Humans are Weird – Crumpled Paper
“I think the human might be more amenable to sharing his artwork with you if you approached him even marginally less like an ambush predator about the subject,” Second Sister observed in the general direction of Professor Nine Trills’s hunched back.
The Trisk gave a hist of frustration and shook out his shoulders. He had begun life as a rather pale amber and the advancing years had added quite a bit of white to his fur. His sensory horn had begun to shrink and wrinkle a bit but his eyes still sparkled with health and interest. He shifted his carry pack between his wings and with only a little obvious effort he sprung into the air and flew over to where Second Sister was sorting through the first recycling bin in search of something useful wast water absorbency.
“If you see anything that was obviously crumpled by human hands could you toss it into the consideration basket for me?” Professor Nine Trills asked.
Second Sister took a moment to adjust the protective gloves on her hands as she tilted her triangular head to look down at the professor of art history.
“Would I be aiding you in violating the privacy of a colleague if I did? She asked as her frill pressed tightly to her neck.
“No!” Professor Nine Trills insisted, and then a moment later with less confidence in his tone, “no.”
“You have repeated tried to get a view of that particular artist’s work,” Second Sister observed as she turned the majority of her attention back to her task.
She found a nicely shaped scrap of absorbent paper that would just cover the underside of the starts tray and placed it in her basket.
“The artist has refused. I do not see why you persist in your attempts,” she observed.
“The artist has not refused to let me see his work!” Professor Nine Trills snapped. “Not directly in any case. In fact when I mention that I had done just this and observed one of his discarded works he did not censure me. That one down there!” Professor Nine Trills exclaimed, eagerly pointing a wing claw at a ball of crumpled drawing paper.
Second Sister resisted the urge to flap her frill at him and reached down to pick up the paper. The Winged immediately began smoothing it out while clicking happily to himself.
“Yes,” he said. “A very nice example of their focus on muscle-structure as observed through the membrane, and a few practice attempts at shading cylinders. There’s another, do grab it for me.”
Second sister weeded out about half a dozen of the rejected drawings and handed them over to the Professor. She glanced down at the first drawing. It was clearly a highly accurate rendering of a human hand in the graphite medium that most traditional human artists preferred. According to her sisters who had taken a more optical medical track humans saw the medium as a slightly reflective gray while she saw it as a fine, chaotic rainbow haze. However the density of the application meant that the anatomy was still clear to her. She clicked her mandibles in surprise.
“I cannot detect any error in this representation of a human hand,” she observed.
The Professor glanced at it absently twitched a wing in agreement.
“You said that he discards these because he is frustrated with his failure,” she continued. “How is this a failure.”
The small Professor expanded with a sigh and began to roll the papers up.
“This is not an attempt to manifest an illustration for an anatomy textbook,” he said. “This is Art.”
Second Sister wasn’t quite sure how she knew that he considered it a proper noun but somehow she heard it in his voice.
“This work of art has failed to meet the expectation of it that he had so he considers it a failure,” Professor Nine Trills finished.
“Even so,” Second Sister replied. “It is inconvenient for you to have to riveter these from the recycle bin. The human is reported to be a very cooperative and engaging personality. He knows that you want these sketches for academic purposes. Why does he risk their destruction by crumpling them and tossing them away?”
“I don’t know,” the Professor said with a huff. “When I asked at the relevant time he would only snarl that it wasn’t good enough. One of the other humans observed that he had a perfectionist streak, and no I do not know what that means.”