You are the Artist

December 9, 2013
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You are the Artist, the creator, inspiration, new levels of imagination. You were chosen to be the Artist for a reason, the Boss of the Facility told you.

You were given a studio, a reasonable size. In the room to your right is the Architect. The room on your left contains the Author. Farther down the hallway, you hear slight trembles from the Chemist's room. You've never been in there before, or any other room except for your own. You wonder what causes those trembles and strange cacophonies day and night. You wonder why, when you peek down the hallway, why people with orange, full-body suits take the trouble of isolating the area from time to time; or why professors in long white coats with pocket protectors are so eager to observe the Chemist. You get many Observers, but you never see the same one more than once... These men are consistent. You aren't allowed to see or bother the Chemist, or the Architect, or the Author at any time, and no one should bother you. At least, you think so; you've been a bit hesitant every time you consider knocking, and Facility Workers shove you along.

Even still, you wonder farther down the alphabet, wondering what the Farmer does, the Teacher, or the Zoologist. What do their rooms look like? The Alphabet has a very long line of careers.

You've asked a few times, what these other people do, but the Boss only shakes his head and mumbles something far off-topic. He usually trails off, trying to end your curiosity by preoccupying himself with his coffee and donut. How sweet his coffee and donut must taste…

Being the Artist means that your definition of “Artist" goes far beyond painting and drawing. It means the Architecture's job, the Author's job, the Chemist's if you knew what Chemistry really was. Any type of creating and free-style artistic involvement there is- it’s available to you. There are so many jobs under one title, just pick one, two, as many as you want! Be an Artist, be THE Artist, and don't ask the Facility too many questions.

Being the Artist in the Facility also gives you a bit more freedom than others may have; certainly more freedom than the Coal Miner. You laugh at your own joke, though you don't know why you’re laughing, because you've never seen the Coal Miner. You just overheard a few Facility Workers use that joke. Being the Artist means a free studio. You may receive any kind of Facility-issued paper, size of canvas, pigment or brand of paint, and access to worldwide pictures and landscapes and helpful information. You know the kind of world access the Facility allows you to see, like Italy.

Italy; You've dreamed about going there, for a very long time now. You've read about the Renaissance- the birth of grand new art, yes, you've read about it, it had happened a very, very long time ago. You’ve picked out your favorite pieces of art, architecturally and painterly from the Renaissance. You could get so much more inspiration as an Artist there! Once upon a time, you sent a request letter to the Boss of the Facility about going on a field trip there. He never wrote back, or ever spoke of it thereafter.

A question:

How big is the world?

Your studio is clean. Precise. Everyday, you’re surrounded by white walls, the small control panel that takes your artistic supply requests, bright, artificial wood paneling floor, and a window. It’s clean, unlike any Artist’s room should be. You like it clean. This room tells you that you are also privileged. Not many workers at the Facility have a window, because they do not need one- let alone a wall window. You think the Architect has one, when you walked by his slightly open door one time. You think the Author does not.

Outside of this window is a garden. It is a beautiful, green garden. It's hard for you to put it into words, so you paint it, and you paint it almost every day. Green and flowers, oh the beauty of this world astounds you! It is the only garden you know of, so you enjoy this privilege, as one of the many you have.

You've never been in the garden. You can tell the path leading from the bolted-shut window leads far beyond the winding, narrowing, and disappearing foliage. What is past the beckoning foliage? Every day, you paint the garden and feel obliged to do so, and imagine what’s past the mystery you now see before you. You turn in your few pieces of artwork at the end of the day, and decide not to ask the Facility that specific question.

Another thing.

The Facility allows you emotion. Sometimes you find yourself calm, peaceful, and undisturbed all day. When night comes, you can tell by the darkening of the garden, something changes, and the life that light brings, dissipates and abandons you. You feel very cold, and scared when this happens. For other reasons, along this feeling, you break down in fits of crying, of tantrums, for a purpose you've always been angry for, but do not know what it is. Not yet.

By the time nighttime comes, your studio is a wreck. Sometimes you can control yourself, and leave it quite clean like the way it was in the morning and go home. This night, you choked the perfection from it and mangled the room. You've thrown buckets of paint at the wall, ripped your knee through the canvases that you've worked so hard on that day. You were supposed to give them to the Directors of the Facility. From previous experiences, you don't know any immediate consequences that would follow.

You spend the next two hours, well into the night, repainting and redecorating the room, back to the white walls, wood floor paneling-not a drop of unnatural paint on the floor. The room smells strongly of paint, and it burns your nose. The Facility could have repaired the room for you- they could have, but you took their job, and did your work as an Artist.

This night, you decide not to go to your Facility sponsored house in your Facility sponsored neighborhood. You sit in silence to think, knees to your chest, forehead to your knees, in complete silent thought. To yourself, you ask many questions, especially one that you’ve been asking for a very long time.

Do you even want to be an Artist? You think you do, you know you're good at it, but you were never asked.

A soft crying comes through the walls of the Author, no usual typing of the typewriter, just soft crying… Why? You want to comfort him, or at least ask him, but you know you won't and you know you shouldn’t. You think you hear the Architect laughing, you think- but far from a normal laugh. It was shaky and uneven. Do these people feel what you feel, through tears and laughter? Do they do this every night? Do they hear you destroying and repairing your room? You ask the simple question, “What do they want?"

You stand up. You'd like to go for a walk, but where? You've never been on a walk before, not like this. Look to the window, do you want to go into the garden? The Author's room? The Chemist’s? You are afraid to visit the Architect. Down the hall? Maybe into the outside world. You can always go to Italy, there's always that.

And maybe you'll see a garden out there too? There are lots of gardens in Italy, or so you’ve read.

You go to the door knob and open the uniform, mono-color white door. Take a step outside of the door. What questions do you ask yourself? What do you really want most? When you step outside of that door, are you an Artist anymore? Who are you?

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

TopHatCactus said...
Feb. 23, 2014 at 9:32 pm
This was a amazing story!!  It felt as though a author wrote it, and it didn't get in the magazine?!? I was smiling as I read it, why? I have no idea. But I've had these same concepts running through my head also. Keep it up this was really good!
MegaSock replied...
Feb. 24, 2014 at 5:16 pm
Wow, that's one of the best compliments I've heard :) Yeah, sometimes I question the magazine publishing... I'm glad you think I'm on a professional level, and that makes me so happy! :D  Thanks for the feedback!
BlackbeltJames said...
Feb. 23, 2014 at 5:32 pm
I like how you used second person for this, it made it a lot more personal. Your descriptions were simple, but effective and it worked very well. You portrayed the emotions well, showing the slight maddness that succlusion can cause, and how a man/woman can suddenly turn aggresive, or sad. You showed the humanity; the natural instincts of fear and curiosity.
You may not have explained the full concept behind this facility, but I kind of imagined it a little like the facility in the Portal ... (more »)
MegaSock replied...
Feb. 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm
Thank you so much! I really appreciate the feedback! Now that you think about it, yes, I can see the connections to Portal, and I'm glad that you can make connections to other media (makes me happy!). Yes, I tried to shroud the environment of the Artist (facility, etc.) with mystery and free-interpretation. It gives the reader a new field to think on, give their imaginations something puzzling other than a straight storyline. And I like to give my characters emotions people like to read and ... (more »)
Kestrel135This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm
This is a pretty good piece of writing, and asks some intruiging questions. It was a bit disjointed in the terms of the history behind the character's world and personality, but I understand that it may not have been a priority; getting your message across was, not the world that the Artist lived in. I found it a fascinating concept that art would be locked away inside a Facility of sorts, locked away in the people themselves, never allowed to share it, never allowed to really use it; just t... (more »)
MegaSock replied...
Feb. 20, 2014 at 9:33 pm
Thank you very much for your review! Yes, I understand that the world of the Artist (and the Artist themself) is confusing, but open. My point (like I saw in your "Stolen" story) was to leave an extremely open mind in this, but in a way so when you're reading this, you incorporate your own characteristics (physics is fun :) ) in your "Artist", and bend the character so you 'are' the character, in a way. I'm glad you liked it and were able to relate to it. Maki... (more »)
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