Six foot three, I surmised. I was sitting on my ultra small portable stool so he looked tall. His dark skin gleamed from the late morning sun like a newly polished car. He appeared to be of African descent with an American accent. He smiled looking curiously at us then asked “are you all artists?“. With our heads down, buried in our sketchbooks and the occasional glance at our subject we all replied “Sketchers. Urban Sketchers.”
Sunday Spring Morning Sketch Walk
Sketching walking. We don’t do it very often but every now and then when we do, we encounter interesting people and discover interesting places in our backyard. One of the joys and satisfactions of being an urban sketcher.
Our subject, the 1915 Electricity Substation on the corner of Palmerston and Stuart Street, Northbridge. Three of us sat stretched along the short snaked footpath that began from the street and meandered around the apartments to what was once the wetlands. Sketchbook Blue decided she would stand to sketch, using her push bike to rest her sketchbook on.
“I’m an artist too! I do abstract art“. He stood towards the end of the path near the intersection of the road. He continued, unaware that our polite lack of engagement with him was a sign that we just wanted to sketch undisturbed “abstract art is great. you can project your mind into the canvas” …..then something, something, something, his voice faded out as his “friend” also of dark complexion, dressed in loose dark weathered clothing, pestered him for some “rollies” . I recalled only the last few words of his sentence, Egyptian technology and abstract art. Not sure what he was referring to. I wasn’t really listening and neither was the rest of the group.
The four of us gave each other a knowing but subtle glance with raised eyebrows and a cheeky grin as if to say “I know what you’re thinking”. It was too early in the day to have mind altering substances but then again we were situated in that part of Northbridge where you encounter interesting characters and need to be aware of your own personal safety.
“But I also do graffiti” he added, smiling and still with his unrelenting friend, harassing him for more rollies . His large shadow cast over us as we continued to sketched, keeping us from the warmth of the morning sun. It was evident he preferred to have a conversation with us than engage with his friend.
“I’m naughty, they hate me. They call me Satan.”
His friend won. His persistent pestering paid off. We were relieved and we laughed, he said his good-byes and crossed the street.
Good Bye Satan!
BTW, it was also a Sunday when we met Satan.