Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Whatever Is Freckled"

This poem came out of the April 3, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from elenbarathi, [personal profile] stardreamer, and [personal profile] readera. It also fills the "dynamic" square in my 4-1-18 card for the Spring Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

"Whatever Is Freckled"

Rocia Morales was in her final year at
the Ringling College of Art & Design when
a careless student managed to blow up
the Caron Bowman Fine Arts Building
with dozens of people inside it.

Terrified and trapped in the rubble
for hours, Rocia was exposed to
an unknown combination of materials.

"What am I going to do now?" she whispered
into the darkness. "What am I going to do now?"

Eventually the firefighters managed to dig
everyone out of the ruins, but by then
the damage had already been done.

As a result, Rocia lost enough dexterity
to make conventional painting difficult,
but she also developed superpowers.

She could annihilate herself and
then coalesce from the scraps.

She could also teleport, leaving behind
a dynamic splatter of indelible colors
on whatever was nearby. It always
included the natural tan of her skin
and the darker brown of her hair
streaked with red and blonde
from the sun, but the colors of
her clothes were included too.

Every time she teleported,
she lost a little mass, and that
made it hard to keep her weight up,
not to mention tripling her grocery bill.

It was harder on her clothes --
most things fell apart after
only two or three trips.

Rocia learned to dress in
colorful rags from thrift stores
whenever she wanted to paint
by using her teleportation.

Her mother's side of the family
was supportive, but her father's side
disowned her, on the premise that
all superpowers were "black magic."

It was nonsense, of course;
Rocia's abilities had nothing
to do with magic of any kind.

That didn't stop them from
saying awful things to her, though,
and she dreaded going home
for winter break this year.

Her aunt's "Devil spawn!" was
only slightly less hurtful than
her grandfather's "Hija de puta."

Then the college kicked her out,
claiming she was "unable to meet
Ringling standards" in painting and that
it "would not be fair to other students"
to let her continue using superpowers.

For all their talk about "finding new ways
to engage with traditional artistic processes,"
they sure didn't want it when they saw it.

Rocia cried and cried, because
now she had the student debt
with no degree to show for it and
no way to finish her education.

Then she picked herself up
and decided to learn on her own.

It's not like Ringling had offered
classes in superpowered art, though
she had looked forward to taking
Women Artists in History for spring.

So Rocia bought a giant roll of paper
and practiced her splatter patterns on
that, until she learned a little control.

Then she bought slabs of drywall
and teleported through them
to make beautiful murals.

She stayed in her apartment
instead of going home to visit.
She could do one jump a day,
and that built up inventory.

Then Rocia arranged a booth at
the Sarasota Winter Fine Arts Festival,
where she set her 16 x 24" canvases
at $135, her 24 x 36" ones at $275, and
the 4' x 8' drywall panels at $1150.

"Buy some super art!" she called
to the pedestrians strolling past.
"It's guaranteed not to fade."

She sold one drywall mural and
several smaller canvases, which
more than justified the effort.

As Rocia made more art,
her skill improved, and
also word got around
that it wouldn't fade
even in direct sunlight.

It took a while for her sales
to catch up with the trend of
soup-touched anything costing
two to four times the base rate,
but slowly the value of her work
began to creep upwards.

By the time Rocia set up for
the Spring Fine Arts Festival,
her prices were up to $200,
$420, and $1725 respectively.

That summer, she bought
a 48-48 bus pass and visited
street fairs all over the country,
making and selling artwork.

In a few places, she even
felt safe enough to make art
right in front of an audience, and
that's what finally made her prices
hit double the base rate for naries.

By autumn, Rocia was beginning
to attract some international interest,
so she acquired a passport.

She traveled to Mexico and
and Spain and other countries.
She left her mark on walls
from Oaxaca to Madrid.

Various art galleries and
even a few museums began
to display some of her artwork.

Then Rocia got an invitation from
the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze
in Italy, who wanted her to come
and make a mural for them.

When her guide led her to the wall
she was supposed to decorate,
though, her attention snagged
on a little statue of a faun that
wagged its tail and winked at her.

"Is that gizmology?" she asked.

"Oh no," said the guide. "It's magic.
We've had that thing for centuries,
although it's only been on public display
for a few decades. We thought your style
of art would make a perfect accompaniment."

By happy coincidence, the flags of
Mexico and Italy shared the colors
of green, white, and red in wide bands.

Rocia put on a fiesta dress with
a white bodice and a tricolored skirt.

It made quite a splash on the yellow wall.

After that, Rocia went to France and
saw some of the famous cave paintings,
hand stencils made by spitting paint
over the back of people's hands.

That gave her the idea to try
making art with shaped canvas
placed over drywall, giving her
two separate paintings for
each use of her superpower.

They proved even more popular
than the small canvas sets.

She no longer had to worry about
making enough money for food.

Then Rocia got a call from
a woodworker in Texas who had
made a map of the 48 contiguous states
using a piece of wood from each one.

"Can you splatter this for me?"
Austin asked, sending her a file
with a picture of his sculpture.
"Preferably wearing this dress?"

The dress had a blue bodice above
a skirt of red, white, and blue.

The sculpture wasn't quite 18 x 24"
but Austin offered her $500 to do it,
and Rocia didn't have to provide
either the canvas or the clothing.

"I'll be happy to do that," she said.

Rocia hung the sculpture in front
of a drywall panel, then teleported,
thus creating a second painting.

She priced the drywall at $4000
and it sold within a week.

The next day, a cousin emailed
her just to call her nasty names, and
she dropped her phone and broke it,
which left her crying for an hour.

Rocia was reminded yet again
that the accident at college had
annihilated her former life.

No matter how well she was
doing now, the loss still hurt.

She didn't like the religious sect
that her father's family belonged to,
either. All that talk about "black magic"
made it sound too much like a cult.

Then Rocia got a call from Sweden.
"Would you consider serving as
Artist in Residence for a month
at the Royal Institute of Art?"
the Swedish lady asked her.

"I suppose, but I don't speak
Swedish," said Rocia. She hadn't
spoken Italian or French either,
but she was only visiting
those for a few days.

"We'd be happy to fund
a basic class if you'd like
to take one before coming,"
the lady offered at once.

"That would help a lot,"
Rocia said. She checked
her calendar. "How about
spring semester? I don't
have anything scheduled
for March or April yet."

"That would be lovely,"
the lady said. "Do you
have a cape name?"

Well no, not yet, but if
someone was asking then
maybe it was time to pick one.

Rocia remembered a poem
that she had read earlier in
Gender, Race, and Culture class
called "Pied Beauty" that spoke
about the value of things that
were spotted or flawed.

She loved the idea
that whatever is freckled
is precious and worthy of praise.

Every time she annihilated herself,
she left a new work of art behind.

She had created a new life
for herself, too, rising from
the rubble of her past.

Oh yes, it was time for
a new name to reflect that.

"Call me La Moteara," she said.

* * *


La Moteara (Rocia Morales) -- She has tinted skin with freckles, faint on her face but darker on her body. Her eyes are black. Her long wavy hair starts out almost black, but the sun bleaches it to lighter brown with streaks of red and blonde. Her heritage is Hispanic; she is fluent in English and Spanish. Rocia loves collecting crafts from Mexico and other Hispanic countries, like the skeleton figurines and beaded animals. Each year for her birthday, she buys the most elaborate piñata she can afford, as a way of supporting other artists.
Rocia was in her final year of college, majoring in Fine Arts and minoring in Hispanic Studies at Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida. After an accident on campus, she lost some of her dexterity and also manifested superpowers. Because of these developments, the college kicked her out, claiming she was "unable to meet Ringling standards" in painting and that it "would not be fair to other students" to let her continue by using Artistic Teleportation instead. Rocia was heartbroken, but determined to continue studying on her own. In time she developed a unique style based on her superpowers and incorporating her Hispanic aesthetics.
Origin: Due to students violating safety procedures, Rocia was caught in an explosion in the Caron Bowman Fine Arts Building at her college. She was terrified and trapped in the rubble for hours, exposed to an unknown combination of materials. After that she developed superpowers, along with losing enough dexterity to make conventional painting difficult.
Uniform: Rocia wears casual women's clothes, often with bright Hispanic designs.
Qualities: Good (+2) Artist, Good (+2) Beautiful, Good (+2) Collecting Hispanic Crafts, Good (+2) Latina, Good (+2) Thinking Outside the Box
Poor (-2) Dexterity
Powers: Good (+2) Artistic Teleportation
When Rocia disappears, she leaves behind a colorful splatter. It always bears the browns and tans of her hair and skin, but also incorporates the colors of her clothes. She is learning to control the shape for a more aesthetic effect. The marks are indelible and appear on whatever is nearby when she teleports.
Vulnerability: Rocia has a high-burn metabolism due to losing some mass every time she teleports. It doesn't cause injuries but does make weight maintenance a challenge. She is afraid to try transporting anyone else, even though her mentor says that it should be safe for her to carry one passenger.
Also, Rocia can only teleport in a given garment a few times before it falls apart. Sturdier fabric lasts longer, while flimsy fabric may not withstand more than one jump. Poor fabric falls apart after one jump, Average after two, Good after three, Expert after five, and Master after seven. Much the same applies to any other inert objects that she carries.
Motivation: To make the world more beautiful.

1. (general)
a. la mota (f)
2. (general)
a. motear
flecked with paint con gotas de pintura
-- Spanish Dictionary

el pintor
1. (artist)
a. el pintor (m), la pintora (f)
He became a well-known painter. Se convirtió en un pintor célebre.
-- Spanish Dictionary

Ringling College of Art & Design has a reputation for being a bit stuck-up. See the course catalog, majors, Fine Arts major, and an overview of its goals.

A minor features five courses (15 credit hours) taken outside a student's degree program. T-America offers a minor in Hispanic Studies:
SBSC 235 Hispanic Perspectives (T-American)
LMST 278 Hispanic Media (T-American)
ARTH 345 Latin American Art History
SBSC 250 Gender, Race and Culture OR SBSC 275 Changing Cultures: Peoples in Modern World
Fine Arts Elective (FINE 279 Latin Palette) (T-American)

The average food cost for one person on a moderate budget is about $3,000 per year, and most people spend around 6% of their income on food. Triple that is $9,000. Terramagne-America has a minimum wage of $15 per hour, which adds up to $28,800 per year. So $9,000 is 31.25% of $28,800 -- nearly a third of that income, which is the recommended maximum for housing and five times the portion customarily spent on food. The financial cost of supporting a superpower can be brutal.

Austin Fambrough -- He has pinkish-fair skin, brown eyes, and mousy brown cut hair just above his shoulders. He has a mustache. He needs glasses for closeup work but nothing else. Austin is a woodworker who enjoys making everything from rustic projects to delicate scrollwork. Many of his projects involve fitting together small pieces of different woods. He lives in Dallas, Texas and is far more progressive than most of his neighbors, but more conservative than people on the coasts. He admires soups in particular, and quietly looks for ways to integrate them better. Austin approached Rocia Morales to collaborate on a wooden map of America by spattering it with her colors, and she agreed.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Woodworker, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Family Man, Good (+2) Visual-Spatial Intelligence
Poor (-2) Needs Glasses

* * *

"Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manley Hopkins
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

-- Poetry Foundation

hijo de puta kind of translates as "son of a bitch" in English but literally it means son of a whore. Puta is short for Spanish "prostituta" which means prostitute.
Shut up you hijo de puta.
-- Urban Dictionary

1. (relative)
a. daughter
Mi hija se llama Laura. My daughter's name is Laura.
-- Spanish Dictionary

Pricing poses a challenge in many arts and crafts. Murals are often priced by square foot. Paintings are often priced by square inch (or centimeter). The area approach works great for someone who works in large size with a splatter technique that doesn't require fine detail work.

Prices must factor in materials, and size matters. Here are some prices for wall canvas and fine art canvas at Joann or Dick Blick.
18″ x 24″ -- $17.99 (Joann) or $52.24 (Dick Blick)
24″ x 36″ -- $29.99 (Joann) or $83.64 (Dick Blick)
36″ x 48″ -- $156.75 (Dick Blick)

Drywall is much cheaper, and popular for portable murals; I've seen it used at street art festivals. Terramagne-America offers some art brands of drywall, typically around 4x8' ($10), 4x12' ($15), 4x16" ($20), 6x6' ($12), and 6x12' ($24).
4' by 8': $6 per board
4' by 12': $10 per sheet
4' by 16': $15 per sheet
-- Home Advisor

A 4x8' panel of art drywall is 32 square feet and costs $10. At $35 per square foot, that's $1120. Consumable clothes cost another $10 or so. Most of the "materials cost" actually comes from feeding the artist. Round up to $1150 per panel and that's a good base rate. Twice that is $2300, three times is $3450, and four times is $4600. Beyond that, the rates can go up a lot faster for a big name artist. A mural only takes a few minutes to set up and "paint" with superpowers. Unlike many art media, it won't fade even in direct sunlight. Even at a lower skill level, the durability alone pushes up the value, because it can go where other art just wouldn't survive. Rocia can make one panel per day without running up her metabolism higher than it already is.

Rocia also makes some smaller panels by stacking them together to cover a large enough area. One 18″ x 24″ canvas is 3 square feet and costs $18. At $35 per square foot, that's $105. Consumable clothes cost another $10. Round up from $133 to $135. She customarily stacks eight of these together to create a 4x6' painting area, for a total of $1080. One 24″ x 36″ canvas is 6 square feet and costs $30. At $35 per square foot, that's $210. Add materials and it's $250. She customarily stacks four of these together to create a 4x6' painting area, for a total of $1000. Rocia doesn't want that to cost less than the 18x24" layout, so she raises the price per 24x36" canvas to $275, making four of them $1100. The panels in a set can be sold together or separately.

The prices for the spring festival are roughly 50% higher than the initial prices at the winter festival.

The Sarasota Winter Fine Arts Festival runs in early to mid-January. Merchants set up outdoor booths. Florida weather is usually clement at this time of year.

The Sarasota Spring Fine Arts Festival runs in early to mid-March, again with booths outside.

Terramagne-America has much better public transportation than local-America does, so long-term passes are plentiful, popular, and high in quality. Depending on how much identification you want to show at the ticket window, you can get a punch-pass (which anyone can use, but if you lose it you're out the investment), a personal pass (which requires photo ID, but only you can use it and it's replaceable if lost), or a mass-transit ID (which is an actual picture ID card issued by major bus/train companies, for folks who don't drive, and can be loaded with any pass you buy). Passes can be local, state, regional, or national in range. The more common timespans are for one, three, six, or twelve months. Then there are the oddball specials. A 48-48 is a bus pass that gives complete access to the company's routes in all 48 contiguous states for 48 days.

The Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (Academy of Fine Arts of Florence) is an instructional art academy in Florence, located Tuscany, toward the middle of Italy. It dates back to 1563, and has spawned many famous artists.

[This fine art link is explicit and not safe for work.]
Various styles of faun and satyr, along with assorted portrayals of Pan, appear in Mediterranean art. A museum in local-Rome has a statue of Pan copulating with a nanny goat. The style is similar but the faun in the T-Italian statue is merely nude, not actively having sex.

The flag of Mexico and the flag of Italy have the same color pattern. The only difference is that Mexico put an eagle medallion in the center of theirs. Rocia's fiesta dress uses the colors green, white, and red to reflect both flags.

France has many cave paintings. Those of Lascaux are among the most dramatic, with many hand stencils done in reverse.

Shaped canvas is available in various styles. Simple geometric shapes (round, oval, triangle, hexagon, etc.) are the most popular. However, customized supports such as this arch set or a cloud shape are also possible.

See the American map in wood.

This is Rocia's red, white, and blue dress.

Read about the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden.

Tourists may wish to take a travel language class. You can also find basic and more detailed lessons in Swedish online. It's related to German, one of the main roots of English, which makes it fairly easy to learn for English speakers. Since many Swedes also speak English, travelers can get by with a short class like this. T-American folks are mostly bilingual to begin with, which also helps, and there it's pretty common to take a travel language class before visiting a foreign country.
Tags: art, cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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