Tiffany has an appreciation for art. It’s the kind that goes ‘oh well yeah that painting looks pretty good’ rather than ‘the placement of these lights creates an intriguing visual energy’ or ‘I totally know the difference between Monet and Manet’. It’s enough to get her by when she gets invited to gallery shows – which has happened a grand total of three times – and she considers herself to have an affinity for pretending to know what she doesn’t.
It doesn’t work quite so well when she’s caught off guard.
“Beautiful piece, isn’t it?”
She almost chokes on her champagne when the voice appears beside her and jumps when she sees the young woman who’s smiling at her.
“Yeah,” she hedges, and tries to smile back, “It’s, um, great.”
The woman’s smile becomes a knowing one. “What do you think of the artist’s use of tone throughout the piece? Doesn’t it create a stunning colour relationship?”
“Yes,” Tiffany squeaks, briefly glancing at the painting in question, “absolutely. It’s great.”
The woman laughs lightly. She’s short, but in a delicate petite way, and her hair is a shade of blonde-brown that must be dyed, reaching to her shoulders. “It’s okay. I was just making stuff up. It’s a cool painting though, isn’t it?”
Tiffany smiles again, genuine and in relief this time. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool. And I have no idea what I’m doing, so don’t ask me any more about paintings unless you want me to look like an idiot all night.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she says, a twinkle in her eye as she gazes at Tiffany, “I’d say you look pretty cute.”
Tiffany blinks, flattered. No one’s called her cute since elementary school, but it’s not unwelcome.
She holds out her hand. “Tiffany.”
“Taeyeon,” the other woman answers, and gently shakes her hand. “Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too. So, do you come to art galleries just to tease those who don’t know anything about art?”
“Not at all,” Taeyeon says, and turns to the painting. “See, I don’t know a thing about art either. At least, not in the way people here like to pretend they do. They talk about visual energy, intimate colour relationships, suggestive object placements – they sound like they know what they’re talking about because it’s like they’re talking in a language they made up themselves anyway, you know? If you were to create a whole universe bit by bit, of course you’d sound like you knew it well when you talked about it. Doesn’t mean they’re right or that their universe is the same as that of the art.”
Tiffany stares at her. “You seem quite passionate about it.”
Taeyeon shrugs, not even shy about it. “They waste my time trying to drag me into conversations like that and then act all snobbish when I don’t jump through their hoops.”
Tiffany ponders this, and turns to face the painting. Her eyes go right down to the bottom right hand corner.
“Well, I guess you’d know your art better than anyone else, right?”
Taeyeon grins at her. “That’s right.”
“So you don’t mind if I have no idea about the colour relationships of your painting?”
“Not at all. You said it’s cool. That’s good enough for me. And I’ll give you a little tip – the colour relationship was ‘this looks good together’.”
This time, Tiffany laughs. “Sounds good to me. You wanna get out of here?”