Back in 1990, I had broken up with my Kiwi boyfriend Paul (amicably) and while I was in school, he and another friend, Colleen got drunk and I guess, bitched about men (me) through a couple bottles of wine.
The result was him painting a “heirloom” of a hall table that has been with my family for years. My earliest memory of this table (it’s always been deep forest green) was that it was in the basement to hold tools and kid’s mittens and touques (kids were not allowed through the front door of our house, for some stupid reason like… oh tracked in mud or something stupidly adult). When Dad separated from Mom, he took a few bits of furniture with him to the new apartment including this table. It was his new “dump” table. You know: you enter your apartment and on this table you dump your keys, letters, gloves, errant plastic bags of body parts you’ve picked up through the day, etc.
This table followed me through Brockville, Brantford, Kitchener, Oakville, Ottawa and back to Toronto. It’s rickety, there’s a huge crack down the middle of the top and the nails no longer hold things in place. It’s like a 15 year old dog you don’t have the heart to take behind the barn with a shotgun.
Cut back to a drunk Paul and Colleen. Angry through the alcohol, they decide to “give me a card” for my birthday. We had watched Ruthless People a while back and I had mentioned, rather snottily, that they used “Memphis” furniture design principals for the art direction. Paul hated that kind of crazy design, he thought it was “L.A. Ugly”. So in their drunken anger, they took brush to desk and here’s the result:
On the back they wrote: “Something to remember us by. Summer ’90. Enjoy your card – Paul and Colleen.”
Today is the end of 18 years of visual assault. I painted it. You can still see the purple and red “donuts” through the white. I know they’re there.
But I kept the back with the “inscription”.