Normal History Vol. 163: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 28-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

“Wow,” Nadine said when she saw Martin’s painting for the first time. “It’s totally great.”

Martin, hands in the slash pockets of his well-worn navy blue cords, rose up on the toes of his gray Hush Puppies and smiled proudly.

“So I’m in?”

“It’s a beauty, but it isn’t graphic design,” Nadine said, still looking at the painting. “Stickin’ It To The Man is not the right show.”

“What if I added some text along the bottom? Maybe in orange. Something about the Red Tent campaign.”

“No, no, no, no. That would destroy its symmetry,” Nadine said, wondering if Martin maybe didn’t know how good his painting was. “Don’t touch it. Promise me you won’t go adding text. Or anything.”

“OK,” Martin said, enjoying Nadine’s enthusiasm. “I won’t.”

“Promise me.”

“I promise,” Martin said, placing his hand over his heart, but the way he did it seemed odd to Nadine, like he was mocking her. It seemed entirely possible to her that the next time she saw the painting it could have orange text obliterating it. The history of homelessness, the advent of the Red Tent campaign.

I wouldn’t dream of changing it,” he added, imagining text across the bottom, orange or maybe the same gold he’d used in the clouds. Handwritten, smooth. Rolling with the waves.