Yay, hi ‘Gasmii! We meet again! Another week comes crashing through, and with it comes a new episode of Work of Art. I kinda can’t believe this show is still on, isn’t all the art in the world already done? No need for more.
I kid!!! Let’s get to it!
Last week was the pop art challenge. Young won for his Prop 8 billboard, which was boring but interactive and looked good on the pages of Entertainment Weekly magazine. Kymia (no longer Quinoa, cuz I like her a lot now) came in second, and she probably would have won if EW had had the balls to print a photo of her piece, which involved big prominent nipples. Oh well. It was a double elimination last week, too, sending Jazmin and Leon home. I’m just glad that Young doesn’t have immunity this week. I don’t really care for him that much.
“Smell ya later!” “What?” (Oh, that was bad.)
Remember, our new format this season is to open each show with the group waiting back at home for the non-eliminated artists to return. The group’s sitting around nervously, waiting for the door to open. And there it is! Like magic! We already know that Leon and Jazmin don’t come back home.
Dusty’s pretty worried now, he doesn’t want to let his family down. He’s gotta get back on track. Sucklord asks Young how it felt to have smoke blown up his ass. Young answers, “It feels pretty good.” I think they were having two different conversations, spliced together by the editors. Young tells us he’s worried because “everyone is bringing it” right now. Um, no they’re not. Don’t worry, you still have a little wiggle room to suck.
Sucklord heads over to that giant chalkboard behind the couch to cross of the names of the eliminated. Bye, Leon and Jazmin! I pause the DVR to look at birthdays, ages, and astrological signs that are listed beside each name. I really like that everyone’s mostly in their 30s. A few are outliers (Lola at 24, Sucklord at 42), but they’re otherwise all at a young-but-mature age, a little more established without being crusty assholes. I’m sure the outliers make for more diversity, but I kinda like the level-ish playing field. The astrology nerd in me notes the astrological signs of a few of the contestants and is like, “oh yeah, that makes total sense.” (Sucklord is an Aries; Michelle is a Libra. You can just tell!)
(Leon may be gone, but his cute little “Gotcha!” face in the intro will continue to make me smile every week.)
It’s early morning, and the artists are milling about their respective apartments, having breakfast and chatting about the competition. Kymia is particularly frustrated for having been so close to the win this past week. She’s gotta push harder and actually win soon.
Then they all head out to the studio. When they get there, they’re like, “huh?” There are a bunch of kids already there, coloring or doing other crafts at each artists’ station. The kids look up when the artists come in, like, “Stop bothering me during my creative time! This is MY space!” It’s so funny to me, I don’t know why.
Anyway, Sucklord is like, “I knew it!” and heads over to his station. “Hi, I’m Sucklord…want me to write it down for you?” The little girl sitting at his station just smiles at him. She’s cute, and he’s cute for immediately connecting with her. (He grabs his box of toys out from under his desk.) The other artists ask their respective child artists what they’re each working on. Michelle’s kid is working on some drawing of a guy with a scorpion tail.
It’s funny to watch the artists interacting with the kids. Some are really clueless. Michelle seems worried about touching her kid at all. Weird, but valid concern, I guess. Dusty has no problem, since he’s an elementary school art teacher. Sara Jimenez asks her little girl, “Have you heard of The Exquisite Corpse?” HA! No clue. (The little girl hasn’t, in case you wondered.)
(And turns out, I hadn’t heard it called that, either. I Googled it, thinking it was Sara J asking a child about dead bodies, but actually, it’s a game where you draw something and then someone comes and adds to the drawing, and then you cover up all but the last part of it so the next person only has a little context, and then they draw something, and so on. Sounds like FUN! Sara J just needed to ask the question differently.)
They both have funny hair
Bayete is worried about this challenge because kids draw better than he does. Ah, that explains his art. It’s all photographs and video because he stinks at drawing.
China heads into the studio, and I’m like, “Wow, I like her bangs!” Bold decision, looks good! She calls the “class” to attention. Then she announces her “friend,” who’s here to announce the challenge. Oh, it’s executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker! She’s really involved with art programs, so this actually makes sense.
She lets the contestants know that the kids are part of a public school art program called Studio in a School. Dusty’s like, “Fuck yeah.” Well, no, he’s very mellow and measured in telling us that he very much supports art in schools.
So what IS the challenge? Well, each child artist brought in a piece of their own art, and now the adult artists have to create a companion piece. They’ll show both pieces together at the gallery show later.
Now that is COOL. I really like that they’re not just expecting the artists to create childlike art (that challenge was kind of a fail last year), but that they have to be inspired by child art and complement it with their own work. It’s already a cool idea, and it just gets better as the show goes on. You’ll see.
Upon my rewatch, I pick up on a clue that I’ll highlight for you, and it’s that China specifically mentioned how there should be a pretty obvious visual relationship between the two works of art. Remember that.
SJP is like, “I get to say something I’ve always wanted to say,” and I think she’s going to do Simon’s “Be brave, be bold, be amazing.” But no, she just announces that they have until midnight tonight and a few hours tomorrow to work. Ugh, that was a blue-balls moment for me. Anyway, SJP will also be one of the judges tomorrow. Good luck!
So now the artists have a finite amount of time to talk with their child artists, to find out a little more about the work they’ll be building their own work off of. Sara Jimenez’s little girl did a block print word collage of her favorite words (“chocolate,” “bacon,” and “pirates,” to name a few). Dusty’s kid created an abstract piece with use of negative and positive space, with some splashes of color. It was pretty sophisticated for a little kid.
Bayete’s little girl’s piece is a large drawing of flowers and butterflies. She shyly tells SJP that it’s already been in another gallery. Ha! Take that, Bayete! I think he’s crapping his pants a little.
The little girl working with Generic Sarah made a simple piece with silhouettes of cats jumping and catching fish. I want it! I want to pay $50 for it and hang it in my living room!
Isn’t this amazing? A 13-year-old girl painted it, and I saw it at an art show and said, “That is FUCKED UP” and bought it on the spot.
Sucklord’s little girl read a book from the library about a tree and painted it. Does anyone know the book, because I think I don’t. Anyway, Sucklord really likes this girl, especially after she tells him that when her parents got married, they had Han Solo and Princess Leia figurines on top of their wedding cake. This is perfect! They start pawing through all his toys, and it’s the cutest thing ever.
Young annoys me when he’s talking to his kid. He’s like, “I’ll do something abstract based off yours, and then I’ll put my own spin on it.” I’m surprised he didn’t start busting out big art-school words on the poor kid. The kid is like, “Yeah, sure, put your own spin on it, fine.”
Lola has no connection with her kid at all, and she’s not really asking good questions or trying to figure things out. She’s just sitting there, trying to take notes, and the little girl is like, “Whatever.” The little girl says, “You’re doomed.” Lola agrees.
Meanwhile, Kymia’s over at her station with her girl, who painted a simple watercolor/drawing of a carrot on a beach. A carrot on a beach. Let that sink in. How the hell do you create a companion piece of a carrot on a beach? Well, Kymia starts asking questions and finds out that there’s all this stuff AROUND the carrot on the beach. This little girl has quite an imagination! I’ll tell you more about it later, but for now, Kymia’s taking photos of the girl as she tells her story. Dusty’s also taking photos of his kid.
“Wow, girl, you have a fucked up imagination! I love it!”
The kids leave, and now the artists have some time and a little money ($100) to spend at the art supply store. While they shop, we get a little story about Lola, about how her mom dated Al Pacino for ten years. “So of course I was drawn to being an artist.” I don’t get the connection. Al Pacino is an artist? Who can explain this to me?
Obviously inspires art. Duh.
They also get a $100 budget at a hardware store, where Tewz is buying planks to help him mold concrete. His kid’s piece was a still life of broccoli and a radish, so he’s going to make concrete molds to spell out the word “GROW” and will tie that in to the vegetables. It honestly doesn’t sound like a terrible idea, but it really all depends on how he executes it.
Sucklord and Tewz are chatting it out at the art store. Sucklord is like, “I feel like if the little girl likes it, then I’m okay. I won.” He repeats this throughout the show, and it’s really sweet. I also think it’s manipulative to an extent, especially when he trots it out during crit. Oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself!
Anyway, they’re all back at the studio, hard at work. Generic Sarah is crafting a shadow box where she’ll bring her child artist’s cat silhouettes to life. She explains that she’d taken every art book out of the library when she was a kid, that she did all the crafts. So she’s pretty confident in her ability to pull off what she wants to do.
Dusty is working on a piece that incorporates the same visual feel as his child artist’s piece. Remember, his kid’s art was the black rectangle with the use of positive and negative space. Dusty’s going to recreate that in 3D form, using biographical things about the child artist himself to hide in those positive and negative spaces. Could be cool or could be a trainwreck, I guess we’ll find out!
Bayete’s child artist’s work is actually done by two girls, I think? It’s that big white paper filled with black ink drawings of butterflies and flowers. Bayete’s going to create his companion piece to be a stop-motion video version of their piece, bringing it to life. Another piece that could be cool or could be a trainwreck. It’s particularly genius on his part because it means him tracing over their drawings—he doesn’t have to actually draw any of it himself.
Lola, as usual, is totally lost. She has no idea what she wants to do, or if she DOES have an idea, it’s kinda sloppy and unfocused.
Young’s kid made a mobile of brightly colored bird shapes. So Young’s going to photograph himself leaping and prancing, then attach those same colors to the photograph in a bird feather pattern. Generic Sarah (codename: LOUD) laughs loudly at Young’s multiple attempts to take this leaping and prancing photo.
Sucklord is creating a 3D representation of the tree, using blocks of foam. It actually looks pretty cool so far. He wants to create a secret world in this tree. Is that based on this book I don’t know a thing about? Anyway, we see cute photos of him as a child, including a photo of a drawing of Jabba the Hut from age 10 or so. So funny.
Michelle seems a little detached today, more so than usual. She’s crafting a sculpture out of wood, to which she’ll affix all her little rolls of paper. Her kid’s art was a haunting set of eyes. Like, three different pastel pieces of just eyes on a piece of paper. So she’s making a sculpture of geese with their eyes pecked out. I don’t really see how this goes along with the kid’s art visually, and it’s also kinda gross. Adults will be grossed out by this, and I’m sure the kids aren’t going to be happy about it either.
This week’s fast forward art creation is Kymia, which is an intricate and very realistic drawing of her child artist lying dead on the floor. This is the girl who did a carrot on the beach, remember. So the story goes that the girl ate everything in sight, including the house and animals nearby, and when she ate that carrot, she died. So, Kymia’s drawing the dead girl who ate everything, with a little peep of that carrot peeking out of the girl’s mouth. It’s fascinating. It’s a morbid topic, but since it came from the little girl’s imagination, it’s okay. Not like the creepy pecked out geese eyes.
Remember all the tears from the previews? Well, they all have to do with one artist, and that artist is Sara Jimenez. She’s all fucked up about this project, since it reminds her of her own childhood. The story there is that her mom cheated on her dad, got pregnant, and her parents divorced. New half-brother. It had a big impact on her, clearly. She’s crying as she works, crying as she talks about it. She’s creating cut-outs to print words of her own, like her child artist’s piece (chocolate, bacon, and pirates), but she’s talking about divorse [sic], affair, and half-brother.
And now Simon’s here to make sure everyone’s doing awesome work. He starts with Sucklord first, whom he advises to not suck. As in, this idea could be great or terrible. Make it great.
Simon likes what Dusty’s up to so far, though he seems maybe a little concerned that it’s a literal translation of the kid’s work. But since the kid’s work is abstract, he might get away with it.
“Perhaps if you cut your mullet…?”
Simon does NOT like what Lola’s working on. It’s boring and childish—the child’s work is far better than her own so far. She looks lost, as usual.
Sara Jimenez tells Simon the tale of divorce, and his main concern isn’t that the work is depressing, but more that it’s not as visually connected to the original work as he’d like to see. See, that clue again. Even though she’s working with words in blocks, it’s not the same. She better make it work, make sure her own piece is “better” than the child’s art it’s accompanying. Sara J. wants to start over, but she’s just so stuck on this “divorse” idea.
And now over to Michelle. Simon’s like, “uh, no” about the geese eye thing. It just doesn’t connect visually to the child artist’s work at all, and it’ll definitely scare people. It’s also not simple enough—the kid’s art was pretty simple and stark. I think Michelle’s not afraid to be scary, but she IS afraid to go home this week, so she revises.
Tewz also gets a visit from Simon, who worries that Tewz’ piece is, here it is again, not visually connected enough to the original child’s art. Tewz tells us that he appreciates Simon’s guidance, “but sometimes he’s wrong.” He thinks he should trust his own artistic vision. Uh oh. I think Tewz should NOT trust his artistic vision!
Oh, there’s a big announcement! Simon will be auctioning off the winning piece, to raise money for Studio in a School. This isn’t totally altruistic, though, because the artists will also get exposure while participating in this auction. Still, that’s cool! Money for art programs! The winner also gets immunity.
So be bold, be brave, and be amazing!
Sucklord’s taking Simon’s words to heart, in a good way, and so is Lola, but in a bad way. She’s whining about how he never has anything good to say about her stuff. Well, make better stuff, then! That’s easy! She goes about fixing her piece, but I can’t even really tell what she’s doing. It’s just not good.
Michelle also took Simon’s criticism to heart, and she scraps the idea of the pecked-eye swans. Instead, she makes these secret creatures who live underneath the bushes. They’re all hair and eyes. Interesting.
Michelle looks over at Sara J’s work and is like, “Wait, why’d I bail on the bloody goose eye idea if she’s going to get all stuck on affairs and divorce?!” Good point! And, like, I get that this really stirred something up in Sara, but get a grip! It didn’t happen yesterday, and the challenge isn’t about YOU letting out your inner child. It’s about creating a piece that works visually with a pretty cool little piece about chocolate and pirates!
Tewz finishes mixing concrete in the molds to form the word “GROW,” and that leaves him time to visit with Lola and Young. Because Lola is just working with more flowers and Young is only covering himself with feathers, Tewz figures his isn’t the worst. Remember that.
The time crunch is upon us. Sucklord is really working hard on this tree, and he keeps talking about how much he wants his little girl to really like it. It’s gotta be genuine, right? I mean, this is just too sweet. And I like what he’s doing so far. The tree is actually pretty amazing, and I love the idea of the wooden figures posed in the top like branches.
The next morning, they only have two hours to work until the gallery show. Tewz’ “W” didn’t set, so he has to mix the quick-set concrete again. Wait, what is Sucklord doing to his piece? He’s covering it in poopoo paint. He says he needed time to do three different layers/colors of paint, but since he didn’t have that time, he just mixed it all together into one coat. Terrible.
In the “We’re Back! No, We’re Not!” segment this week, the artists wonder about what the other artists were like as kids. Bayete was that “Why?” kid. Young was theatrical, and Sucklord hasn’t changed. I laugh when he pulls a toy away from someone else, saying, “You can’t have that one.” HA!
So back to it. It’s time for the gallery show. The kids are back, and their art has been place alongside the contestants’. What a cool show. I really, really love this challenge. It was challenging without being convoluted or stupid. It was just cool. And what’s even more cool is that it raises more money for Studio in a School. Perfecto.
Also, she has no bangs now. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!
Tewz’ kid likes the GROW sculpture well enough, I guess. “This is a pretty good piece of art,” he says. Young’s kid says, “It’s pretty good” about his. Other kids are crapping their pants about all the Star Wars guys propped into the little hidey-holes in Sucklord’s tree.
Bayete’s doesn’t totally suck, though he really did just copy the girls’ art and make a moving .gif of it.
Sucklord’s girl likes the tree! Oh, thank God. Sucklord probably would have cried if she didn’t like it.
Generic Sarah’s shadowbox that plays off her girl’s cats is pretty cool, though I’m finding it hard to see the shadows in the box. I guess that’s TV for you.
The judges aren’t quite sure what Sara J was up to with her piece, since it’s not that visually linked to the kid’s piece. SJP is smart enough to realize that Sara J must’ve been working through some of her own childhood stuff when she was doing her piece. Very astute of her, I say.
Kymia’s co-artist is there with her when China and Jerry stop by, and the interaction is so cute. Jerry’s wearing a toggle sweater, I guess to look more approachable to kids, and Kymia’s kid is telling him alllllll about her piece. The girl is definitely dead, because she ate ALL THAT, and it’s not good for your body. I love it. And I LOVE Kymia’s piece. It’s just stunning. So well done in terms of line and perspective, balancing realism and fantasy. It’s just wonderful. And how does it tie into the carrot on the beach? There’s a wisp of the carrot hanging out of the dead girl’s mouth.
Oh, there’s Nicole from last year. I didn’t recognize her without the stupid messy top knot.
Dusty’s missing his wife and baby, and he moons over a gallery attendee’s baby. The guy almost looks a little worried. You don’t see unironic mullets in NYC very often, I guess. Anyway, the judges love his piece—an advent calendar about this young artist.
He just looks so sad.
The judges also seem to like Michelle’s piece, finding the weird characters “down there” to be fascinating. I can’t help but thinking of underwear areas with that title, and maybe that’s what she meant? Really? No?
Looks like the gallery show is wrapping up. SJP is talking art with a little kid, and Sucklord (sniff-sniff) is telling his girl that she’s going to do well. Awwww.
Time to pick those who will be critiqued. Sucklord, Tewz, Sara J, Kymia, and Dusty. Obviously the first three stunk and the last two are the potential winners.
Dusty first: his was a favorite! He explains that the act of opening the doors to the different pieces meant getting to know this kid little by little. Portrait becomes biography. SJP thinks it’s very successful.
And yay, Kymia’s was also a favorite. I have to say, hers did NOT visually LOOK like the original piece, but it definitely referenced it. The judges love that she got so much background about this carrot on the beach, and how well she executed her piece.
(It’s rare that the judges talk about actual technique, isn’t it? I mean, when something sucks because it’s done poorly, they talk about that. But usually negative reviews are about concept and delivery, not about technique. So, wow, go Kymia.)
So who won? Yay, it’s Kymia!! She’s as excited to win as she is that the Studio in a School program gets more money (hopefully). She’s a gracious winner, too, immediately hugging Dusty. He looks tight and bummed.
So that leaves the bottom three.
Sara J is first. She’s already crying, and they haven’t even gotten to her piece yet. But now they have! And now she’s openly sobbing. If you have a heart, you’re probably tearing up a little, too, as annoying as it is for her to be SO worked up about this. Sucklord’s teary, China’s teary, Bill is teary.
“It happened 15 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday…Yes, I’ve been in therapy, why?”
Bill, though, saves the scene by suggesting they talk about style and not content. Sara J takes a deep breath and continues with a little more composure. The main complaint they have is that she didn’t really reference the original work at all, and her piece doesn’t do it any justice. Instead of following the scale of the kid’s piece, she fell into the story and got lost. (And yes, she spelled divorce wrong, and I suspect it was meant to be a child-y spelling.)
And now Sucklord’s turn. Basically, they hate all the toys all over it. Their main complaint is that he didn’t put enough of HIM into the piece. He took the kid’s art and made it 3D, and then he stopped. He added junk. He didn’t add Sucklord. This is where Jerry’s “If I see it again, I’m gonna get medieval on you” threat comes.
And finally, Tewz. Now, I don’t necessarily think his piece is all that bad, but it doesn’t really pull things together visually. I like the story behind it, but it’s not obvious enough. And it’s not his usual stuff. Why is he trying so hard to branch out? Do your thang, dude! Anyway, the judges say it feels like a PSA to them, and they’re SOOO right. Wow.
Sucklord does his best to defend Tewz’ piece, but it’s too late. Tewz looks at this pastel still life of a turnip and some lettuce and says, “I didn’t know what else to do.” Jerry pounces on that. “I believe you. I believe you had no idea…and that’s what troubles me.”
Judges talky-time. (And in the stew room, Tewz still defends his piece. Which means he’s probably going home.) Sara J went too deep into her story, didn’t connect with her kid artist at all. Tewz is stuck and lacks imagination. And Sucklord relies too heavily on the kitchsy pop art Star Wars thang.
Okay, let’s end this. I’ll spare you the scripted zings. Who’s work of art didn’t work for us? Tewz. Done. Go home. I called this from my couch as soon as the gallery show ended. The visual connection wasn’t there, and he seemed totally closed off to any criticism.
And that’s that!
Next week: the artists visit the printing warehouse of the New York Times! I guess they take big piles of papers to work with, and I guess they’re also assigned a headline to fashion a piece of artwork around? I say this because Sucklord says something about wanting to change his headline, and Michelle says it’s against the rules, and he’s like, “Nyah.” The crits looks painful, as usual. Yay! See you then!