IN DEFENSE OF HATCHING

Hatching as an artistic activity seems to have fallen out of favor in recent years. I don’t mean the kind of hatching that birds and Cape Verdeian spotted lizards impulsively engage in; that sounds like fun, and more power to them. Have at it, feathered/scaly folks! I’m referring to arty hatching, the laying down of a silky streak of jet-black ink on a pristine virginal white surface, repeated thousands of times, stroking like mad, until you achieve a sort of nirvana. Your beginners and the faint of heart will drop out after a few hundred, but the dedicated idiot savants of hatchy hatchington can persevere for days at a time. You’ll notice that I’m not using the term cross-hatching; that’s because the Cross Hatching Foundation has phalanxes of attorneys roaming the country enforcing a strict definition of cross-hatching involving precise angles and line widths. There are only a few small places on the drawings above that I’m allowed to call cross-hatching, for instance. I’ve had to pay a couple of stiff fines for misuse of the term, and I had a friend in art school who spent 18 months in prison for for violating North Carolina’s Three Strokes and You’re Out law. It was a low-security arts prison, but he emerged a broken man nevertheless--a gang of potters repeatedly had their way with him, as potters are wont to do. Another thing you should know about: grid-drawers are not hatchers. Grid-drawers are pathetic losers, or right wankers, as they’re known in Britain. And oil painters! Don’t get me started on oil painters! Okay, I’ll get myself started. What a bunch of drama queens, always complaining that their yellow isn’t cadmium enough, or their turpenoid tastes funny. They set up their giant easels in a laborious process involving legs and braces and scaffolding that looks as though they’re about to add a new coat of patina to the Statue of fucking Liberty, creating a cone of blindness behind them that extends several hundred feet, and then place a 6” x 6” piece of masonite on it to paint on!  We hatchers then must crawl on hands and knees among this forest of easel legs until we can catch a glimpse of whatever it is everyone is painting. It’s enough to drive you to the nut hatch, I tell you.