That Work

Nelson Lowhim
3 min readAug 24, 2021
Took years and a lot of hard work to make this collage.

I’ve been working on a way to use visuals and words to tell stories. Something none linear. It’s been a few years now and though I can come up with some beautiful things, I’m not sure I’ve come any closer to telling a full tale this way. I’m failing hard, but I keep going back. I don’t know what to call this. Madness? Work? It doesn’t pay, you know.

What am I getting at?

In my daytime fantasies, when my art hits it big time, I have a show, one wall with the same piece of art. Collages are my forte, my way of speaking through pictures, so it will be through this medium which I speak to the onlookers in this gallery. And this single collage, shown two or twenty times, will have different titles and different descriptions. One will say I worked two minutes on this, a fluke of an inspiration. Another will say I worked ten years on it, blood sweat tears, and a brief flirtation with madness that I barely lived through.

Made this one in a few minutes while watching Netflix

The other pieces, if any, would be a variation of that theme.

Might be better to try and sell such pieces far away from each other and see how they sell. Or as separate parts on reddit, seeing which garner the most upvotes — not that I’ve ever been able to game any social media’s algorithm.

Doesn’t matter, really. What I’m trying to say, in this age of grift and hustle, that I’m not fucking sure what work is, and I’m not sure anyone else does. But all of us, consumers at heart, do walk into, say, a gallery, and expect aesthetics we like and something that speaks to the artist and the work they put in to, well, entertain us. Like a sacrifice.

There are many who respect work. More commonly people respect money and the tale of work that follows. Sometimes it’s a cloak, sometimes not, but always necessary in this “meritocracy” god our society prays to.

With art, as with writing, I’ve seen many manifestations of this ode to work, that many present as their origin stories. I know of completely fabricated ones. True or not, the tale that there was much labor behind this piece or to get to a point with a piece, is always told and it always confers that much more to a piece.

Nelson Lowhim

Writer, Artist, Immigrant, & Veteran observing our mad dance of apes. Check out my Patreon & show some love: