top of page


I found this portrait at a flea market. It came from a booth cluttered with the kind of oddities that can only be found at the outer rim of Calgary. Narrow crystal vials with a singular strand of Lanny’s mustache, dusty oilfield surveys showing Edmonton as an inky morass with the words “here be monsters”, and aryan foetal twins: bellybuttonless, heads downturned, formaldehyde ensconced evidence of Creationism.

It is the hyper photorealistic painting of Jason Kenney that caught my eye. Or perhaps… I caught its eye? The air was thick with wildfire smoke that day and his lips and eyes quivered with unspoken secrets. It was like that scene where that goony dude from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off stares at Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

I was roused when arthritic fingers, stronger than implied by their narrow muscles and paper skin, grabbed my outstretched hand black mamba quick. I didn’t even know I had reached out. My tips of thumb and forefinger were a pinprick distance from those lips, those lips! I must have been subconsciously compelled to tease what whispers were behind Kenney’s painted smirk The arm that cradled the hand that grabbed me was mottled with veins and liver spots, leading to a turkey skin neck pooled under a smeared skull, all wrinkles, grin, and eyeballs. She removed her grip and what I thought was the nascent hue of early bruising on my wrist lolled down to my humeral trochlea in viscos trickles. The bruise would come later, this colouration was the dripping grasp of world class Alberta crude.

“No touchy till money changey”

Her teeth were brilliant, immaculate.

I thrust a handful of cash and coins into her palm, grabbed the painting, and stumbled through Alberta summer’s BBQ  haze back to my truck. Behind me I couldn’t the delineate the coins clacking to the floor and her wild cackling.

I haven’t properly slept since I bought the painting. The time I spend in bed is mangled by turgid fever dreams. I’m beset by strobe-like montages: oil derricks snapping in prairie windstorms, toxic tailings overstuffed semi-hard cash piles and a pulsating honky pink orgy men and women in ties and cowboy boots. A pallid and doughy Stephen Harper, eyes reeking of bottomless sadness, pressing his lips to mine, imparting secrets I now can’t bear to pluck from Kenney.

The hallucinations are fractured, uniquely disturbing. But when I come to it’s always the same. I’m at my desk, naked save a high-vis neon yellow vest, rock hard and mid-stream through Rebel Media’s latest.

My job, my friends, my family, they’ve all left me. In his stillness Kenney’s tells me it’s not my fault, that he’s fighting for me, but every morning I wake up further gaunt and exhausted. I don’t have the constitution to keep this up.

The painting’s oval shale really ties any room together, it’s about 45cm top to bottom . I paid $4.7 billion for it but am willing to let it go for a little under $67.


bottom of page