Tag Archives: St. Louis

Art Indeed…

Recently, and perhaps it’s just me being a little slow on the uptake, I have noticed that my beloved city is overrun with sculptures both abstract and realistic or whatever other term you care to use to describe a giant pink suit made out of aluminum.

The pink suit aside, I have a special term I use. I call it Crap-That-My-City-Paid-Way-Too-Much-For.  Another term I apply to said sculptures is Crap-a-two-year-old-mentally-challenged-blind-monkey-could-make.

It’s big. It’s ugly and in St. Louis, it’s everywhere.

You can’t go downtown without running into some giant orange-red sculptures made out of what looks like leftover beams from a construction site.  The worst part about all of this “art” is that I am somehow supposed to believe that the artist had a true emotional connection to the “Piece” (I can call it a “piece” but please note that I didn’t say what kind of “Piece” it was)  And in turn, I am somehow supposed to have an emotional reaction to it.

And I guess I do.  It makes me feel like I am being hoodwinked into believing the descriptions of it.  For example, let’s say there are several of those orange-red beams that are piled one on top of the other, in sort of a teepee shape but not really.  The plaque at the base of the piece might read as follows:

“Love in Orange And Steel: 1999, artist Hans Smuggenhassel.  This piece, made of steel beams that the artist found amongst the rubble of the torn down bowling alley that he would frequent with his father, clearly shows the love that the artist never got from his father and also depicts the mental anguish suffered by the artist at the paws of his neighbor’s shih tzu. “

Or maybe there is a giant teapot made out of cement with embedded shards of pretty glass:

“A Kick to the Teabags: 2003, artist Hyllaree von Pootenbooger.  This teapot, made of cement and shards of broken glass and ceramics, was commissioned by the city of St. Louis in 2001.  The artist, who only has one arm and half of a leg, worked without help, for two years, up to twenty hours a day, to complete the work.  In order to bring a humanistic aspect to the piece, Hyllaree used her own urine to mix up the concrete.  The shards of glass and broken ceramics were from a period in her life when she experienced extreme depression and in fits of anger, broke her grandmother’s heirloom china.  While working on the teapot, Hyllaree suffered yet another loss when her husband of fourteen years decided that he was gay and left her for their local Teavana manager.”

Or maybe there is a pile of baseballs stacked neatly in a pyramid, with bits of broken acoustic guitars placed haphazardly all over the whole thing:

“Anger in G Minor, DON’T YOU DARE TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME!, 2011, Michael St. Hoogleheimer.  This piece was, according to the artist, “art therapy”  for him in 2009.  At the time, the artist was struggling to pay his bills, working concessions at Busch Stadium.  His wife was also working concessions at the ballpark when she happened to serve a bass player from a local band.  The two fell in love and she left Michael for the “wannabe rock star.”  This was too much for St. Hoogleheimer to take and he temporarily went insane, declaring he would make it as an artist to disprove her description of him as a “no-good, lazy beer jockey.”  Diligently, and sometimes violently, Michael began to come to the ballpark earlier than usual and would be in the bleachers for batting practice.  Over a period of two years, he was able to collect, through his own good catching skills and by knocking small chidren over should they get in his way, a massive amount of batting practice baseballs.  Then he purchased, at great personal expense, a high-end bass guitar, specifically to smash, representing the emotional pain the breakup had caused him.  Currently, the artist is suffering quietly in a mental institution where he firmly believes that he is Amelia Earhart.”

And people believe this crap!  So I have decided to start sculpting.  I’ve figured out the process:  First you find materials that will withstand time.  Then you close your eyes and throw it into a pile, or if you’re going for the more realistic approach, you take every day items and form them into some kind of shape.  After you feel like you’ve made something that someone could quite possibly be tricked into buying for hundreds of thousands of dollars, you make up a back story.  The more painful, the better.

I’ve already got my first sculpture planned out in my head.  It’s going to be the beer cans that the upstairs neighbors throw in my bushes every weekend.  I’m going to get a baby pool, fill it with dirt, plant some kind of bush in it and then throw the cans under it randomly.  Here is the plaque:

“Irritation Caused by Neighbors, 2012, artist Jenn Murphysnoggle (because every artist has an unusual name)  This sculpture, made of plastic, dirt, aluminum and bush, represents the irritation the artist endures every day by stepping out on her front porch and looking over into the bushes, where she sees the remnants of the party that went on the night before.  Finally, after many years of emotional and hygienically-barren anguish, Jenn finally lost it and had a complete and utter meltdown.  This sculpture was her first and last piece before she was hauled off to jail for the public disturbance she caused upon finding a dirty diaper on her front stoop on a warm July afternoon. Currently she is serving a six month term in the St. Louis City jail.”

So…who will start the bidding on this piece?  Do I hear fifty grand?

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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Jenn's Adventures


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My Tattoo

My Tattoo

When the Cardinals started their hot streak towards the end of the summer, I pondered doing something I said I would NEVER do:  Get a tattoo.  I got caught up in the moment and was so excited at the prospect of yet ANOTHER World Series Championship that I vowed to a few friends that WHEN (I never doubted my boys) we won the World Series, I was going to get a petite–less than in inch square–tattoo on my left wrist of the Redbird on the bat. 

All of the friends that I discussed my plans with tried to dissuade me, citing what they thought would be compelling arguments:

There are needles involved!   I just won’t look.

It’s permanent!  Pujols or no Pujols, I don’t plan on switching my allegiance. I support my hometown. (I recently defected from my former hometown which I never really claimed anyway and if ever asked, even though it’s in print, I will deny ever living there in the first place. Note how I cannot even bring myself to give it’s name mention. Such is my loathe of the place.) 

It’s going to hurt!  I have a high threshold for pain.

You’ll get old and saggy!  I have yet to see an old lady with a saggy wrist. It’s the boobs we have to worry about.

It’s expensive!  I’ll sell an egg…..

I deflected all of their attempts with Wonder Woman like stopping-a-bullet-cold precision. All of their persuasions fell on deaf ears.

As the possibility of an ELEVENTH (I’m not bragging…I’m just saying…) Championship became a reality, I only wavered because I wasn’t sure how much it would cost. I put that thought to rest by doing what I always do when I want something: put something else I own on Craigslist to sell it and then use that money to buy what I really want..  I WAS going to get a tattoo and nothing that anyone said was going to change my mind.

Or so I thought.

On Halloween weekend, having never been to Fright Fest at Six Flags, Romy and I decided to get one last go at the park, even though both of us have definitely hit that age where roller coasters are kind of a gamble in the vomit-inducing arena.  We bundled up, grabbed her kids and headed out.  We walked around the park for a while and then went to see one of the notoriously cheesy shows which despite having no plot, was pretty entertaining.  We were to meet her kids at the front of the park at ten pm so we tooled around, people watching the rest of the night. Coming up on an airbrushing booth right when the “artist” was getting ready to start a shirt, we stopped to watch.

The “Artist”  started the shirt which would end up saying “Toby’s Love” with pink and black flame-like designs around it.  As she finished the first word, she turned around and said,

“Oh…Toby is with Y isn’t it,” after she had neatly airbrushed “Tobi.”  She turned back around and started painting again, making the “i” into a “y” but leaving the dot.

While she worked on the shirt, we paged through the design book and found a page that had the St. Louis Arch on it.  It was the day after the Cards had won the Series so I was still pretty amped up about my hometown boys taking it all.

“I wonder how much it’ll cost to get my tattoo. Im not going to spend three hundred bucks.”

For some reason, when Romy and I are out and about, people seem to fall into our conversations.  It’s like people feel like they have to get in on what we’re talking about and it happens everywhere we go.  This night would be no different.

“You want to see a good picture of the Arch, look at this,” said this rather large, rather bleach-blonde Toby’s Love.  With one yank of her pant leg, she showed us her shin, which had a five-inch depiction of the arch on top of the KISS logo….you know, because when people think St. Louis, they automatically think of KISS.

Toby’s Love went on to explain that her now deceased father was a huge KISS fan and that was to memorialize him.  A nice thought I guess. I saw my opportunity.

“How much do you think it would cost to get a full color one inch Cardinals logo on my wrist?”

“It really depends but if you want detail, it would have to be no less than two by two inches. And you really have to be careful who you go to,” said Toby’s Love with authority. She knew this business.

“I have forty-seven tattoos.”


Toby’s Love went on to explain that the Arch/KISS was actually done as a cover-up tattoo to hide a tattoo gone wrong.  Then she showed us the back of her neck, which had a pair of eyes on it.

“Can you tell those are my eyes?”

What do you say to that? I don’t think we said anything.  Toby’s Love continued,

“Those are to cover up another tattoo I had.”

I began to see a pattern. 

Toby’s Love started to describe more of her tattoos to us, she had memorials all over her body and even had her husband and her childrens’ portraits on her upper legs (None of which are dead yet.) Many of her descriptions ended with “That’s a cover-up.”

Definitely seeing a pattern. And beginning to have doubt.

“You really have to be careful who does the tattoo. I had a friend do one. She got a kit in the mail and you know, everyone has to learn on someone so I let her do it on me.”

“I would not be that someone,” I said.

She continued, ” I had one tattoo that I dug out because I was allergic to the ink.”

When people tell me things, I tend to visualize it in my head.  So what I saw when she spoke was this woman curled up into a good size ball, scratching away at her bloody ankle like an animal, in order to gain relief over the allergen. Not a pretty picture.

By this time, the artist was done (or so she thought) with Toby’s Love’s shirt. We all stared at the shirt, as Artist turned around and said,

“How does that look?”

One glaring problem:  she hadn’t even pretended to try to fix the dot over the “i” 

Toby’s Love asked Artist to fix the problem so Artist sighed and turned back around to her masterpiece. We continued our conversation while she worked.  When the shirt was as good as it was going to get, it was nearly ten pm so we said our goodbyes and walked away.

“I don’t think I can commit to a two by two-inch tattoo wherein there is a very LARGE chance that it could end up going horribly wrong, although at fifty bucks (what Toby’s Love said it would probably cost) it’s not as expensive as I thought it would be,” I said to Romy when we were out of earshot.

“I don’t think I even know forty-seven dead people,” said Romy, in awe of how many memorials Toby’s Love had on her body.

And much to the relief of family and friends, I decided that I would not get a tattoo. Even though my love of the Cardinals is not going to diminish.

For a split second I considered getting an airbrushed shirt but realized that I would never be able to bring myself to wear a shirt that said “Cardynals.”


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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Jenn's Adventures


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