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I remember talking to Damien Hirst once about the true test of value (dollar value that is) for an artwork is how long you can leave it on the street before it's stolen. Now that's not entirely related to the commercial challenge this week, but it does speak to the question of demand. Beyond what any TV judge or art critic thinks, often popularity is the ultimate real-time gauge, and when the public dips into their wallets, the people have spoken. Watching Sara make her exquisite watercolor portraits, I thought of Ai Weiwei, who was a street artist in Times Square in the 1980s or the time I got a Dana Schutz charcoal drawing of me done at a block party fundraiser for $20. They're fast and fun and almost always draw a crowd of spectators. Young, Dusty, and Sarah K. went too deep into merchandising world to hold my interest, but Lola and Kymia both pleasantly surprised me.
Now it's easy to dismiss Lola for going full frontal as yet another cheap reality TV ploy for attention, however the text scrolled over her body felt achingly sincere. "I'm loyal but not all the time." I mean, that can be a hard thing to admit about yourself. During the crits, I quoted my friend Sean Landers who has said, "Unless I'm doing something potentially humiliating, I don't feel like I'm pushing myself as an artist." I'm sure Lola could relate to that this week. Kymia's signature collecting/trading was so super basic, but in an age of identity theft and email sign-offs, our signatures can feel both anachronistic and as present as humanly possible. I wish I could show you my signature right now. It looks like a third grader's. As I said on the show, I commend Kymia's courage to engage is such a small exchange when the stakes keep getting higher and higher.