Lambda, which the educated among us know as Λ or λ (Λάμβδα) is one of those who has much ability as an artist, a natural, one who gets it and does it well. He uses cans of spray paint and paper and a lighter and scraps of cardboard to make scenes that make me cringe, high-school science fiction graphics of swirling stars and double moons above a desolate planet with stones that look like skulls, and so on. But, if one doesn't look closely, it is beautiful in a cheap kind of way. It's literally lifeless and cliched and boring and embarrassing, but it works at its own level very well because the artist is highly talented. He is also a clever salesman, auctioning off a piece by (and this is too clever to ignore,) passing out for two soles [about a dollar,] ten tickets to each buyer till he's made 20 soles for whatever painting he has on offer if he hasn't interested anyone during the course of his performance as creator. And he is a performer. That, more than the painting, is what he sells. That, more than the paintings, is what pisses me off about what he sells. I hate the hustle. I hate the cheap manipulation of the gullible. I would avoid this guy at all times were it not that he's my buddy's boyfriend now.
|Λ hustles tourists by doing portraits on the sidewalk.|
Λ is not someone I find an attractive person, he being a lowlife street hustler who cons people out of money by trickery and manipulation, though of a cheap but sort of honest way. He draws, he paints, he fakes his art. I'm sure that prisons in America are filled with men with as much or more talent than he has. But Λ isn't in prison and isn't likely to go. He's just a lowlife hustler. I'm a snob. We don't have much in common.
Well, we have in common my buddy Paula. And we have in common our friend Yvonne. So, we have a lot in common; and in common we have some important common concerns. Specifically, I find Yvonne very attractive, and I can hardly keep my hands off her when I see her. This is a problem because Yvonne lives in the jungle by herself, a Prussian girl who brings Bismarck to the wilds of the Amazon and tames it. What does she need me for? Nothing, as it turns out. Λ is as close to this girl as I am. We are both as close as the other guy who hung out with her when they and Paula spent a week at Yvonne's house in the jungle. Yvonne doesn't need anyone. But we have her aloofness that passes for friendship in common, Λ and I. They three stayed with her for a week in the jungle while I stayed in town and sulked. Yvonne is a girl I find highly attractive. Seems that, in his own way, Λ found something about Yvonne attractive, too, and it makes me rethink my feelings toward him.
Λ is a man barely out of the jungle, a man living on the margins of Modernity in a jungle city that caters to tourists. He's figured it out in a cunning kind of way, and he uses his talent to survive at a marginal level in what most would consider genuine poverty. He does better than most people just out of the wilds and now bewildered by the new life they find they don't get and are lonely within, alienated, as lost as the tourist backpacker kids longing for friendship and the authenticity of the primitive that they are promised in Sociology classes. There is a tentative meeting of aliens here, and one must admire the attempt to like each other, even if some on both sides are scum, the disgusting hustler Caroline not coming close to the creepy child molester who flits around the park hustling little girls with promises of ice cream cones and ribbons and bows. Λ's meeting in the jungle with the Prussian loner Yvonne is some kind of turning point for him, if not for her. I think it's Yvonne, rather than the selva of his youth and heritage, that makes this journey so... something... for Λ and me. We are now closer by far, and it is the melding of the Modern with Λ's abilities to grasp at least some of both, whether it develops or not into anything greater.
Λ returned to the city from Yvonne's house in the jungle with a new vision of art for the masses on the sidewalk. There is the same cartoonish and teenage machismo of earlier work, but this time the theme is of the selva, the gratuitous anaconda thrown in to hook the unwary with excess for the money. What catches my eye is the detail in the middle ground tree trunks. There is a concern there for attraction at the expense of prettiness. Λ could have, and in most cases does, added more snakes. In this instance he opted for something like feeling, capturing Yvonne's jungle landscape with a feeling all of his own.
|Λ studies the selva under the influence of the Prussian loner Yvonne.|
|On a bridge between Modernity and home long lost.|
It is natural that an expat Pied Noir would find solace of a sort in the Peruvian jungle with an expat. American and a solitary Prussian and a city dwelling Amazonian street painter. It's not so natural to see the Amazonian turning to European still life paintings from the 17th century to find solace in the strange land of his birth. Here we see what the ideologically indoctrinated idiots of Modernity would dismiss as cultural imperialism in art, a derivative piece by an
Amazonian they would prefer to have making pictographs on rocks in the jungle, no doubt. But Lambda gets it. He sees the unity of colour and creation in the mind and hand of the individual as he reifies the order of synthesis of our exilic time together. I come to like him. We meet half way; and in time we might become friends, he growing into his own expression of the land we left, our rugged homes, our poverty and ignorance of the world outside, of our loss.
|The melding of Modern industrial capitalism, the selva, and the classical expression of man-made beauty as earth is turned to world by exile from all.|
To update a bit, I hear that Lambda had a fall from a second story and landed on his head, being in a coma for 15 days and then was pronounced dead. The doctor refused to sign off on that, even though the heart monitor was flat-lining, because Lambda's body was still 98.6 degrees. Now, the story goes, Lambda is blind in one eye and colour blind in the other, creating pictures by intuitive mathematical calculation. I've read some books by Oliver Sachs, so I don't discount even the most outrageous bullshit about people anymore. Who knows what people can do. They often surprise me, sometimes frighten me. Mostly I'm simply amazed.
Because people are so strange and unpredictable, in spite of leftard determinist pseudo-thought, I got a copy of Lambda's Still Life with Candle to present to the German girl I like. I told her I would bring her flowers and chocolate, and she didn't barf, so I thought about what kind of flowers one gives a woman who lives alone in the Amazon jungle. I think a painting of flowers will do as well as anything that would wilt to death long before I got through with the four hour bus ride and hour long walk to her house to present them to her. If we were in a city and I were meeting her at a restaurant, then cut flowers it would be. For now, it's a painting. If I strike out here I'm blaming Lambda for being a hack, and I'll take consolation by eating the chocolate I intend to give her otherwise.
If I survive the anacondas and don't eat the chocolate, I'll be sure to let the world know.
A gentle reminder that my book, An Occasional Walker, is available at the link here:
Occasional-Walker-D-W/dp/ 0987761501/ref=sr_1_1?s=books& ie=UTF8&qid=1331063095&sr=1-1
And here are some reviews and comments on said book: