Hey ‘Gasmii! Welcome back to the full recap of the next-to-last (or as the educated say, “penultimate”) episode of Work of Art for Season 2. We’ve got five artists and we’ve gotta whittle that down to three for the finale. How are we going to do that? Stay tuned. You’ll find out!
No one’s waiting back at the apartment for the losers to come home, because they were ALL at the crit. Lola baby-whispers about hoping Sarah K isn’t too hard on herself…for creating construction paper headdresses and feather penises? No, don’t feel bad about that at all. (*eyeroll to someone who knows how awful it was*) Dusty says Sarah K’s got nothing to be ashamed of. Well, maybe she does, though.
Remember that Sara Jimenez won the challenge for her team (Young stunk, but he won too, grrr). Lola was pretty annoyed that she didn’t win–hook, line, and sinker. She says that it’ll be pretty awful to make it this far and NOT get into the finale. Boo hoo.
It’s morning time, the artists are all having a civilized breakfast together at one table. (Did they finally consolidate down to one suite at The Dillon?) Lola says everyone else is a “sworn enemy” at this point. There’s a knock at the door, and oh! It’s Simon! “Good MORNING, Simon!” Sara J exclaims in a perfect Simon accent.
He’s so cute. I love Simon. Anyway, he’s here to tell the artists about today’s challenge, which is to take a train up to Cold Spring, NY. Young has never heard of Cold Spring, NY but thinks it sounds like there’d be some kind of spa treatment there. Cue my first Young-inspired eyeroll. He just BUGS me!
China will meet the artists there to explain the rest. Don’t forget that this is the last challenge before the finale, so don’t fuck it up! Be bold and all that jazz!
I keep noticing Lola and Kymia’s boots and how they have their jeans rolled up so the boots show, which is different from wearing skinny jeans and tucking boots into jeans. I may have to try this rolled-up-jeans-and-boots thing.
Off to Grand Central Station! Buy some tickets! Get on that train! Cold Spring is maybe 50ish miles north of NYC, somewhere along the Hudson. So it’s probably got some Washington Irving charm to it.
“Two tickets to stanktown, please.” (bastardization of a Tim and Eric quote)“
On the train, the artists are all happy and talking. Lola and Kymia are actually buddy-buddy, which is strange. Dusty is so happy to be out of the city–he feels better and better the further away they get. Someone says something about how surprising it is that Sara J is still here, which is a bit of an insult. She’s kinda like, “Hey, that sucks, but…it’s also kinda cool to surprise people with how awesome I am.” She’s rolling cigarettes as the train chugs along.
“Smell my finger!”
“And now, fuck you.”
The train arrives in Cold Spring on a chilly, rainy day. It seems apt. Young says he feels “free” when he arrives. Everyone looks happy! And then there’s China, also looking happy!
Right away, she explains that today’s challenge is a double-elimination. Uh oh. I feel like Kymia and Sara J are already shoo-ins, it’s just a matter of seeing if Young horns his way in there or not. Or does Lola offer a hummer to Jerry in exchange for a spot in the finale?
The challenge today is this: find someone in Cold Spring of whom to make a portrait. The artists have two hours to find someone and get it sorted out. Dusty’s immediately worried because he’s not a super outgoing guy. I’d be nervous about that too, I’m pretty shy myself. (But once you start talking to me, that shy disappears completely!)
The artists get $200 each to buy whatever they want from the shops in town, and they’ve got all day tomorrow to work on the actual pieces. And off they go!
So, it’s kinda awkward at first, with all five spanning the town, imposing on the town folk to get them agree to become portrait subjects. Kymia talks to one who begs off because she’s “got laryngitis today.” She sounds just fine to me! Kymia takes it as a firm “no” and moves on.
Young heads to a B&B to chat it up with the front desk lady. He’s asking all kinds of questions about the inn, which is nice and all, but we all know he’s only doing it to fatten up the desk clerk to let him run amok with portraiture. It’s classic “Win Friends and Influence People” stuff–get people talking about themselves. Young thinks the B&B will have the most information about the town, and he hopes to get some secrets. But mostly, he’s getting a running list of amenities of each room in the Inn.
Lola does baby voice to ask townsfolk if she can take pictures of them, and she gets denied every time. Yay!
Dusty spies a child outside a shop (and her mother, I don’t want this to sound creepy). He asks if he could do a portrait of her, speaking of his own daughter in kind. Mom’s up for it, and daughter (sounds like “Maria” but it’s something different that we see spelled out later, so I’ll share it later) is spazzy and cute. He takes some cute photos of her cheesin’ it up for the camera. I’m glad he found someone to relate to. Dusty seems so lonely. He’s going to do his portrait of her in candy.
Sara J is chatting with a shop owner about the town, which is where we learn that George Washington actually named the town. Hey, that’s pretty cool. Sara seems to have some good rapport with this woman until she asks to do a portrait. “Oh no, no no.” Nope.
Kymia heads into a store of oddities. It’s probably a consignment/antique store of sorts, but it’s got a lot of dolls and old toys. The owners are sweet older folk, the man with a big bushy beard. Kymia asks if Barbara has a favorite object in the store, and she touches Bob on the belly. Awwww. That’s so sweet.
Kymia takes photos of Barbara with an armful of her favorite dolls and Bob with some of his favorite toys. Then there’s this music box from the 1800′s or something, with an olde tyme gent and lady ice skating hand-in-hand painted on it. Kymia asks Bob and Barbara to pose that way, and it turns out that they went ice skating together on their very first date. Awww! Looks like Kymia buys the music box and a few other objects, then scoots. She tells them she really wants to win!
My god, can you imagine what Sara J would have done with them?
Lola heads into a coin shop, which is a perfect place for a nubile young woman to swindle some older men out of their wits and dignity. Actually, she doesn’t seem too swindley and the men don’t seem to be THAT suckered into her baby voice. They talk all about money and coins and whatnot, and as soon as the guy says, “Tis death to counterfeit,” I know it’s going into Lola’s work somehow.
Young is STILL wasting time over at the B&B. Now the front desk lady is showing him a room. It’s lovely, but what about this portrait?! He’s only got 30 min left to find someone to portrait. Good!
Now we’re with Sara J, who’s now talking to a bunch of firemen at the firehouse. I like the way she approaches it, being straight up about the competition, then phrasing her request like this, “I get to do a portrait of anyone I want.” Like it’d be a privilege for her to choose them to portrait! I love it.
Sara J. gravitates towards Jackie, an older guy who’s been with the fire department since 1953. She asks what his wife thinks when he races off to go fight a fire, and he laughs, “I never asked her!” Jackie shows her the fire gear, the trucks, everything. He’s so nice, and they really have a nice rapport. It feels genuine.
Now Young’s only got TWENTY minutes to find a subject. Jesus. He stops by a gallery/artist’s studio and interrupts the guy who’s painting inside. Terence is the artist, who explains his method of working on portraits. He looks for spark, emotion. He usually charges $2000 to $4000 for a portrait, holy shit!
Well, Young decides to ask Terence to do a portrait of him for the $200 budget he’s got on hand. In twenty minutes. Sure, why not? Terence busts one out pretty quickly, commenting on Young’s “Justin Bieber-ish hair”. Young, meanwhile, takes photos of Terence while he works. While this is all going on, Young talks over it by speaking of someone having to be submissive, etc. Gag. I’m tired of Young’s practiced art speak.
When Young shows up at the meeting spot with his portrait, everyone starts to second guess themselves. Ugh. Young, I hate you.
Back at The Dillon, they’re all kinda chatting it out. Young wishes they’d spent the night in the B&B. Dusty’s grumpy about not being totally sure of what he wants to do. Kymia seems relaxed. In fact, they all seem friendly and supportive. This pretty much happened last season, too? Like, all of a sudden, there’s this shared experience that you better appreciate before two are eliminated and it’s all over.
The next morning, work begins. Kymia starts sketching free-hand her photos of Bob and Barbara. She wants to capture their weirdness and their sweetness.
Lola spent her money on money. Old money that she’s scanning and blowing up into big ol’ money.
Wow, Kymia’s really far along in her piece. It’s all sketched out and she’s already fleshing it out with paint! Meanwhile, Dusty’s sorting candy into bins of like colors. He’s turned his photo of Maria [sic] into a Photoshopped colorized/polarized mess, and he’ll glue pieces of candy onto that photo in corresponding colors. Candy by number, if you will.
Sara J is using a photograph of Jackie to sketch out a blocky portrait of him, a simple portrait. What’s the word for the technique she’s doing? It’s like she’s making a Cooks Illustrated portrait of him, and she IS using the projector to help her sketch. Boyfriend commented on it, about how it seems less like art if someone’s tracing from a projector. But in Sara’s defense, she’s using the projector to help shape her while she creates blocks of shadows and light in her own way.
And I totally plan to use a traced projected image in my next piece for my stepmom’s art show.
Young explains more about his piece, where he’s taking photos of Terence’s eyes, mouth, and hands, “implying that I’ve only gotten to know a little bit about him.” Ugh. I appreciate that Young has a lot of art school speak about everything he does, because I can’t do it, but it bugs the living shit out of me. There, the living shit is GONE. It’s out of me!
He’s cutting up photos and gluing them to planks of wood. Why? I guess it’s just some arbitrary construct.
Sara’s idea with her Cooks Illustrated portrait of Jackie is to use aluminum, do something almost sculptural with it. Fire trucks are shiny, so she’s going to put his portrait in aluminum, hammering in dots in the shape of the blocky drawing she made. I really hope the rum I just guzzled isn’t affecting my ability to communicate this properly. I feel like it has. Why can’t I explain the blocky shading portrait better?!
Oh, and Sara’s also created 58 name badges of aluminum, one for each of Jackie’s years of service, making them look old and battered and full of service life.
Lola’s at her drafting table, trying to figure out a way to bullshit her way to the finale. She comes up with…writing a letter to the two coin shop owners. Yes, that’ll do it, Lola! Keep going! Kymia doesn’t see any of this as a portrait, really.
And here’s Simon!
He goes to Dusty’s station first. Dusty’s about a third of the way through gluing Skittles, M&Ms, and Reese’s Pieces onto his photo of Maria [sic]. Simon’s not that impressed. Dusty speaks of his other idea, of using folded fortune tellers to pretty much do the same thing. (Insert SexyPanda note here that I had no idea those were called fortune tellers. I think we called them “cootie catchers,” even though we did the whole fortune telling thing with them, too. Weird.) Simon likes the fortune teller idea, so Dusty starts heading off full-steam in that direction. (Simon reminds him, by the way, that he wants to come to Arkansas. Pronounced, “Ar-KANsas.” Awww.)
“Well, Dusty, I’m not enthused.”
Simon visits with Sara next. He seems enthused and supportive, agreeing with her decision to go beyond just painting. It’s a risk, and judges like risk! (Simon didn’t say that, that was me.) He likes that Sara is playing with materials, and what she does with those materials will ultimately decide if she stays or goes.
And now to meet with Young. Simon thinks the fragmented plank photos are “striking.” Dammit.
“Whoa.” That’s Simon’s first reaction to Kymia’s piece. Then he’s like, “Eh, it’s pretty conventional.” Except, you know, each person actually has four arms. And it’s well-done in capturing the eclectic and sweet natures of these people. But whatever. Kymia, don’t doubt yourself, keep going! (She does.) (I knew Simon would think it was too literal. Just like he’s about to think Lola’s is too abstract…)
“Kymia, you look so much better without that topknot!”
Lola. Simon asks where Dennis and Tommy, the coin guys, are in her portrait. They’re not THERE, she says, but they’re there. Simon notes that she’s the only one not doing a figurative portrait of her subject. She worries about this being a problem, and Simon tells her to be convincing about it. So, full-steam ahead, Lola!
Dusty’s really freaked out, folding fortune tellers over and over, wondering if he should really just stick to the candy. But it’s so much like stuff he’s done before, he’s worried it’ll get dinged. So, fortune tellers, it is.
Lola and Sara are up on the roof, catching a smoke. Lola’s talking a little shit on Dusty’s project, and Sara is graceful enough to say, “Cute. I hope that works for him.” Then she asks what Lola’s thinking. “Just thinking that if someone fails miserably, the closer I get.” Nice! (It’s true, I would have said the same thing. Ugh. I am not Lola!)
Dusty’s really faltering with this now. The new idea isn’t going to happen, so he’s going back to candy. Ugh. It’s the end of the night, and he’s halfway done. G’night! Back at The Dillon, the artists meet up on the roof for a drink. They toast each other, Dusty clinking a banana instead of a drink; Sara clinking a Fuji water bottle. Lola says something about casting a spell so that they all get in. Whatever. It’s all baby voice, by the way.
The next morning, everyone’s back at it. I roll my eyes when Young explains to Sara that he’s using his boyfriend’s scissors, and when he’s using them, it’s like holding his BF’s hand. UGH. Did I already say Young looks like an Asian McLovin?
Lola went ahead with this stupid letter, and she’s got a photo of the two guys and maybe a drawing, and some doodles, and then big pyramids of old money photos. Typical. She hopes the judges appreciate her unconventional approach. I hope they don’t.
Kymia doesn’t love Sara’s piece, mostly in the 58-pieces-of-nametags part. It’s not aesthetically pleasing. The story behind it is cool, but I almost agree with Kymia. It kinda seems like extra. But then the portrait itself seems too simple?
Kymia’s pretty much done with her piece, as is Young and Sara. Lola’s doing finishing touches, and Dusty’s gluing on the last of the candy. It’s already starting to fall off, too. Oh well, he shrugs. that’s how the M&Ms crumble.
In the “We’re Back! No, We’re Not!” segment this week, we watch Lola dance around the studio while she’s supposed to be working. Oh, of COURSE she’s wearing awful Oxford shoes. I really dislike this fashion trend, hardcore, and I especially dislike it when the Oxfords are WHITE. Ick. But otherwise, it’s cute. Sara J starts to dance, and then they spin Young around in a chair, and Kymia smile-cries as she watches. It’s bittersweet because it’s the last time they’ll be working together in the studio. Aww.
And now it’s time for the gallery show! Everyone’s got a champagne flute (except Sara J, who I’m guessing doesn’t drink, which makes sense since she said before that she’s in recovery), and then China introduces the judges. That’s where Lola does her baby voice “Hi Jerry” where w’s replace the r’s. The guest judge this week is Richard Phillips, who’s a known portrait artists. Was he one of the guest judges last year, too? I can’t quite remember. Anyway, he’s very tall.
Time to start the show! In comes everyone, including all the Cold Spring town folk who’d been featured! Aww, there’s Bob and Barbara! There’s Tom and Dennis! There’s Maenad or whatever that little girl’s name is! I’m on the lookout for reader Sarah at minute 42…there she is! Hi! (Striped shirt, right?) (Or wait, black shirt? Minute 42 is a long minute and there were several redheads! I said hello to them all, from one redhead to another. Hello.)
Jerry thinks Sara J really went out of her comfort zone with this piece, which sounds right now like it’s a good thing. China asks Jackie if he likes his portrait, and he really does. It made him teary-eyed. Aww.
Barbara and Bob look at Kymia’s piece, saying, “You got my favorite person, my favorite things…it’s perfect.” Aww!! I wonder if Kymia’s allowed to give the portrait to them after this? If any of them are–I’m sure Jackie would love having his portrait to hang in the fire hall.
Mairead, that’s her name, the little girl. She’s a pistol! Kids like that are exhausting, but fun. Dusty’s great with her. And the candy pieces are falling off, which is kinda interesting. Jerry likes it.
Ugh, Young’s. The judges seem to love the juxtaposition of images. Young firmly explains how awesome it is, which is why he’s annoying. Terence loves it, though. Fine. It’s just barely a portrait of you, Terence.
Tommy and Dennis love their portrait. They acknowledge that it’s not figurative at all, but that it definitely tells the world what they’re about. Eh. Jerry waxes his wood about the risk she took doing things this way. Blech.
Time for crit, which all of ‘em participate in. First up is Sara J. China loves that Sara J didn’t go with a drawing or painting, and she loves the abstract imagery of the right side, with all the sooty nametags. Jerry likes the risk, as he said before. BUT, Richard Phillips didn’t love the right side–it diminished the impact of the left side, which was that beautiful portrait of Jackie’s face. Bill agrees. But Jerry fights back a little on Sara J’s behalf.
Then Dusty. He explains how cheery and happy this little girl was on a rainy day, and how they talked about candy. Oops, a piece of candy just fell just now. Everyone stops talking and looks. They resume when Richard Phillips speaks of the relationship between material and subject (good/successful).
Richard talks about the candy falling, and Dusty speaks of it as though it’s intended, and you can see Lola jumping out of her skin. In fact, two seconds later, she snaps at the judges for complimenting the candy falling, since it was completely unintentional. And she ends with, “I’m not sure if that matters…” Kymia mutters, “I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.” Then Lola’s mad because it’s just a coincidence, a happy accident that they’re looking on favorably. Oh, like you and your ridiculous writing on your NYT piece that they all loved? That was a happy accident, Lola. I didn’t hear anyone complaining about it then!
In the end, though, while the judges like that his piece really vibed with the essence of childhood, it was still a little “paint by numbers.” Dusty nods. And the photographic style is kinda the same as his clown portrait from the first challenge, which maybe isn’t a good thing. Dusty nods again.
Time for Lola to explain herself. She’s super defensive in her tone, though. Like, aggressive in her poutiness. She’s looking down and defending a piece that hasn’t yet been attacked. In fact, the judges think there’s real power in the image. They like it! They just don’t necessarily see the portrait aspect of things. Jerry admires the abstraction, but at the same time, he’s tired of Lola trying to touch on everything at once, in this defensive, obfuscating way. I used his words in different order, so I’m not quoting it, but it was so dead-on, I remember nodding as he said it. Obfuscating is the best word here.
Lola starts to cry and calls out Jerry by name, explaining her defensiveness. Except she’s mostly fake crying, and she’s insulting the other artists by insinuating that hers is “deeper” and “harder to get into” (and therefore better–you better believe there’s a value judgement going on here). “I wrote them a letter!” Wah! Kymia looks bemused. Sara J. looks confused. Lola looks to the other artists when she cries about being brutally honest. Kymia agrees, “Don’t worry, we know that.” Lola doesn’t want to come off like a total bitch. Then stop acting like one!
Young is next. China loves the fragmented nature of Young’s portrait of Terence. “I didn’t want to limit him to one depiction.” UGH, shut up. Richard Phillips, as we already discussed in the minicap, suggests that Young could have done just as well to simply hang Terence’s portrait of him in the gallery as a portrait of Terence. WHAT THE FUCK. These people be crazy. Young throws his hands up, saying he didn’t even think of it, it would have been amazing, etc. Shut up. shut up. SHUT UP!
Ew, Jerry agrees with that shit! I agree with what he says next, though, which is that Young tends to make things messy when they don’t need to be…but in a tidy way. Damn straight. (Wait, he’s gay!) But seriously, the masturbation here is really giving me a stomachache.
Kymia! Your stuff is great! Bill Powers loves that the music box was painted just out of frame at the bottom of the portrait, and then was placed on a shelf just below the painting. I love that too! China says that when she first saw Kymia’s piece, she just saw a cartoon. But then she met Bob and Barbara and realized that they ARE actually kinda cartoonish. So, therefore, ergo, thusly–Kymia nailed it.
I LOL when Richard Phillips tells Kymia that he felt like “throwing up inside” when he first saw her painting (and her nose wrinkles in confusion as he says this), but then he saw how awesome and weird it is, how apt it is.
Time to decide who’s going home! Judges talk, and then they talk some more. Guest judge’s main comment that resonates with me is that each artist’s portrait really reflected that artist personally. And it’s very true. Which is why it makes sense who went home. Otherwise, we don’t really get much new out of their discussion. Like, I get the idea that Sara J was kinda on the bubble, as was Lola. Dusty, I think, was doomed from the get-go. But maybe Young didn’t do so well? Nah, he’s going to the finale. Ugh.
Okay, so what’s the verdict? Well, first, who won? Kymia!! Hooray! Totally deserved. And that means she’s going to the finale! Lola rolls her eyes.
Young is the next finale-goer. Of course.
So that means either Dusty, Sara J, or Lola is getting that other spot. I’m pretty fucking sure it’s Sara, but I’m holding my breath just in case it’s fucking Lola. I know Dusty’s done. Honestly, he seems like a nice guy, but I’m not into the idea of seeing a whole gallery full of his stuff. Jerry calls his work gimmicky, and I agree.
So…? Dusty’s going home, and…so is LOLA! Hooray!! Go do witchy, bitchy, brutally honest art somewhere else!! Sara J’s face crumples with relief and tears as she realizes she’s staying. Lola stares dejectedly. Yay!
Young, the drama queen.
And then they go back to the studio and hug it all out, and it’s all about Lola fake-crying, not about celebrating those who won. Smell ya later, Lola. Take your “it’s just really sad” with you!
So, next week, Simon visits the artists at home while they prepare for the big finale gallery show, and then it’s the big show, and then we crown the next great artist! I’m so fucking excited!!!
She IS on Facebook. And her first friend is Kymia!
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