Phil Page, Belletrist Le Belles Lettres

Art is sometimes the work you make and other times the work that makes you. I made a drawing when I was 3 that was art, some pen lines that organically bonded with each other on the paper to form a car. but it wasn’t the result that made me an artist, it was the process of drawing out of myself that made me an artist. There is a very specific feeling I recall clearly from that day because I have felt it every day since, that there is a full well of water right behind my sternum, and when I draw, I draw that water out of myself and fill a page. sometimes the water is flat and sometimes its sparkling, but the well is always full and I have to draw from it every day. Now going on 46 years, I make the drawing and the drawing makes me.

The page I am filling today, like every page I have ever filled, is all parameters and possibilities. The parameters give shape and the possibilities give volume. The difference between a sheet of paper and a large wall in the city center is the difference between my indoor voice and my outdoor voice. Everyday I mumble to myself but today I am yelling across the universe from the town of Besançon in eastern France. The good people of the town have removed nearly every parameter preventing me from painting, leaving me only with the possibilities of fulfilling this wall to the fullest. Well, there is one crucial parameter, to speak for and to the neighbors and the city. As one of the locals told me, VESENTIO ROSTER VICTUS “We are (the ancient Roman name of the city) Vesentio”. I think he said, my French and his English are shit (Pardon my French). But in that communication problem I found all my possibilities.

There are French words in everyday English and English words in everyday French. I say faux pas too often, tout de suite too rarely, and non de plume you can presume is at the top of my resumè. The English influence on French is a lot less poetic, but way more party; OK cool week-end living room underground fun sexy quick open DJ chat blues non-stop happy hour dance floor jetlag rush. That is the best sentence I ever wrote in French. So I am drawing from the French, the English and myself to make the work that is making me; a line drawing of the lines of communication we share. Drawing in public means the possibility of drawing people together. If the lines I draw connect on the wall and with the community, then its what is rightly called the mot juste; The right word in the right place. The community drawn together may be my masterpiece. Maybe.