:: Article

2011 (or, Life is the Greatest Form of Art)

By Kimberly Nichols

Girl leaves the desert with heater flames licking the dense air filled with the visiting old souls of Dia de los Muertos,

My new front yard fence like Plato’s cave where fairy princess head tops float and a cranky old man yells, “I’m a ninja,”

Home from the valley with a car full of Donna Mac’s trash donated to me for art supplies: shells, paper, lipsticks and thread,

Boys outside my house trying on the tennis shoes left on the street last night by some hurried hobo,

Stomach butterfly thrill of lush green oil paint evoking an Austrian landscape, subconsciously conjured from the strata of Egon Schiele,

Watching Bogey and Bacall on the big screen with my friend Bill as he pours Juliet cabernet for me and tells me I bring mysticism to his life,

Watching belly dance veil instruction videos sent by Shahram, entering my Jesus on a bed of nails period,

The crossroads of Echo Park and Elysium Fields on a spiritual tribe member’s balcony with potted plans and paintings that explore humanity,

Fresh coffee, sunshine, and wounded man stickers ready to layer on wet red paint on wood for future plop art, oyster of a world,

That eternal fear slash impetus in the groin when I put myself out there with my art and writing to stand naked in front of strangers,

Watching Wild West television, talking integrity and performance art, spearing fig, strawberries and bananas from big white bowls,

Hunching over a laptop with my friend Nicky to watch Easy Rider over a bottle of Chateneuf du Pape,

Technology in bed and the Beatles floating in from somewhere outside,

Road trips northwest to help age old friends deal with death accompanied by red wine nightcaps, mimolette cheese and animals that come to sleep with me at night like guardians,

Feeling like I’m a kid again,

A stranger buying me a surprise on rye and delivering it to me because he likes my dress,

The simultaneous triad of fear, exhilaration and liberation stemming from the complete unknown and jumping into the void,

Neon el wire arriving in the mail for upcoming Burning Man nights,

Knowing that my friends still take me places even with paint all over my clothes, in fact, the fact that they now have come to expect it,

12:30 a.m. blood yellow orange crescent moon all alone in the backyard with only crickets chirping,

The gas station clerk telling me “it’s a wonderful day and people like you make the wonder,”

Braids in the hair and black cotton dresses on sale in the summer,

My friend Shaktima saying, “There is nothing worse for a human being then to feel that one isn’t giving their best to the world,”

Documentary films on an earthquake weather Saturday,

Cracking the ego, dropping the vixen, sharpening the integrity and honing the vision…

Kimberly Nichols is an artist, writer and social anthropologist living in Venice Beach, California. She has been exhibiting for over a decade as a conceptual artist in the United States and is the author of the book of literary short fiction Mad Anatomy. She also serves as editor for the socially progressive journal Newtopia. She is a contributing editor to 3:AM where her poetry project Life is the Greatest Form of Art debuts this month with a piece encapsulating her tweets from 2011. She is currently at work on her second book Neptune’s Journey as well as a 22-piece conceptual art project titled FOOL.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, September 8th, 2012.