Jewish Journal


Supporting the Arts

by Elliot Steingart

January 11, 2012 | 11:34 am

Art Enthusiast

Dating artists is a way for me to support the arts and get great deals on paintings.

I emailed an artist I know named Amy to paint a picture for my apartment for $100. I gave her a two week deadline and offered to take her out for drinks. She replied that her paintings normally go for upwards of $4,000. In my next email I told her that her talent warrants that kind of money. I just don’t have it.

“I may have something in my studio I can sell you.”

She sold me a painting for $150 and agreed to go out with me.  After picking her up, I said “I’m new to Los Feliz so I figured you could show me around.”

“No, I’m not good at that.”

“Not to worry. We’ll drop my car off and have a drink. You can see your painting and then we can go out.”

I opened my most expensive bottle of wine, a $12 Bordeaux. “Pretty good, yea?”

“It’s sour and it needs to breathe.”

“Of course,” I pretended.

“I know that your art work deals with the relationship between architectural spaces and the psyche. What were your intentions behind this painting?”

“If I wanted to paint an elephant I would have painted an elephant.”

“Of course.” I decided to delve further. “So what’s it like being an artist?”

“I party at night, and sleep until 10am or sometimes 1pm. All depends how I feel. Why? Do you have a job or something?” She finished smoking a cigarette on my balcony. “Where are we going?”

“We’ll take a little walk to get a drink.”

“You didn’t tell me we would be walking. These shoes aren’t for walking.”

“Sorry, I thought shoes were for walking.”

We secured a booth on a crowded night at my new favorite bar “Ye Rustic Inn.” I ordered vodka sodas and chicken wings. “So what kind of guys do you normally go out with?”

“I like older men and bad boys. You’re too nice. I like guys who treat me like sh*t. I have to go to the bathroom. Where is it?”

She came back from the bathroom and ordered another drink. “So you know, I’m not going to sleep with you.”

My phone vibrated. I looked and saw that Amy who was sitting right next to me had sent me a nude photo of herself.

“What do you think?”

“I like it.”

“I have lots of photos like these. That’s all I’m going to show you.”

“Will these be on exhibit any time soon?”

Over the weekend I went out with another artist, Jill, a 30 year old grad student who drove an hour to meet me at The Dresden, the classy 1950’s era night-club where “Swingers” was filmed. I ordered a Vodka Collins and she ordered a Whiskey Sour and fried zuchinni. The Jazz band played so loud I couldn’t hear what she was saying.  I could hear a few key words and responded back the best I could I while eating her zuchinni.

“Near Wilshire and La Cienega.”

“Of course,”  I nodded in agreement.

The Jazz flute softened to the point I could almost hear her mention that I look like Seinfeld. “Did you use to wear braces?”

“Yes, but I’d rather talk about you. Do you have a favorite painting you can show me?”

She scrolled through her Iphone showing me a neon painting of a guy and a girl kissing in front of a volume equalizer.

“This painting would look great in my apartment.”  I complimented her earrings before asking the price of the painting.

“This one is going for $1,050. I think I price my art too cheaply.”

“Yea, for sure,” I pretended.

We ordered another drink before walking over to “Ye Rustic Inn” where we sat in the same booth I sat with Amy.  After showing her pictures of my week-old niece, Dylan, she said she was tired and that she should go. “I’ll buy this round,” she insisted.

A girl sitting at the bar shot me an evil look and then interjected. “No, you should pay.”

“You should go back to eating your quesadilla,” I mumbled under my breath.

Later that night I looked at Jill’s website where I discovered her series of nude self-portraits. They were colorful, to say the least.

Getting to know both artists made me realize I am less of an art enthusiast and more of a naked enthusiast. For the female body is the greatest piece of art. And I’ve been to LACMA with an Art History major so I’ve seen my share of art. After noticing many phallic paintings I said, “I didn’t realize this was Los Angeles County Museum of Penises?”

“No, this is art.” she shot back.

Receiving a text of a naked female is art. Sending a text of a naked male is harassment.

Who knew such insight could come over fried zuchinni and chicken wings? I’m just supporting the arts.

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Elliot Steingart is a Los Angeles based comedian and writer who hosts a monthly comedy show, “Melgard Mondays” at Melgard Public House. Steingart has written jokes for...

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