Not Painting A Pretty Picture Of Themselves

, , , | Right | February 18, 2021

I am selling two types of hand-painted products at a craft fair. A customer can purchase a pre-made item or a custom one that they can order and come back for in a few hours. I require half the payment before starting, unless they want a name on it. If they want a name, I require the full payment, because it’s harder to resell if they walk away.

[Product #1]’s colors tend to be more pastel, while [Product #2]’s colors are darker. I cannot use [Product #1]’s colors on [Product #2], and vice versa. I tried to get the same rainbow for [Product #1] and [Product #2], but they are off, especially the warm colors. To prevent confusion, I make separate pricing charts and color samplers for both products. I’ve had some customers get upset at the limitations on their color choices, but this was a new one.

Customer: “I love your stuff! I want a custom [Product #2].”

Me: “Thank you! What colors would you like?”

Customer: “Hmm… this light red, the dark pink, and the bright orange!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but the red and orange can only be used on [Product #1]. Is it okay if I use the darker red and orange?”

Customer: “But it’s all paint.”

Me: “Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.”

Customer: “Yes, it does. Paint is paint is paint!”

Me: “Actually, no.”

I explain the different materials and drying times.

Customer: *Scoffs* “Just do it anyway!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but it’s not going to look right, and it definitely won’t last.”

Customer: “I don’t care. Do it anyway!”

Me: “Okay. But I would like to be paid up front in full.”

Customer: “What?! Your sign says that I only have to pay half up front on designs without names!”

Me: “Yes, but you’re asking me to use the wrong paint. I can’t resell it.”

Customer: “But it doesn’t have a name!”

Me: “Sorry. I need you to pay in full or no sale.”

Customer: *Smugly* “I can call the cops on you for violating a written agreement. Wouldn’t like that, would you?”

Me: *Shrugs* “You’re welcome to call them.”

The customer just stormed off, defeated.

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There’s Nothing Comic About Racism

, , , , | Friendly | February 17, 2021

When I am a teenager, around the year 2000, I start a story and share it through a forum. People love it and say I should make a comic out of it. Alas, I can’t draw digitally and don’t have a scanner, but someone offers to draw the comic for me.

I ask him to draw the main character, an energetic black girl. He draws her in black and white lineart. Using MS Paint, I add colour (very terribly). He then draws her again, using most of my colours.

This all takes place through forum posts.

Me: “She looks great! She does look very pale, though.”

Artist: “Oh, I thought that was a mistake. I thought she was this colour, because she was based on you?”

Me: “No, she’s not. I wish I was as cool as her! But if you could darken her skin, that would be great.”

He darkens her skin to a more olive tint.

Me: “Can you please darken it more?”

Artist: “This is as dark as I can go.” 

Me: “Really? I looked online, and your software should be able to use hex codes, right? Could you use something like [hex code of dark brown]?”

Artist: “No, my software won’t allow me.”

Me: “But you are using [Software], right? It says on this site that you can add hex codes. Maybe if you swap palettes? This tutorial tells you how.”

Artist: “No, not my software.”

At that point, people were calling his BS. I was just confused about why his software didn’t allow him— naive me. Eventually, he lashed out, saying that black people scared him and he flat-out refused to colour her in the colours specified. He was promptly banned from the forum, and rightly so! I was very confused about this — again, naive me — because he showed pictures of himself and he was Hispanic and had dark skin. 

The comic never happened, and looking back at it, it was a terribly thin story. Still, I taught myself how to draw, and now I can draw her myself, making sure she has the right skin tone every time.

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Art Is… Complicated

, , , , , , | Learning | February 17, 2021

I was a physics major, but there were still some general education courses that were required. Although a few had some useful information, most of them were worthless. I went to the first few classes, and if I found that they contained no useful information, I would not read the books or go to the lectures except when needed. One of these courses was called “Survey of the Arts.”

For my midterm essay, I argued that art movements typically have patterns opposing societal change, such as the “Romanticism” art movement standing against increasing industrialization and a decreasing sense of individual dignity.

For my final essay, I argued that art movements typically have patterns reflecting societal change, such as the “Realism” art movement being caused by increasing industrialization and a decreasing sense of individual dignity.

I got good grades on both.

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At Least You’re Not Eating Garbage

, , , , , , | Learning | December 3, 2020

I have to take an art history class that is required for college. One evening, the professor takes note of the sweatshirt I’m wearing.

Professor: “Is that a Keith Haring shirt?”

Me: “Oh, no, but I guess it does kind of look like one, though.”

Professor: “So, what is the design, then?”

I’m embarrassed as h***.

Me: “It’s Danny Devito in his underwear stuck inside a piece of playground equipment.”

Professor: “Oh, I see.”

It’s a reference to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

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A Fold In Her New Reality

, , , , , | Right | December 2, 2020

I work in an arts and craft store that does not sell cards. We do sell thick paper that you can make into cards yourself, though.

A day before Father’s Day, these papers are popular with people looking to make their own personalized cards. Everything is going smoothly until one woman enters the store. She clearly speaks English, is middle-aged, and was clearly not born yesterday, so this still perplexes me.

Customer: “Do you sell cards?”

Me: “Not really, but we do sell paper you can fold and make into your own card.”

Customer: “Can you show me?”

I bring her over to all the selections of paper.

Me: “So, if you just fold these in half, you get your own card you can personalize in any way.”

Customer: *Pause* “How do you fold a piece of paper in half?”

Me: “You… fold in it in half?”

I then demonstrated how to fold a paper in half, thinking maybe she didn’t know how to cleanly fold a paper to get a clean edge. But no… this woman is still confused and amazed that I could do this.

I had to show her again how to do this, and when I unfolded it, she just looked so lost and unsure how this card had then turned back into an A4 piece of paper.

Somehow, this woman had gone her entire life never folding any form of paper in half or realizing that a card, unfolded, is just a piece of paper.

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