Likened to the art equivalent of a rock star, Mark Saint was high on fame, making appearances in posh Soho galleries and even landed a cushy spot in MoMa while rubbing shoulders with other rising luminaries, though none quite so young as he was. Imagine that, nineteen years old and armed only with a survey course of Renaissance to Contemporary Art, rocketing to the high charts and shaking hands with old men and women who were absolutely enraptured by him.
He had his critics, of course. His work was called “haphazard” and “asinine, aimless tropes” right next to gleaming words of praise and vague resemblance to worship. Some days the former was preferable to the latter; Mark was all too aware that his discovery was nigh accidental, and there were far more deserving people. But why curse his good fortune?
Initial claim to fame: a transparent, human shaped candy dispenser, clothed in a modest white summer dress, the head filled with pale, hard sweets. Ten cents a candy, and by the end of the exhibition the head was devoid of anything left but clear plastic, the face molded after his long time friend, Elise, who had died of brain cancer. It was the least he could do; it was the best he could do for her, and it wasn't enough.
He did not tell anyone what this had meant though, his art, and people assumed many things about the installation, that it signified the disposable and easy to get girls and their “sweets” of the flesh, that it was a disgusting and sexist thing, a social commentary, a biting observation. It could have easily meant that way, but in truth it was of her decay, the soft flesh of her brain slowly degrading into nothing until she was reduced to but a few sentences on the last day he saw her alive. For a boy who never wept he wailed and wailed, sixteen and voice like hoarse thunder.
Someone had approached him once, a hefty rich man who was so entranced by Candy Elise's beauty that he offered a ridiculous sum of money to subvert the theme into something vulgar.
And what did Mark Saint do?
He punched him in the face, as any good rock star would, causing far more than a ruckus.