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A biography, not really.

I was reminded yesterday that life is short and making art is really fun! (Remember that?!) When art making stops being fun, it becomes an obligation, a duty. When fun-making is no longer present, the artwork shifts hands. It no longer belongs to me but is now owned by someone or something: a deadline, an exhibition, a professor, a boss, a commercial market.

As a reminder that being an artist is FUN, I share with you a biography of myself, a la Vasari. For my readers that are unfamiliar with who Vasari is, he is most well known today for having published Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times or Lives in the 16th century. Vasari was the first art historian, essentially and wrote a collection (read: lots) of artist biographies.

Lady Ashley Nicole Cassens [surname: Godiva]

In the year of our Lord, nineteen eighty-four, the house of Godiva prepared for the arrival of their first son. Father Godiva, a skilled laborer in the Carpentry Guild and educated by the academy of winged-machinery, accompanied by his raven-haired wife, drew up documents for the young child upon delivery. His name shall be declared Master Troy Godiva.

While in the birthing room, a shocking revelation was delivered to Mother Godiva. Dear little Troy was born a fair lady. The House of Godiva believed this to be a message from Saint Gerard Majella that God laughs at the plans of man. She was christened Ashley Nicole as her tanned skin resembled the chestnut bark on an ash tree.

Born only a woman, it was expected Lady Godiva shall be trained under the tutelage of her mother, who was a well-regarded member of the Coiffeur Guild. At the tender age of five, Ashley Nicole had lacing and taping of many fine chords and ribbons atop her head, unlike any other child her age. While teaching herself to read volumes of literature, such as The Babysitter’s Club, at the Coiffeur factory, she watched her mother adorn the hairs of men and women whom possessed great wealth.

Lady Godiva showed an early aptitude for capturing illusion using colored wax materials and dyed sticks. Having cast away any desire to join the Coiffeur Guild, she was sent to study under Master Gregory Graham Grant, who came from the North to teach his disciples the master’s technique. Lady Godiva showed much promise at the school. At seventeen she became an instructor at the ArtQuest School for Distinguished Disciples.

Seeking to elevate her status, she studied biology, anatomy, social sciences, music, and religion at Florida Southern College while receiving generous patronage for her State. Work by her hand still hangs in the halls of this prestigious institution today! Undeterred by a handful of suitors, Lady Godiva ventured North. Her adventure was swift. Longing for the embrace of her family and unable to find gainful employment as an apprentice to a Master, she returned to her State.

It was in the year of our Lord, two-thousand and twelve, that Lady Godiva was courted by a suitor whom respected her worldly ambitions. The suitor, Master Michael Cassens, was the son of an Artist and Merchant of Citrus. Lady Godiva and Lady Cassens would share a compelling bond through art until their passing.

Therefore, Lady Godiva was joined in one house with her mate: the House of Cassens. Both the House of Godiva and the House of Cassens were united in love and remained strong allies in the South. Together, husband and wife lived a life of service to each other, their two children, Merritt and Jeremiah, and their passionate pursuits: Father Cassens was a commanding baron and operator of land while Lady Cassens had a high aptitude for painting and was a generous Instructor.

Contemporaries have assimilated the generous and independent spirit of Lady Godiva and reinvented a fictional character that glorified these attributes. It cannot be verified that Lady Godiva ever rode bare-assed upon a steed through town[1], although she did have ropes of hair that hung loose down her back. It proves a haughty reminder that readers must not believe all that they read.


[1] Lady Godiva is said to have begged her husband, the Count of Coventry, to release the villagers from unnecessary taxation. The husband agreed that the would grant the villagers their freedom if she rode naked on horseback through the market. She accepted his jest and remained still pious by using her long hair to cover her nakedness. Prior to her ride through town, Lady Godiva demanded that no one peek at her. Only one man did, his name was Tom. Her husband upheld his promise and freed the villagers from their debt.

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