July 26, 2023

18 x 24 inches ▫️ acrylic on canvas 


The King of Pop 

A Painting Inspired by Misconception 



The Reaction 


I convinced myself to take a screeching cold shower at 10 PM as temperatures ranged as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside. The freezing water not only keeps me awake, but it enables me to withstand the frigid underground. Winter is the time of year you would never expect to find an artist in the halls of a train station at night while it’s hella brick. Unless, of course, you’re me, at Canal Street. *queue laughter* 



While I was journaling some thoughts down, I was suddenly approached by a rather ecstatic individual. It was a white woman, presumably in her early to mid twenties, bright eyed, and curious, delightfully surveying the contents of the table and thread tree. I switched eyeglasses in order to witness one of my favorite parts of the work day take place, beholding a soul in a reverent state, experiencing my art for the first time. Astonishment captures me during these observations, a person’s mind is changing as their emotions are unraveling. She was merely expecting to be en route to her apartment, already mentally asleep, anticipatory of her bed she was to lay within the next half hour. She was accompanied by two of her peers that stood off to the side. They weren’t nearly as enthralled, resembling two parents awaiting their child’s final moments of play time on a jungle gym.


“I love this sweater!” She exclaimed, holding one up from the thread tree as it dangled on its hanger. “How much?” She asked earnestly.


“200 dollars,” I replied. 


“200 dollars??” She retorted, side eyeing me sternly while examining the sweater still. 


“Yea.” I responded calmly. 


She shared sentiments of displeasure, going on about how she disagreed with my methods of placed value.


 I smirked. 


I laughed. 


I composed myself. 


I looked at her, and then I asked her this singular question:


“Girl, you forgot you was in Soho??” 


She glared at me, puzzled, yet still curious. 


“Just because you walked downstairs don’t mean it ain’t Soho no mo.” 



I returned to my chair to continue typing notes, leaving her to think about my words on her own. It’s dangerous work so I kept my distance, one can never be too careful. After 5 minutes of pacing the table with thunderous inner trepidation, she finally withdrew her card from her purse like a sword yielded against the formidable foe of doubt, tapping the card reader as she screamed “**** it!” I nodded my head at her battle cry with approval, slowly lifting my camera to document this hysteria, this moment of history, being made once more. 



The Need to Process 


As I look back at that situation, I want to imagine that her hesitancy was initially due to preconceived notions, which she is in fact entitled to have. But on another note, I don’t want to look that deep into it at all. I just want to be present, content with a spectator’s review, whatever it may be. I was interested in knowing her thoughts as an outsider looking in. I wanted her to ask me questions, it would have been such a responsible usage of our time in that moment. Even as the creator and vendor of my own product, I feel it necessary to consider this an important event that created accountability. Healthy dialogue brings us to a clearer scope of vision against the backdrop of reality. 



Maybe what she saw was someone executing. Someone believing in their purpose in a way that made her realize that she hadn’t been. That is partly why I spend so much time in the train stations to begin with. I’m trying to foster provocation down there so that there can be as much reversal of hopelessness as possible, if that is something felt by anyone who comes across me. Now I wouldn’t assume that to be her posture, but when I explained the meaning of the hand painted emblem on the back of the sweater, that was when the sparks began to fly in her mind. I simply explained what the graphic meant, which wasn’t particularly profound at first glance, but I think the spirit of it carried a familiar essence that is often sought after by curious souls like hers.