Art as a problem solver


Astrid Chesney, The Prophet of Doom.


Dear reader, meet The Prophet of Doom. The Prophet of Doom, meet my dear reader.

This cheery chap is the first piece of Art I ever bought.

I have just a print of him, when I bought him I was extremely poor. I was a student in London, and IT WAS ROUGH. I bought it as a joke, as in: "it just can't get worse" (the Prophet always had a way to to prove me wrong, though). I guess I've always had a weird way to cheer myself up.

As I type he watches me from the other side of my home, somberly resting in the kitchen. He is always thinking the worst, no matter how sunny it is outside (and today it's bright and breezy and fantastic)..

There's only one Prophet in my life, but there's many me-s. Every time I pass by him, I can see who I am now, and think of who I have been.

There's London Student me, trying so absurdly hard. Then there were Oxford me, Barcelona me, Madrid me, early Brussels me, current me... And we all have looked at his smug face and read something different.

Buying the Prophet of Doom has not sorted any problem for me, but it does act as an anchor and as a mirror.

I can compare myself to who I was and see how far I've come. I can remember good times and bad times and almost see the trail that unites them together.

It's a bit like the tattoo that I'm too much of a chicken to get. Or like Bikram yoga (always the same poses because the body is always different).

When you buy Art, you make a statement, or a promise to yourself. This is who I am, this is what I believe now. This is what I find to be true at this point.

And you and your piece grow old together. And it gets to know you better than anybody else. You catch a glimpse of a print, or a painting, or a weaving, or whatever; and it immediately returns your thoughts, and it refreshes the promise you made yourself ("it just can't get worse").

And you know what? These days I just stand by the kitchen counter, having my morning coffee, and catch him looking disapproving. I pause and think, "Good old prophet. What a party pooper! Cheer up, love, it can't be that bad". And old London me sighs and keeps working.

creative nerdMaria Gil