Art Attack – Not so pretty in pink
With the help of my friend Zeek, we bleached and colored my hair cotton candy pink for the opening reception of the Graven Images installation at The Space on Good Friday.
During the course of the evening’s reception, several people remarked that I looked like the guy who shot all those people in that movie theater. Trust me – that was not the look I was going for.
So why pink? Because I’ve never had pink hair – it was Easter weekend, I was in the trusted hands of a professional, and I needed a hairstyle to go with the red and white trimmed Santa shirt I was wearing to the opening – and at 58, I thought, I better do it while I still have hair.
The inspiration came from a photo I saw of British actress Helen Mirren (Oscar winner for her role in The Queen) who at 67, arrived at some awards ceremony with pink hair looking very sexy and elegant. (In my best Ronald Reagan voice), “Mr. Rankine, you are NO Helen Mirren,” – or Molly Ringwald for that matter.
Who knew that a middle-aged, gay, white man with a greying beard, donning a pink doo could make so many people feel uncomfortable?
Most friends laughed out loud – some were a little shocked with the realization it was not a wig, and a few just shook their heads in silence.
But it was in the “Real World” where things got interesting: shopping at Harts; waiting in the doctor’s office; minding my store. It was the averted eyes, the classic double-take, the quick glance away, or the straight-forward stare; a nervous smile, one genuinely hostile look, and the innocent gaze of a child who loudly announced to everyone, “Mommy, that man has pink hair,” that made it impossible to forget what was atop my head.
My neighbor, a fellow artist, loved the hair and suggested a community art piece where everyone dyes their hair or beards pink – an art piece where we could raise breast cancer awareness, where all politics and small town bickering is put aside with the community coming together united in pink.
Wouldn’t it be fun to see Elizabeth Kelley or be greeted by your favorite bank teller, or served a drink by Nate at Chelsea’s, or look up from the dental chair to see Dr. Covington – all with pretty pink hair?
It’s been almost four years since I photographed members of our community visualizing peace for the “A Community at Peace “ installation.
Imagine “A Community in Pink.”