I went to visit my friend Dave at his studio the other night, when he reintroduced me to a familiar figure. After walking around his studio and stopping to examine each piece, I then came across a face painted on a small square canvas that had been casually strewn aside.
"Who's that?" I asked. "Santino Rice?"
Now Dave is the kind of guy who can't remember what happened thirty seconds prior. He once called me and the first two minutes of the conversation consisted of him trying to recall whether I had called him or he had called me. He's an artistic soul.
To say that Dave knows pop culture - music notwithstanding - is to say that I am coordinated. Unless it's Yo La Tengo we're talking about, all I'll get is a blank stare. That an homage to Project Runway could lie amidst the rest of his artwork is unthinkable. I should have known.
"That's Ugly Jesus," he replied.
Now, I was thoroughly confused. Dave is a fellow believer, but not cut of the same cloth as the conservative right wing Bible belt Christian that seems to be today's prevailing stereotype. Come to think of it, I don't know very many of those. We probably wouldn't get along.
"Yeah, Ugly Jesus."
Dave simply believes. And so he explained. Explained how he thought Jesus was ugly, of how he was rugged and dirty but charismatic in the unconventional sense - the guy that marches to his own beat and everyone loves him for it - much like San Francisco. Of how in order for him to care for the people that he did, how he couldn't possibly have been a smooth operator.
"Oh, okay," I said, nodding thoughtfully as another painting caught my eye. And I proceeded to ask him about that.