Ice Cream on the Rocks

Brian J. Sullivan

Call me weird. Call me strange. Call me an ice cream snob. I have been eating ice cream nightly for the past forty years and have perfected the subtle art of anticipation. I begin with a stout, thick walled glass, like the kind mixed drinks are served in, which I fill with my favorite ice cream. When the ice cream has reached a critical temperature (based on my years of experience and nothing else), I stir the ice cream into a rich slurry. This is my time alone, a reflective time, an unhurried time. During this time, creative thoughts spring forth from my subconscious. I am at my best.

For me, this is one of those simple pleasures of life. Like eating art fair junk food. While not especially healthy, it is the stimulation of my five senses which is most valuable as I am magically transported back to childhood memories. Grandpa would be holding my hand as we would wait in line for the Ferris wheel. Colored lights would be flashing all around us. The smell of grilled onions drifts across the ground.

Sometimes I do things just because. Like creating art, which I know probably will not sell. But the primordial urge to create is much stronger than any monetary incentive. Sometimes I need to express some artistic idea just to release it from inside my head, and free up space for the next idea. Life is like this. Everything is not always as black and white as we were led to believe as children. As an artist I am learning to embrace the many shades of grey.

How does one explain or even justify creating art simply for one's own satisfaction with no hint of monetary gain to the uninitiated? Or better yet, how does one explain the contemplative experience one gets while driving across this vast country of ours, going from one art fair to the next? How does one explain the rejuvenating experience of seeing majestic snow capped mountains, vast prairies, or pristine lakes? I even find beauty in the design of man-made structures like skyscrapers, suspension bridges, huge dams, and subway systems. All of these things add to my wonder and to my artistic memory bank.

For me, art has always been about more than profit. In fact, if the truth be told, I attend art fairs to eat fair food and people-watch. That experience, as the popular advertising slogan says, "is priceless." So the next time you see me at an art fair, stop by and I'll show you the finer art of stirring ice cream into a cream delight!