Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Dream's Message

It is not often that I have a dream that causes me to be unable to return to the land of sleep and even fewer have ever prompted me to wake up in the wee hours of the day to write myself a note. But that is how I found myself at 5:15 this morning, peering out one eye trying to look at my phone as I look for the quick memo app. to give myself a note. The scene still playing in my head and the words I had spoken still ringing in my subconscious, I had a feeling that I needed to write it all down once I pulled my weary body from bed. 

I'm not too sure where the dream actually started but at the start point of my memory, I was walking through one of the upper floors of an office building. Having a post-Modern appearance, the interior was full of cool greys and blues, clean lines, the carpet was a dark blue with a subtle pattern to it so as to not be overwhelming, and there were framed images along the walls that appeared to be posters and advertisements. To be fair, it was a nice office space and I took the time to look at some of the images that were on display. As I turn a corner, I started seeing them. Girls. Young women. Women ranging from 17 to 27 all wearing stylish designer clothes and shoes, hair done just right, nails finely manicured, and all seeming to have a sense of fear and hopelessness as they chatted with each other.

Now normally I would just keep walking but first off, I don't know how I got there and second, there was just something that didn't feel right. So, I started talking to a few of them to figure out where I was and what was going on. Come to find out, I was in a modeling agency that specialized in fashionable product advertisement. Alright so that answered the question of 'where' I was but the 'how' was still a mystery for me. Eventually, after speaking with yet another of the girls who seemed to be stressing out as she wrote a note on a planner, I looked at her and said
"You know... at some point you're going to have to ask yourself if what you're doing and what everything it's cost you is worth it. If you say 'no', don't be afraid to walk away." After saying that and a little more advice, I continued walk a little bit further. I noticed that I was not feeling sadness or pity for the situation I was finding myself stumbling into. I was feeling anger. Anger of how every woman I spoke to or overheard was being treated. As I ended up looking as a large poster for some Christmas product, I started noticing a sense of tension and dread coming from those around me and murmurings coming from behind me. Slowly turning around, I saw her.

Walking with egocentric confidence, a woman perhaps in her early to mid 50s wearing the latest in fashion, alligator print high heeled shoes that had such a point to the toe that they could be classified as lethal weapons if she were to ever kick someone in the kidneys, hair with enough product in it that a hurricane may be the only thing to mess it up, and jewelry that could rival the jewels of the royal families of Europe. Just her presence demanded attention and oozed authority. It didn't take her long to notice me since I was basically the white elephant in the room - beat up hiking boots caked in mud, jeans, tshirt over a tank-top with a long vest, satchel that had a few charms hanging off of it and my hair having that 'hippy-wild child' look to it. If I sneezed, I have a feeling I would cause a cloud of dust to form. Oh the glare the woman gave me as she started yelling. Just from the reactions of the young women around us as they scurried away or clung together as they pressed themselves against the walls for safety, I could tell this has happened before. Finally, I just couldn't take it any more, took a step forward and slapped her hard enough that I left a burning red hand print on the side of her face. 

Just the sound of the slap echoing in the halls sent everyone into silence. Both from the action of the woman actually being struck and from the sound. As she stared at me in complete disbelief and held her cheek gingerly, I found myself speaking calmly. 

"I know you'll probably call the guards or police on me but at this moment, I don't give a flying fuck. You, and the entire industry you're a part of should be ashamed of yourselves. This here--" I gesture to the Christmas poster near me, "is a prime example why I can't stand people like you." I look at some of the girl and ask them if they thought it was beautiful and several nod their heads. "Normally I would agree with you but there is one flaw. I see things differently. Yes, this is for that necklace around her neck but I don't see that. What do I see? I see the work of 1, perhaps 3 seamstresses who have spent years of training and working from 7 in the morning to 2 the following morning for weeks to create that one dress. I see the work of artists who have spent 4 to 10 years in school wracking up several thousand dollars of loan debts to create masterpieces that someone is going to overlook as they look at this image. I see the skill of a photographer who has painstakingly made sure that the lighting is just right so that the jewelry sparkle and the subtle shimmer of the dress to be picked up, taking hundreds of images then spending hours looking through each and every one. What I don't see? The model. Yes she's there but under 7 layers of makeup and then retouched by someone with an editing program, I don't see her. Her personality is not showing. This, my dears, is a doll.You are not dolls. You are individuals with personalities and if you can't let the world know who you are through an image then either find a photographer that can bring that out in an image or get out of this place because this is not where you belong." 

As I started to wake up, I found myself thinking about my friends who are professional photographers and those who are models. Those who are models, most are not what the fashion industry would think of as beautiful. Some have 'flaws' - largely curvy, sharp angular facial features, taller then average height, body hair, tattoos, shaved head. But that is what I find beautiful about them. They have personalities that draw people to them and show a confidence in their bodies that I find wonderful. Those who are photographers, they are able to find a way to bring that confidence the models have and bring it out in the images. Even if someone is in costume, if they are able to show that person's personality and have everything work, that is what I call wonderful. Not only do I admire the work but when if comes to advertising, it makes me that more willing to want that product. Why? Because of the partnership of the model and photographer. I am lucky enough to know such talented people and to them, I would like to say that I appreciate what you do. 

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