The artist decides he can’t stand the smell of oil paint any longer. He doesn’t understand the reason why, because he used to love it. He gets annoyed by the paint drips and the constant cleaning with thinners that irritate his skin. His apartment, one of ten thousand in the block, is so small that he is forced to clean his brushes in the sink where he prepares food. This isn’t a problem in itself, the food he eats can’t possibly harm him – even contaminated with a few molecules of thinner. However he considers painting to be the kind of activity that should not overlap with the process of his gastronomic requirements – this is difficult as the kitchenette is only two and a half metres from the opposite wall that is his ‘studio’.
He installs a digital canvas that can perfectly replicate any surface texture and buys several sizes of digital brushes, their bristles being made of optical fibres that can interact minutely with the surface of the canvas. He can replicate all the possibilities of oil paint from the subtlest of glowing glazes to the thickest of impastos. Previously he had to view his canvases through a special lens in order to simulate viewing them from ‘across the room’ the space is so inadequate. Now of course he can shrink the painted image to any size. He would enjoy sharing the image with ‘friends’ but he doesn’t ever recall having had any – his fellow artists who hang out at the same pachinko parlour, can’t really be classed as such.
All is well, until he begins to miss the odour of the oil paint and the way it clings to the bristles of a real brush. The olfactory solution is easy – a smell box that can reproduce any odour could be illegally installed into the air conditioning system. As for the paint itself that’s a tricky one and he has a few restless nights worrying about it.
Finally he has a solution to all of his problems. He ditches the digital canvas and throws away the digital brushes. The artist makes the somewhat hazardous journey to his favourite dealer and purchases new canvas, brushes and tubes of paint. He removes the lids from Raw Umber and Yellow Ochre and inhales deeply, enjoying the subtle difference between them, careful to avoid the gaze of the owner. The artist returns home, happy.
He sets up a mirror near to a freshly primed canvas and stares at the image looking back. He begins to paint a portrait, himself, the simulated artist.
– Your Joyful Benefactor