The Public Have Spoken

I went to the postoffice to post a couple of drawings I had printed out.

One of them was this one. (Rape Rick).

The postoffice lady is a broken toothed (as far as I could tell she only had 3 upper front teeth), little Gujarati woman, who also hails from Bombay. (Andheri)

She looked at the print and said

“Oh is that a painting?”

“No no, it’s just a print.”

I nod in that indeterminate Indian way. No no, nod nod.

“Oh. Can I see it?”

I’m wary. I hold the drawing facing my chest. I suspect this little woman can’t handle my particular brand of in-your-face drawing.

I decide I’d better warn her.

“Well… this drawing is a bit offensive, you know. Are you sure you want to see it?”

“Yes, yes.”

She also nods in that indeterminate indian way.

I can tell she hasn’t really digested my warning.

Well, I did my best.

I show her the drawing, passing it through the counter window

She looks at it,


she said.

There was no need to say more.

Here is a sketch book illustration, the figure turned out a bit dark.

Sketch Book - Gold Window

Sketch Book – Gold Window


17 thoughts on “The Public Have Spoken

  1. “Oh.” Just think if all comments were like this. (Would that be better or worse for our egos, I wonder, if the reaction was always “Oh.”)

  2. It’s difficult when we work with subject matter that others might find offensive. I was taking one of my large framed nudes out of my car boot the other week when my very nice Muslim neighbour came out of his house with his young kids. “Oh a painting,” he said, “how lovely, can we see it?” OMG. Wrong on so many levels! The portrayal of a human. The nudity. The small children. Out in the open street in broad daylight. I just said -“sorry, I’m in a terrible rush” and bolted indoors. I felt bad about it but if my work’s in a gallery, people can choose to go and see it. The poor man didn’t know what he was letting himself in for, so I bottled out. Definitely not my audience.

  3. I like this story. The unexpected painting will stick in her mind. You have made an impression. It gets people thinking…

    The girl in the gold window is in deep thought herself. Beautifully intense.

  4. I love that reaction. Well, I love that reaction when it’s pretty much what I’m expecting. It’s when I show my work to someone who should “get it” and instead get “oh” that my heart breaks. My heart breaks I spend the next minutes pretending I’m fine, really and truly I’m fine.

    I want to know what happens next time you go back to the post office with art to mail….

    • Yes I know what you mean. But I don’t think I care anymore, I mean I like constructive criticism, and if someone just says an ‘Oh’ by itself I just dismiss the Oh-er person. I’m sure the next time I go to the post office it’ll be terribly mundane.

      • I’m guessing that postal worker thought about you, and your work, long after you left. That’s not for nothin’. You never never know ….

Deranged comments preferred

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