UNITED STATES—Placing all her money over the years into creative projects instead of real estate Natalie had gone broke. Faced with homelessness once again, the added responsibility of her son and now after so much weirdness arising, she thought it best to leave the Wild West and return to the motherland. Foolishly thinking that England was a safe haven in which to regroup. As her pattern was in the Present so it had been in her Past: A case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.
One thing that remained unshakable over 30+ yrs was Natalie’s belief in her own ability to create something magical out of nothing. The air was way thin on top of this mountain. Hers was the long haul and always ahead of the game. Even in the face of consistent opposition she remained constant in her creative flow, producing fresh, new artistic landscapes. Naturally, this was extremely threatening to some, but as a ‘child-like’ artist with the psychological blueprint of a dysfunctional Doe it had been easy for others to fool her. Alone in her work she had learnt the hard way. Natalie was grateful for her resilient, biological genes.
On the phone to her oldest friend from kindergarten, Marina, Natalie sounded incredulous: “I was all set to go with Oulever to mum’s for awhile; Help her out, reconnect: Myself, mum and her youngest grandchild when I get an email from a Solicitor: Nathaniel & H I V (Natalie’s collective term for her siblings) had fraudulently manipulated mum into banishing me (and a child) from our enormous family home. I wrote to the Solicitor saying he better be careful getting involved in this, as his license to practice would go up in smoke. I’d just had a run-in with an unethical lawyer, Judith Sullivan of New Jersey. Who am I to trust?” “Come stay here, I’ll help you figure it out.” Marina was the only one of her friends that knew the depth her siblings would stoop in their repeated attempts to sabotage Natalie’s success in life. Pre-programmed to ruin it herself, she didn’t need any help in that area, what she needed was support.
Red flags had re-surfaced from the UK, Spring 2014. Natalie was alerted to the fact that she had completely misread her siblings. Up to that point she accepted them for themselves, enjoying their company for short periods of time. She had no idea how deep their hatred ran. What was their agenda? What was the motive? Nathaniel, her brother had recently moved into the construction business as well as into a late-life first marriage to an aging, childless gold-digger. (This Wife was soon to turn the corner with nothing more than a Louis Vuitton carry-on and five pairs of vintage Louboutins.) Others had remarked on the inappropriate gushing from the new daughter-in-law towards Mother Palmer who was now termed by law, a Vulnerable Adult.
Natalie was born at home in Staffordshire, in what was once Dr. Samuel Palmer’s house. Her family name, Palmer was not the only similarity she shared with the infamous serial killer, the ‘Prince of Poisoners’. Since the mid 1800’s his life had inspired several literary geniuses including Dickens, a Sherlock Holmes short story and the last historical novel by Robert Graves. After her sisters, H I & V had attempted to poison her with a concoction in mushroom soup from Brentwood’s Lemonade, Natalie had an out of body experience: Watching her 7 hr old self being fed poison off her father’s finger; The face of Samuel Palmer with the touch of her real father, could she be the spirit of one of Palmer’s murdered children? Natalie recalled the massive intake of air and the silent scream into unconsciousness that was her chosen expression of grief and pain from age 3-7. Natalie was by default the Palmer spittoon.
As Natalie started packing her LA home she began a new body of work: ‘The Zero Originals’ mixing emotions with taking a new stand. Faced with a pile of work that was homeless she started to destroy all her original works on paper and canvas. Thereby maintaining control over her output while she was still alive. In this day of ‘it’s a small world’ it was inconceivable that the crème would fail to rise to the top unless deliberate, consistent and conspiratorial methodology was in play. The Art World was still bent on keeping her out yet the tide was turning. ‘They don’t want me alive they can’t have me when I’m dead. That way is done.’
Natalie took a flight to NYC after paying her accountant, Sam J. Nole CPA and her dentist, William Harrison DDS of Brentwood in watercolors. Collateral. Her paintings were worth more to her than money, they knew that. She was in New York to pick up Oulevar and close her Manhattan Mini Storage units, full of paintings. There was evidence in the big unit that suggested Benjamin had slept there. Top Cat cartoons hovered out of her childhood. She had loved that show, as much as Emile Zola’s work had spoken to her.
Walking along Kent Ave, Williamsburg with Annabella, their kids in front, electric energy tearing up the sidewalk. Annabella points out a large fly post: ‘Cost Fucked Madonna’ “Most people living here now are clueless about that.” “Yep, history is no Wikipedia and watch out for who’s writing fake facts.” Natalie went on to tell Annabella about a conversation she’d had with one of her Slade fellows: “SiSi, I call her the Dickens of London painters, told me Christobel Churchill has found some signed papers from ’85. An agreement between myself and some Soho advertising execs I met in the French House, and more papers written in my craze handwriting detailing the magazine idea. There’s now a rumor going round that my brother and my sister, Ivy sold on my idea for what became The Big Issue magazine. I was crap at networking then.” (This is the actual conversation between SiSi and Christobel in The French House on Frith St a week earlier: “By the looks of her childish handwriting I’m not surprised they ripped her off. Are you sure she’s not autistic, somewhat mentally imbalanced?” The two successful women laughed in the British way of ribbing a friend. SiSi went on to tell Christobel how painful it was to watch her friend, Natalie fall after leaving the Undergrad program in ’83. ‘When I would run into her I’d share the worst thing that was going on in my life, most people did…and still do! It was really bad how she fell into the abyss. No one mentioned the 3rd degree. We were all shocked and… young. Her family didn’t care they hated her just for getting into the Slade. Natalie hadn’t made a formal application, she took her portfolio to Prof. Gowing over the summer, he called Mick Moon or Euan Uglow…one of the studio heads into his office and they accepted her right away. By 1985 she was a total mess, an anorexic working at Toppers and taking unbelievable amounts of drugs. With her life in the skids she comes up with this brilliant idea for a magazine for the homeless and people on the dole. Yeah, she was on the dole too.”)
Cracks appearing, threads disintegrating, turning to dust at the slightest touch through time. English, riddled with homophones.
11.30am GMT: Marina is driving Natalie and Oulevar from Heathrow to West Berkshire. After preliminaries Marina says: “Natalie, I think you should know something…” “Another slanderous lie about me?” “Well, yes and no, this is a difficult one it’s quite harsh.” “It can’t be any worse than the others out there, go on lets hear it.” “Some call you the 69er and in ‘78 it spread faster than Claudius’ triumphant word back to Rome. Nathaniel and your school friend Cat stirred it up according to them you were part of a horrible birth defect with a dead conjoined twin in a 69. The dead head was between your legs his tongue attached to your clitoris. You held his ears and his foreskin was attached to your tongue.” “O that’s just wrong. What am I supposed to do with that?” “Find out if its true?”
Oulver took off his Dre’s: “Yo, I see paparazzi in the woods.” “Middleton cat sizzles are hot viral these days” laughs Marina.” “British creativity still under the reign of Blair & Cowell. A drag to be back here in so many ways.”
N.Beachwood Dr, LA 4.30am: Kellogg walks into the writer’s meeting, Yves and Pine are discussing cultural contributions by living Artists: “On discovering Marcel Duchamp, Craig-Martin was quoted as saying ‘I wanted to be part of the world of Rembrandt and Picasso…the greatest way of honoring the past is to appropriate the present (sic).’ Yves continued “Duchamp had said: The great artist of tomorrow will go underground.” “Ahem. OK, enough of all that for now, I want to know how you’ve been getting on with the Forward to Natalie’s book.” Pine flipped some pages. “Well, we all agree that Natalie’s approach to her first public dialogue with the Art World and its Hystorical timeline was within a Hip-hop context. The throw-down: The ‘Battle’ series. So completely fresh to the Old School and shocking to the stiff British Art Establishment it had the Seinfeld, 85th Episode effect. Young Boise, continue…”
“Palmer’s first coherent series: ‘The Battle Paintings’ shown at The Slade School of Art, 1983 was made in the Hip-hop tradition of the Face Off. As a 20 yr old painter challenged with the masculine weight of the Art Historical timeline she chose her theme: Appropriating the Art Hysterical Timeline using the vehicle of a Technicolor reality, a throw down of graphic torn flesh in the mix with fluorescent spray stencil work woven into a traditional oil and glaze technique. This was 1983 British style, graffiti on the train of tradition. I salute you Natalie Palmer! You flipped it back then. Those old boys couldn’t handle it and this was years before The Chapman Brothers.”
“I added a quote from her son: ‘YO 1983: Afrika Bambaataa & the Rock Steady Crew YO YO. We be The Zulu Nation all ways coming atcha Live and Direct PEACE’.
And we included a Tim Carr quote from RS 396, May 26th 1983: ’Solos challenging duets, souped-up head spins, kooky, knotted tailspins, action in jokes, comic relief, amazing grace, impossible dreams, body shocks…’ then a quote where Akala, a young British Hip-hop artist, talks about classic appropriation: Rock music from African-American roots etc.”
“Remember to include the interview about painting strippers, pre and post 9/11 in Pussycat Lounge on Greenwich St; ‘No photography allowed’. Where she flipped it again: Un-perpetuating the Male Gaze. And the incident with the Fire Chief from Ladder 10, hilarious.” The writers bent their heads.
Newark St, EC1: Noon “I’m pregnant.” Merry-Jade tells Dice. “Come back to NYC, I want you here. I want our baby here.” It was the nicest thing he’d said to her in a long time. She packed her bag.
Merry-Jade felt another strange electric surge into her head after the retina scan at Heathrow, now standard in every airport security process. No one questioned it. She had some anxiety about the next one at JFK. In the backrooms, there was excitement. “Sir, you better come take a look.” “Umm, yes I see, better keep an eye on that one. And Corporal, I did not just say that.” “Yes Sir.” “Where is she headed?” “JFK” “Call it through.” “Sir.” “And call the NTS Dept.”
Now that Alpha Intelligence knew that fingerprinting was no help in detecting Alien Beings they had made leaps in research by using retina photography. This was the one that could read the biggest Game. This was worth millions: Tracking and locating the Marks.
By Jane Gang