exotic contemporary art

Mirror portrait of Carson McCullers

The Ballad of the Sad Café: Carson McCullers

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I survived my teen years on a diet of Carson McCullers. She somehow captured my solitude and quirky tomboy character, and I felt a strong connection with her stories. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe is just one of many that explored the world of the misunderstood fringe dweller. When I started working with airbrush on mirror, I started revisiting the authors I had enjoyed previously and I brushed off Carson McCullers and studied her a little more closely.

Carson was an obsessive writer and alcoholic, who would start her day with a glass of gin sitting next to her typewriter as she pounded away furiously. Occasionally she would pause to sip or puff on a cigarette. 

At the time of researching, I was coming to terms with being told that I could not drink again. My heady days of mindless inebriation had come to an end, and I was going to have to accept being ‘boring’ (my words). All my favourite people were on the wrong end of crazy, and most either drank or abused drugs. Hunter S. Thompson once said: “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but it’s always worked for me.” and while I’ve never indulged in drugs or violence, I was with him all the way on the other two. For this reason I felt it was important to share how I perceived Carson McCullers’ side of the story.

So here is she is, curled up in the foetal position, numbing herself. I can imagine her wrapped up in the numbing comfort of a sea of gin, with a little lime on the side. A shame that such a brilliant writer should need to escape this way, and yet completely understandable at the same time. 

Airbrushed acrylic on mirror with enamel brushwork.