Over the years I’ve become somewhat of a packrat. I used to question why I was putting so much of this stuff away, but now that I’m older I’m beginning to realize just how important this, sometimes ridiculous, habit is.
My collection ranges from the usual art project one of my daughters at some point has graciously gifted unto me to knickknacks that hold some level of sentimental value. Every year I try to do a purge of all these items in hopes of not being nominated for recommendation on some hording show that is sure to gain the viewership of those in my house regardless if I’m the main focus or not. But every year when I tackle this incessant chore, I always find one set of objects that I simply can’t let go of…
This all started about a year after I met Ann. I remember it all as if it were yesterday. She went into the bathroom to get ready for the night. About a month before this moment, we had gone through a really rough patch and temporarily separated. I wouldn’t get too sad about this, including the time I’m talking about, Ann and I have only really experienced two major shakeups in the almost eighteen years we’ve been together. I’d think we’d all agree that those odds are pretty gosh darn good given the world we live in.
Anyway, Ann was in the bathroom getting ready and after she applies her lipstick, she always grabs a piece of paper from out of the ether, folds it in half and blots any excess makeup onto it by simply pressing her lips against the fold. I had seen her do this a thousand times prior to this moment, but this time the piece of paper seemed to feel constricted and refused to conform. The paper unfolded a bit and I remember thinking the pattern had “loosely” resembled one of Warhol’s Rorschach series pieces.
In those days, I was further from art and the art world than you are right now from Pluto. So as you can imagine, me making an artist’s connection to something so nominal and for most, so bland, even shocked the daylights out of me. But for whatever reason it happened and I moved in to pick the piece of paper up.
Once I held it in my hands, I immediately felt closer to her. I can’t explain why, some things just “are.” I used to think it was because we had just recently gotten back together and having this piece of paper allowed me to keep a little piece of her near me as a “just in case.” But as time rolled along, the fear of waking up and never seeing her again faded completely.
To this day, I keep a sharp look out for little pieces of paper that have her excess lipstick on them. I tuck them away in a box downstairs. I have hundreds of them and I’m sure I’ll collect hundreds more. Now that my daughters have gotten older, I do have to do a double check to make sure what I’ve found has actually come from Ann!
I originally wanted to replicate one of these prints for this project, but I think this painting of a lipstick tube will do. There are some things that should be shared and there are some things that should be celebrated, but there are also some things that I enjoy knowing, solely belong to me… and this is one of them.
So in honor of every unintended kiss, I present this lipstick. Every time I see lipstick now, I can feel her running back into my life. I can see her unknowingly offering a lifetime of reassurance and most importantly, I see her, just as unconditionally as I did when I first laid eyes on her… almost eighteen years ago.
Size: 6 x 4 (inches)
Materials: 90lb Cold Press Paper
Frame: Mini Wooden Shadow Box with Glass (4 5/8"W x 6 5/8"T x 1.25"D)
Completed: Sunday, October 26, 2014
Artist: Adam Kiger
Represented By: Park View Gallery
Artist's Website: www.adamkiger.com
Who is Ann and what is 31 flavors of love?!