I have lived down the street from Steven for about 13 years but have only got to know him in the last year or so when one of our neighbors decided to throw a block party and we started chatting. He’s an artist and graphic designer and so is his girlfriend Mariette, so immediately I was interested in getting to know them. We chatted a little that night and I said I’d like to see his work sometime. During that conversation, he also gave me permission to take some lemons from the tree in his backyard. A few weeks ago, I sent him a message following up about the lemons, and after filling a huge bag full of his excess citrus, I asked him if I could see his artwork.
His paintings are dark, which didn’t surprise me. He wears black and has a dry sense of humor. They are also exquisitely detailed, hyper-realistic depictions of an erotic, nocturnal world of silky smooth women’s backsides and frontsides in satin panties drawing the viewer’s gaze powerfully towards a neon shopsign below or a still from a Disney movie. I found myself fascinated by the unfamiliar imagery and more than a little impressed by his technical skill.
We talked a bit. He told me about some of his projects and one he’s working on with Mariette, and I mentioned my blog. On a couple of occasions I have threatened to give him something in return for the lemons, but I am not sure I have much that would be in his taste. However, today I noticed it was his birthday, so I decided to risk it. I walked down the street and stopped by as he and Mariette were enjoying a birthday drink and gave him two pairs of lacquered Japanese chopsticks wrapped in a silk handkerchief. The chopsticks were black, of course, and as silky smooth and sensuously crafted as his paintings.