Made to Order

Made to Order
The art that I want must be 37 cm x 49 cm. It should cost £575 — no more, because I can’t afford
more and no less, else I’ll consider it a ‘bargain’, which is no sort of gain at all. I want this art to
bring out the best in me, be the best I can be, but I don’t want it to forget who I am.

I want to see all the important things in myself when I look at this piece of art. I want to 
know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. I want to know that no one was harmed or 
exploited in bringing me this art. I understand that the world is dying, but I do not want to know 
that it is sick.

The art does not need to have a certificate of authenticity. It should not boast that it was
made in London, or made in Paris, or made in China, or made with love. I am content to know
only that it was made for a reason. I will tell myself that I am that reason, although the artist was
not conscious of this at the time.

I will tell you what I don’t want. I don’t want art that feels the same way every day. I am 
a different person on Tuesday mornings and Friday nights. Let me have a companion to be sad 
with on Sundays. I don’t want this art to mirror me; I want this art to move with me. Be both a 
bird poised before flight and a bird curled close to my breast, keeping my breath regular with 
quivering wings. 

‘Own the space — the space is yours to occupy’, my artwork says. Not every city is taken 
up with restaurants and taxis. Remind the uber-eats cyclist jumping the red light that Nikki’s
chow mein is not worth getting run over for.

I asked the Arts Council for help finding my piece of art, but they said that they couldn’t
offer guidance. I said ‘what kind of councillor are you?’ They said that I could apply for funding
to make the art. I said that I was not an artist. Cause a scene. Rage against the machine, although
the machine is more intelligent than I am. The machine is bigger than I am. My artwork is only
37 cm x 49 cm, but in it are all the colours that CMYK never found. The machine does not know
how to respond to my artwork.

The lines of the artwork are radical, beyond but indulgent towards vaguely political
leanings. My artwork reassures me that people will sit up straight when they hear me talk, not
because of what I am saying, but because of what they think about when I speak. This art is to
hang on my wall, not in an echo chamber.

It does not matter how long it takes to finish the artwork, but it must be in the present and
it must account for my past and promise me a future. Tell me that this moment counts and that I
am living history. Tell me that the evening is mine to spend for free. Tell me that it is enough to
live for the day after tomorrow.

This piece of art is its own, standalone. It is mine to enjoy but not mine to take. It must
teach me how to take away whilst leaving everything just as I found it. Art is generous with
its secrets. I need to know that next time, Eurydice will walk beside Orpheus and squeeze his hand
when he loses faith. I need to know that next time, they will make it out alive together. I need to
know that there will be a next time, but that my time is now. 

When it is hanging on my wall, the artwork will show me something new every time we 
meet but greet me like it has always done. Kiss me lightly on both cheeks, deeply on my forehead.
Say ‘bless you’ when I sneeze and ‘adieu’ when we depart not because you believe in god, but
because it is better to be safe, just in case. I will never swear on your life, because it is not mine to
swear on.

My artwork has a strong will and a sweet tooth. It breathes from its vagina, It is feather 
light but hangs with a weight that states that it can not be lifted from this resting place. It acts on 
impulse because it studied with purpose. I would not try to compete with the view if I were you. 
Think in twenty-seven languages and dream in 4D. Use 5G to fine-tune your kaleidoscopic 
vision. Listen to the wheels going around on the bus. Learn to photosynthesize more 
efficiently.Your fingers are long and they are cold. Work to the beat but keep the metronome 
hidden safely in your wardrobe.

I want my art to be an old master, a new friend.Whisper to me ‘show don’t tell’ and
remind me to do mental arithmetic to exercise both sides of my brain. See all that you have for
what it is and want more. Skip meals sometimes but only if you skip to work too. I will never
interrupt you.

I believe there is more than one ‘the one’ but there is only space on my wall for one piece
of art, though space in my head for it all.Lastly, though you knew this already, all I can tell you is
that the book I lost had a blue cover with a golden mermaid, and it was quite heavy. I can’t
remember what it was called or who it was by, but I’ll know it when I see it.

Needless to say, I am looking to invest in this piece. Invoices should be addressed to the same
place as always.

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