Two weeks ago Gretchen and I spent a few hours buying "modern" furniture at our nearby Ikea. Spoils loaded into the car, sights set for home, we sat idle for a few minutes, stationed parallel to the Holiday Inn, waiting to drive onto the on ramp and away from College Park, MD.
"F.ART!" I cried, pointing out the passenger window to the couple of somewhat ambiguous youth, wealth, and race walked to their parked car. "F.ART!" I cried again. Gretchen looked out her window. In their hands the couple clutched two paintings - starving artist paintings.
Gretchen reeled in horror. "Don't do it!" She screamed. It was cool out, and our windows kept out the chill of an early winter breeze, but they weren't so tight to seal in our mocking cries of horror. Or, so it seemed, anyway. The couple looked at each other. They looked around like children seeking the guidance of adult supervision. They looked at their newly acquired "art" and made the faces of uncertainty.
We gasped as he turned over his work: an insipid sea side portrait that might even make Thomas Kinkade, the current king of all kitsch, cringe. We gasped again when her work came into view. More of the same. Thin paintings, straight from the tube. The light turned green, and we drove onto the Interstate, choking back our vomit.
There is art and there is crime. We caught them red-handed.