Art and Sold

By: Mark J. Hadley

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The City of Townsville…site of this year's New Artists Convention, a gathering of artists from around the country to show off their works in a single huge exhibit. The large gallery varied widely, everything from statues to paintings, from the realistic to the abstract. This was a chance for them to reveal their newest works to the public, and the chance to start a new artistic trend.

But most importantly of all, multi-millionaire art aficionado Arthur Rooles is always in attendance to this convention. Mr. Rooles was well known throughout the art community as a huge trendsetter; he always singled out the most daring or original pieces of art, and news of that artist's success would spread far and wide. So naturally, everyone was excited when Mr. Rooles showed up in Townsville, heading off to the convention. His reactions weren't very pleased, however…

"Dull," he said, walking down the corridor of art and casting a disdainful glance at the paintings on the wall. Mr. Rooles was a tall man with brown hair and eyes, and was elegantly dressed in a tuxedo for the occasion. He continued, mostly to himself, "No imagination…no fire. I swear, the artists lose a bit of their soul each year."

There was a man walking just behind him, with white hair and blue eyes; he also wore a simple gray suit. The man nodded in agreement with Mr. Rooles and said, "Yes, sir."

"I'm sick and tired of the same old thing, Jenkins," Mr. Rooles said. "I want something different…but these…" He hesitated and took a close look at a painting of a bowl of fruit. "Look at that…no concept. It's just another still life. How boring. I'd better find something to make this trip worthwhile, or this'll be the last year I go to this thing…"

Elsewhere in the gallery, a different group of people was admiring the art they saw: Professor Utonium and the Powerpuff Girls. The professor had decided that the girls needed to be exposed to a little more culture, so when the convention came to Townsville, he decided to take them to see the exhibits. Stopping in front of one painting, just solid white with a few black lines crossing it, he said, "Impressive artistry, don't you think?"

"You've gotta be kidding," Buttercup scoffed. "Look at it! Did they do that in, like, ten seconds or something? I can't believe people pay for this stuff…"

Blossom shrugged, "I don't think anything's wrong with it. Professor, that'd look great in the hallway, don't you think?"

"Come to think of it, you're right," the professor nodded. He stepped forward and took a closer look at the price, and slapped a hand to his forehead, "Wha? Four thousand dollars?!"

Blossom scratched her head and said, "Welllll…actually, that is a little pricey, isn't it? What do you think, Bubbles?" She looked around, and noticed that Bubbles had taken a seat on one of the benches nearby. Her crayons were out, and she was doodling on some paper. "Bubbles, we didn't come here to play around, we came here to learn…"

"I know," Bubbles said. "But I just felt like coloring!"

The professor grinned, "Well, at least someone's being inspired by all this."

Buttercup sighed in frustration, "We've been looking at this junk for almost an hour. Can we go already?" When the professor shook his head, she folded her arms and grumbled to herself.

Bubbles finished drawing, and held it up, "There! How's that?" The drawing was probably supposed to be the professor and the other girls standing in front of the painting they were just looking at, although it was done rather quickly, and amounted to little more than stickfigures.

"That's great, sweetie," the professor said with a smile. "But we should get back to looking at the exhibits now. We still have the sculpture exhibit to look at."

Bubbles nodded and got up, hovering back over to them. As she did, Mr. Rooles came into their section of the exhibit, still looking around in disgust at the art he saw. His expression was not unlike Buttercup's. However, he spotted the girls in the distance and froze in shock, then jogged quickly over to them, waving his arm, "Little girl!"

"Hm?" Bubbles said, looking over at him. "Me?"

"That's right," he said, stopping next to her. He pointed at the drawing in her hand and said, "May I see that?" Bubbles hesitated, then raised the drawing up, offering it to him. He took it and looked it over, while the professor and the other girls walked over curiously.

"Ah…mister…?" Bubbles started to say.

"Rooles," he finished for her, not taking his eyes off the drawing. "Arthur Rooles. My goodness…this is brilliant…"

"Huh?" Bubbles said, not understanding.

"What a style," Mr. Rooles said in amazement. Jenkins finally caught up with Mr. Rooles through the crowd and stepped up next to him. Other artists and critics noticed him studying the drawing and started to gather around as he spoke, "Minimal, fluid strokes…no straight edges or balance…simple choice of colors, sticking to the primaries…and the message! Why, looking at this…despite the turbulence you imply from the rough strokes, the whole thing has a sense of inner peace and tranquility! It's like looking upon the world through the eyes of a child…"

Bubbles managed to say, "Um…I am a child…"

"That doesn't matter…what matters is that you got the feeling across!" he exclaimed. "It's fantastic! Such a gifted, talented artist…" Bubbles glanced over at the professor and the other girls. Blossom shrugged back at her. Before Bubbles could say anything else, he asked, "What is your name, little girl?"

"Oh…uh….Bubbles," she answered.

"Bubbles," he said, finally lifting his eyes from the drawing. "I must have this work of art! I'll pay you ten thousand dollars for it…"

The whole crowd gasped when they heard this. All three of the girls and the professor shouted simultaneously, "Ten thousand dollars?!"

Almost before they had even finished saying it, Mr. Rooles handed the drawing over to Jenkins, who handed him a checkbook in return. He filled out a check and tore it out from the book, holding it out towards her, "Do we have a deal?"

Bubbles just gaped, staring at the check. She stammered, "I-I…I…" She looked back at the others. The professor looked like he was about to faint, and Blossom's expression was frozen in astonishment. Buttercup, though, was nodding wildly as if to say, 'What are you waiting for? Take it!' She looked back at Mr. Rooles and slowly reached out, taking the check.

"Splendid!" Mr. Rooles said happily. He grabbed her free hand and shook it vigorously, saying, "I am honored and awed to be in the presence of such a master of art…" With that, he and Jenkins turned and started out of this section of the exhibit…he took the drawing he had just purchased back from Jenkins and raised it up to admired it some more on the way out.

Half of the crowd followed the two of them out, while the other half circled Bubbles. They were chattering excitedly, asking all kinds of questions, about what other art she's done, what her inspiration was, and so forth. She could barely hear them, though. She was staring at the check in her hand, double-checking and triple-checking the amount written on it. Ten thousand dollars…