Your father is a fine and honorable man. Nonetheless, I must take issue with a comment he made some days back.
While the two of you were engaged in conversation, your father looked about my empire, and his gaze fell upon my throne on which I lay myself down for occasional constitutionals after my creative endeavors, and upon your pillow. At this point, he made the statement that, however unintentional, wounded me deeply:
“Boy, Hugo sure sheds a lot.”
It is understandable that your father would make a statement that conveys such a grievous error in judgement. I admit that there are those of my kind who carelessly leave parts of themselves about their particular residences, heedless of the way in which such leavings clash with the surface on which they choose to leave these parts of themselves behind. In my case, however, these instances of what your father so coarsely referred to as “shedding” are nothing of the sort.
The tradition of an artist using unusual materials is not a new one. Richard Serra (bottom left) created vast sculptures out of huge sheets of cast iron, Donald Judd (bottom center) used milled steel, and Julian Schnabel (bottom right) used broken dishes. In my case, I use the most intimate material that I have, my coat.
I call your attention to my first work, “Rescue (top left).” Here, I used my throne as my canvas, creating a careful composition that is, in many ways, a representation of myself. My careful use of white to contrast against the black background creates, if you will, visual representation of the power that we draw from places of respite.
In this same way, the work demands that the viewer compare the so called “comforts of home” available to the more fortunate with the bleak options available to the homeless. I, of course, roamed the streets in my childhood, and before we became acquainted I knew what it was to be a man without an address, let alone a man without an empire. Given this, the work is actually a tribute to you, sir, for you rescued me from my sorry state, and properly installed me as ruler of the empire that I now oversee with an even and just hand.
It is this same tribute to you that suffuses my work “By Your Side (top right)." Here, the very pillow on which you sleep provides an intimate canvas in which I create a portrait of intimacy. When you sleep, I am by your side, and I therefore chose this very place of connection between us as the surface on which I created this work.
The gentle feathering of white on black is symbolic of my constant desire to provide you with comfort and solace during your darkest moments. In the same way that you provided me with comfort and love, so do I wish to convey, in this work, the comfort and love that I seek to provide you. In many ways, this is my most heartfelt work; it conveys my deep gratitude for your kindness and years of service as my personal valet, and how this relationship between ruler and subject has evolved into a deep and lasting friendship.
Having said all this, I ask: please urge your father to take another look. The apartment in which I dwell and over which I rule is not simply a place in which I have scattered myself. It is instead a gallery, a statement of the vital importance of art for each and every soul.
Having written these words—and, of course, having created these works—I find myself quite fagged out. I shall require a dish of haddock posthaste, and shall then retire to my throne, or should you choose to take a brief respite yourself, the pillow that we share. We are, after all, bound by our joint yearning to create, and must celebrate the symbiotic relationship that exists between those who have an artist’s heart.