The Art Technician – Episode 2
I knew this week would be stressful. That was the only prediction I could make. This series has proven more difficult to write than I’d expected it to be; I have to edit so fiercely that it’s hard to pick out what I need to say from what I can’t. I think Graphics Greg, the graphics tutor might have found my blog… he appeared alongside me as I walked in yesterday and asked me if I liked my job.
“Yeah,” I said, to which he replied:
“No, do you REALLY like your job?”
I was feeling a bit uncomfortable because of his sideways , head tilted down glance, and the way his long gangly legs strode off ahead of me, leaving me no response but a nervous twitter aimed at his back.
Still, that might just be his regular way, right?
End of Year Show jitters
Graphics Greg turned up again that day with Matilda, the blue-haired sculpture tutor, when I went to her room to answer her email. It had only said to come down to see her, so I wasn’t sure what I had coming to me. They were surrounded by piles of works on paper. It was time for the End of Year Show, and after a relatively quiet week, the college was in full panic mode; I could tell that Matilda was feeling the panic too.
“Hiya,” Matilda started, “we’ve got a lot here to be window mounted or mounted on foam board, so you’ll have to get on with it between prepping the boards.”
“Shouldn’t this be something the students do? Like, learning to present their work?”
Matilda’s eyes widened. “The students don’t mount their own work.”
Graphics Greg tilted his head down, looked up at me and stated, “They just don’t.”
After an hour of window mounting in the bottom classroom I’d sustained three paper cuts on one hand and I’d managed to bleed all over the most perfect mat I’d finished. As I was furiously rubbing at the blood with a putty eraser, Matilda opened the classroom door and said,
“We need to get the boards upstairs finished today or we won’t have anywhere to hang this work, so you’d better get on it.”
I fought to stop my jaw from dropping – I had been painting the boards all morning until I got her email. Still, I thought it best to shut up and just say yes. I was worried about getting on the wrong side of my blue-haired boss, even if she wasn’t technically my boss.
I left my finished mounts in a pile and put the bloodied one at the bottom so I could have another go at it later. Then I rushed up the stairs to get my painting trolley out of the cupboard and finish the job I’d started in the morning.
Under the edge
The display boards were five plywood boxes that were dotted around the college entrance. They were re-used every year with a new piece of gumstrip applied to the edges and then painted over. When I got back to the first box, I noticed that one of the tape strips I’d applied had dried and pulled away from the corner, and even worse, it had pulled away the layers from the year before. I dipped my brush in a bucket of water and sloshed it around the tape strips to get the glue activated, but noticed that the water had loosened up a scrap of paper that had been stuck under the tape.
It was turning into a mess. I peeled the paper scrap off, but as I was about to flick it off my fingers, I saw the writing on the other side. Small, scrawled spelled out:
“o not trust him.
egory involved too.”
I looked at it for a full minute before something told me to snap out of it and look around to see who was watching. The receptionist was on her phone, so I put the scrap in my back pocket and carried on.
Now, I’m no detective, but I’m sure that “egory” can only mean “Gregory”, and the only Gregory I knew in the college was Graphics Greg. Who had written it? It must have been the last art technician, because who else would have the chance to stick a note under the tape on a display board? But none of that answered why he’d have done it, and who it was meant for.
Unless it was meant for me.
My week at work:
45% painting boards
25% paper cuts
15% taping boards
10 % window mounting
5% looking over my shoulder