffees and sit back watching. Finally an older guy, sort of an upper-management of a scrappy company type, came back over and talked to the artist. He'd been sitting in a corner reading a newspaper. They negotiated and the guy gave the artist 50 pesos for one of the drawings. I imagined the drawing would spend a week or so in the guys back seat and then find its way to some closet.

But AP and I watched the artist, clutching the 50 peso note and hurrying back down the street, leaving us at the cafe with the rest of his drawings. With our cynical gringo wit, we laughed, sure he was rushing off to buy booze or cigarettes with his hard earned cash.

He showed up 5 minutes later, just as anxious, with one thing clutched in his hand, an illustration board. And he sat right down and happily started another drawing.

I think we have a choice to look at people the way we do. One of the things that signals the end of the American way of doing things is our inability see or foresee the goodness of other people. We've made a concious decision to stop trying, to stop choosing and now have most of our choices made for us and by people who have an interest in oppressing not only us, but democracies everywhere. Hence the violence and panic and depression of life in the US. Opting out of this twisted hateful system is not an easy thing to do, but luckily, there are artists, like the guy above, who can teach us a personal detail about ourselves, that, though painful, is an essential step in the process of creation.


  1. Thank You, Ashes.
    I wish that I had seen this man when we visited with you. Very sweet.

  2. I love that story.

    Very honest, and very thought provoking.


  3. Lovely story. Sometimes all of us make rash judgement upon those who may look or act differently. We see them as somehow inadequate, worthless. Fortunately, some of us are capable of reshaping this vision into something wonderful. And all it took was the person we had feared.