Something of an Artist
Roleplaying Log: Something of an Artist
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Emma Frost and Bruce Wayne cross paths at a charity art gala in New York.

Other Characters Referenced: Alfred Pennyworth, Kate Kane
IC Date: August 17, 2019
IC Location: New York City, NY
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 19 Sep 2019 03:36
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It's not a terribly large gallery, Elysium, by many standards. But it is a well-curated one. Once a small warehouse storefront, it was converted to a loop worthy of the contemporary talent that the gallery owner has earned a name for discovering and bringing into the public eye at events just like the one she's throwing tonight.

The fourteen foot walls have been painted in bold colors, alternating red, black, and white. Glass pillars support curled stem and lotus pod arrangements, scattered between the abstract twists and edges of contemporary sculpture and paintings.

A number of people have already gathered for tonight's charity event, and taken possession of the little books that they can use to make notations about the pieces here as well as the generous pouring of white and red wine and champagne that make generosity easier for the philanthropic pocket that just needs a little persuasion.

Emma Frost is among those deep pockets, in a dress that borders on scandalous. White, painted on to the knees, with mesh-backed keyholes at the shoulders, a low back, and across her breastbone. She considers at length a painting that looks like the crackled finish of forgotten antique china.


Bruce Wayne has already gotten one of the little books. While he does not have a drink, he does have a very good spot to look about both the exhibit and those who have gathered to see them. Wayne Mansion is pretty large and he's not adverse to buying a random piece of art if it will help his profile. In fact, he's probably got a closet filled with 'diversion' pieces of art that Alfred dusts every now and again.

Bruce is nowhere near as scandalous as Emma Frost's outfit. He's wearing a suit, properly tailored with cufflinks. Stepping through he crowd, he sifts through paintings and people, making judgements on both within moments. From behind Emma Frost, he looks first at the outfit and then at the painting. "Are you a fan?" He asks from right behind her, apropos of little. This is a charity event, though, guests tend to mingle.


Emma looks over her shoulder, past the spill of blonde curls piled there. She doesn't spook, but that could just as easily be her own awareness that mingling is the game.

A blonde eyebrow pricks upwards, and the corners of her mouth follow suit soon after. "I'm trying to decide. Usually I prefer distress to come as a mark of genuine survival, rather than an effect that just simulates it. Scuffs on a two hundred year old antique because it survived six generations, rather than a know-nothing hipster with a cheap pack of bargain sandpaper."


As Emma looks over her shoulder at him, Bruce has a hand in his pocket, jacket unbuttoned and an easy smile on his face. It's his charming face, the one that he can put on when he wants.

Stepping forward so he's more shoulder to shoulder with her now, he studies the painting in front of them. It only takes a few more minutes. "So, you're saying that you appreciate scars, not put upon damage." The quirk of her lips is matched by his. "I would imagine you'd know quite a bit about that, Miss Frost." Pause. "Antiques are something I have quite an interest in as well. However, one always does wish to ensure that the arts are supported in their hometown, whether one would hang them in their own home or not. Don't you agree?"


Sanguine lips quirk crookedly in a wicked sort of amusement as Emma's eyebrows bounce once as a wordless assent with just a note of pride to his supposition about her knowledge of damage, and then those lips disappear briefly behind her wine glass as she takes a sip and surveys the work in front of her.

"I do, actually," she says when at last he puts the question to her. "And I tend to prefer the contemporary pieces." A beat passes, and then she leans sideways to murmur. "I find a very unique joy in purchasing the most egregiously contemporary swill, however, as Christmas gifts for the people who I can't send a hipster after."


A genuine laugh is given when she says that she purchases such gifts for people she can't stand. Bruce deftly snags a glass of red wine off of a tray from a passing by waiter and offers it to Emma in a practiced movement. It's almost like he's used to all these functions that he has everything down to a science.

"And is that why you are here?" Bruce glances this way and that. "You know, I should not say, but I am quite a regular donor and I did have my eye on a singular piece near the back." Gesturing toward the side, he smiles and offers an arm. "Might I be so bold as to show it to you?" The offer is made without eyebrows raised, without innuendo.


"Of course, Mister Wayne," the blonde replies, trading her empty glass as the tray goes by — setting it down. His grace in the practiced socialite dance is easily met by her own, she takes what he offers without hesitation, glass and arm both. "I'm very interested to see what catches your eye."

As she moves alongside him with her feminine sway, Emma will answer his earlier question. "I'm a rather large patron of the arts here in New York. I missed a few events, so it's best to come and show my face. If I happen to find a Christmas present, well… That's just an added bonus. And you? What brings you this far out of Gotham?"


It's a practiced art, one that the two seem to be well learned in. Bruce Wayne could walk his way through a socialite event with his eyes closed and still look bashfully pleased to be in the featured arts section of the Gotham Times.

"I've been told by some that I spend too much time in Gotham. I am a frequent donator to charities and arts outside of the city, but in order to ensure people that we are still a welcome city, apparently I must make appearances outside of it and show that there's money to burn, as it were." A smile, "I hope you don't mind my frankness of discussion. I do find New York a remarkable city, however Gotham is where my heart is. And when in the presence of such a disarming woman, I do find myself somewhat disarmed." Again, the smile, almost a smirk.

They keep moving through the gallery toward the back, as he promised. "I heard recently through the rich people gossip grapevine that you may have been through some troubles. I trust everything is on the up and up now?"


On a dime, Emma's entirely demeanor subtly shifts. Bruce might be able to sense it—the stiffening of her spine. The sideway shift of her pale, kohl-lined gaze as she turns it in his direction with a sudden suspicion.

How far had news of her 'sabbatical' gone? Or had something more incriminating reached his ears?

"As you can see," she says quietly, "I am just fine. Whatever rumors you heard were surely a little exaggerated. And what was the rumor, hm? Was it sufficiently creative or am Going to be disappointed for the lack of imagination? If I didn't abandon my company for a rich prince somewhere after a whirlwind romance, I'm going to be terribly disappointed in everyone."


The tensing of her spine, the look that she gives him. All of it is very subtle, very well done. However, Bruce Wayne certainly senses it.

And as he notices exactly how she has reacted to his question, he shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders. "Nothing quite so dramatic, unfortunately. I heard it was health issues." Then, as if he has no idea that he has touched on the nerve that he has, he leans forward just slightly as if to tell her a secret, "Someone did say that you had been abducted by aliens." Straightening, he adds, "Of course, I have had my eye on him for quite some time for giving eccentric rich a bad name."

Stopping for a moment, he gives Emma a bit of a look. "I don't mean to contribute to idle gossip. I merely wished to make sure you were alright. Health issues are nothing to let lie, not even for the sake of your company."

—-

"Aliens?" Emma laughs. "How quickly my secrets are discovered!"

Bruce stops, and the tall blonde in her tall heels turns fully to face him. Her arm disentangles from his so that a manicured hand - sun-starved pale, even against the white of her dress, and still just a touch too thin - can float out to her side with her palm upraised in display as she adopts a perfectly confident pose. "You can reassure all of the gossipmongers that they can stop the wishful thinking. I am in no danger of dying any time soon, so they can continue hating me from underneath whatever rocks they've taken to hiding under this week with the knowledge that they will have many more weeks to come in which they can hate me."

She raises an eyebrow. "I appreciate the concern and the heads up about that, though." And, to seal the sentiment, she raises her wine glass in salute before sipping from it.

—-

"So you're saying it was not aliens." Bruce raises an eyebrow, as if very clearly wondering if she is going to discredit that rumor. Is that a joke? It's hard to tell, it seems very clearly a joke, though.

"I said nothing about dying. One can be sick without being on death's door."

From the confident pose, the paleness of her form even against the perfectly coiffed outfit, Bruce can make a few deductions. And from that, he gives her a sheepish smile. "I can assure you that the people I knew did not hate you. Or, at least, they didn't tell me that they did."

Then, he gestures. He didn't stop simply to talk, they've reached the painting that he likes. "Here it is, then." The painting in front of them is sparse. In fact, it is one of those paintings that people talk about when they discuss the horror of modernism. It looks like a blank canvas with a shadow over it. Then, looking closer, the white of the top slowly and expertly shifts down from pure white to grey.


They didn't hate her? "No?" Emma asks, not entirely certain she believes that. "Well, give it time."

Turning to look at the painting, Emma dutifully affords it the weight of consideration. Against the dark black wall upon which its hung, the large piece stands out beautifully. "You know," she continues, stepping closer so that she can better observe it from an angle and see if she catches any sign of a brush stroke. "I would never have pegged you as a connoisseur of contemporary art. By reputation, I would have thought you more a classic sensibility."


"You give yourself so little credit, Miss Frost. I am sure there are quite a few people out there who like you. Perhaps not business rivals, but someone." Bruce grins and gives her a wink. Tapping the bottom of her glass with his small book, he adds, "From what I can tell you're enchanting company."

Turning his attention back to the painting at hand, he smiles. "I live in a house filled with the classics. Sometimes you need to step out of what you know to find something beautiful." Sliding his hands into his pockets, he stares at the art just a moment longer. His tone is sincere, no longer flirty or teasing when he tells her, "Art should be something that moves you, whether it be from ten thousand years ago or painted just the morning before."


Emma's lips quirk up wryly at the tease, at the touch against her glass, her gaze of a variety dangerous and serpent wise. Give yourself time, it warns without saying anything with words outlaid at all. But then it's back to the art. She folds her one arm about herself, tucking her own notebook beneath the opposite elbow, as that cup comes up to hover contemplatively near her lips as she gently sways.

"And what is it, Mister Wayne, that moves you so much about this, hm? I find the artist lacks the kinetic appeal of Pollock, or the expressiveness of Rothko."


Unfortunately, or perhaps it would amuse her, Bruce is certainly not put back by dangerous women. Bruce Wayne is too hapless and lucky to believe that any woman would cross him. And if they do? Well, what does he mind? And so, he continues onward in his flirtations despite the serpentine warning that to do so may return a poisonous bite.

"You don't find it expressive?" Bruce raises an eyebrow at Emma. "Truly?" Moving forward toward the painting, but not touching it, he pulls a hand out of his pocket to gesture first at the white and then move downward. "Look at the brush strokes. This was not done with a wash, this was not done with a palette knife smear. No, look closer. Each color was done with a different brush stroke. The artist painstakingly changed this canvas from white to grey. If that is not expressive, I am not sure what is."

—-

It's the subtle nuance that differentiates casual observer from refined collector. "It takes a talent to repeat ad nauseam the same transition, the same stroke, to create the wave, I'll grant you. And I suppose that there is an expression of sorts in the repetition, in the recycled thought."

Emma has found that the nuance can make all of the difference in both people and art.

Drinking deeply from the glass in her hand, the blonde continues. "Control of the shade is a talent, but I certainly find that something with a little more texture tends to be the more organic - the more honest - stroke." Her pale eyes consider Bruce then at length with a piercing gaze, before she sets her scrutiny back on the large canvas. "But put on the right wall, in the right surroundings, it could be an elegant statement, I suppose."


"Recycled?" Bruce gives Emma a bit of a look and a laugh with a shake of his head. "A controlled brush stroke is not recycled. Each stroke is done with care. To do one just as same as the next and make it look organic? I find that fascinating. To hide the brush strokes, as it were. To make it seem as if something that takes quite a bit of work is something done with ease?" Bruce steps back and admires the painting again and then tilts his head back toward Emma. "Don't you find that something of a work of art?"

The look is truly curious, not an attempt to needle her or the like. "I think it a fine statement on any wall. I've already put my bid in for it."


"How charitable," Emma teases in a play on words, her eyes bright with it. It's not a needle there, either, but an opportunistic seizing of the phrase when it presents itself. And to drive home that point, she is quick to emphasize its mild meaning. "Truly, though, yes. The piece is lovely. I hope you win it."

The better hope would be that whoever else bids against Bruce Wayne doesn't have their heart set on it. Heartbreak is almost never quite so sad as when it comes to a charity event.
Sipping again from her cup, the blonde continues. "Honestly, I find that I find more pleasure in knowing a piece so intimately that I memorize its tiny, nearly imperceptible flaws and variances. They are, after all, what separates us from machines. I always feel like the soul can be discovered there. We get enough of the perfectionistic, controlled veneer every day, don't we?"


"I certainly do, but I have something of a knack for putting in the right bid." Much like Emma may have gathered, Bruce Wayne - if he is serious about a bid - will certainly ensure that his is the highest.

"Do we?" With a grin, he steps back and starts to lead Emma away from the painting. He's put in his bid, he's shown it off. "I generally find it quite the opposite. However, perhaps that is the difference between New York and Gotham. Gotham is a place that could use a little more control."


Emma's laughter, when it comes, is the soft and melodic sort that is the pride of finishing schools. "I will certainly need to defer to your expertise when it comes to Gotham," she tells him. Although she's certainly heard enough from the likes of Kate Kane about the place to be certain that he's not exaggerating about a need for control there. Of course, where that conversation occurs rather means that she shouldn't bring up the little bit of similar intel that she got from the man's cousin, so… she expertly moves briskly along in the conversation.

Fortunately, Bruce is ready to move along elsewhere in an altogether in the flow of art, and she effortlessly moves to resettle her arm around his. She is an expert in the way that she uses little more than subtle body language and overtly ignoring gazes to disinvite others from intruding upon their conversation. They will need to be particularly bold if they're to cut in. …So far, no one is, although there a couple of glances in their direction as people recognize at least one of the two faces.

But… let them look.

For tonight, she occupies the arm of the most eligible bachelor in Gotham on a rare visit. Her lips curl with another wicked twist; she’ll make the most of the opportunity. For she, too, is something of… an artist.

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