The piece is constructed to look like a pantone colour chart, with the different shades given playful titles alluding to modern life such as "Queasyjet" for a dirty-looking orange, "Scratch Card Silver" and "Microwave Dinner" for an uninspiring shade of beige.
Along with a selection of other (apparently far less offensive) work, it was hung in an office where a member of staff duly took it down from the wall having been shocked at the presence of the words "penis" and "arse".
It transpired that the lady who removed the work from the wall felt these two words to be not just offensive, but "highly" offensive and inappropriate for a work environment".
Firstly, I was delighted that she'd taken the time to pay such close attention to the piece - and had clearly read every single word which went to make up the full compliment of colour titles. This illustrates the interest the work had elicited from those working in the office. So many take little or no interest in their daily surroundings and it must serve to make your usual place of work incredibly dull - hence the reason why the concept of art in this office had been so well-received by the management.
Secondly, I was similarly delighted that she'd had an honest, visceral response to the work. For any artist, be you a painter, sculptor, musician or that crazy dude who paints intricately detailed scenes on blobs of chewing gum stuck to the pavement, any response - positive or not - is good. It proves you have an audience, that you're not just talking to yourself and that there might be an outside chance you could sell a a few bits and, in your wildest dreams, that you could one day make a living from doing what the very breath in your lungs depends upon: the driving need to make and create, solidify your innermost thoughts, hopes, dreams, every shred of anger and each gentle idea by committing them to your chosen medium.
However... (from here on in I'm apt to get a bit shouty, just so you're forewarned, but I'll try not to use too many LOUD CAPITALS) I'd love to know exactly what it was about "Smacked Arse Scarlet" and "Novelty Penis Pink" which so inflamed this woman's sensibilities.
There can scarcely be a less truly offensive word than arse in common use to describe the fleshy cushions of our posteriors. Its soft utterance, so much sweeter than "backside", fonder than "buttocks", more dashingly deliverable than "bum" and altogether more stiff-upper-lipped than the winsome "bottom" can no more be described as offensive than scarlet may be held to account for being decidedly redder than a suggestively blushing pink - which, when one's arse is properly smacked, would be a sure sign that a true professional had administered the punishment - or pleasure, depending on your predilection.
Presumably, had the artist's alliteration led her to "Smacked Bum Scarlet" the level of offence may have been somewhat tempered although unlikely, I suspect, to have been completely absent. If one is to be reddened in the face (instead of the arse) by a good old English word describing one's derriere, it's probably safe to assume that presence of something altogether more dangly would send one's heart rate into the ascendancy of a coronary... and so it did.
If arse had been considered an expletive appetiser, penis was a giant, (one hopes) cursing main course of such malignant potency as to warrant the immediate removal of the piece from the office wall: to be marched purposefully in the direction of a long-suffering Facilities Manager who'd seen this kind of squeaking excitement once before when a dust-gathering statue of Leda and the Swan was discovered in the basement and put on show in the quadrangle for all of two weeks before it became apparent a full-scale riot would ensue were it not re-consigned back under the dust sheet with some immediacy.
In a skit that would have done Monty Python proud, the offended party demanded the piece be "taken away". It was at this point that I think her real motivation became clear as she didn't similarly demand that something more appropriate be offered in its stead.
Ah ha! THAT'S her problem - she's an ART HATER! Ok, now I get it. She's one of those tiresome, unimaginative fuckwits who espouses the view that art is for ponces, limp-wristed luvvies and doe-eyed dandies gavotting about the halls of art galleries stinking of lavender and sighing theatrically whenever news of the latest round of budget cuts to the arts are announced.
I'd be willing to bet SHE'S the one who, when I was showing the nice caretaker where to hang the piece, stage-whispered to her colleague: "Oh, so I've got to look at THAT all day, have I"?
You have to feel sorry for her, really. This poor, put-upon office worker, forced to look at a piece of carefully crafted, gloriously whimsical original artwork made by a woman with more imagination, vigour, humility and humour in a single strand of her Titian hair than this moron could muster from her entire carbuncular carcass. God forbid that anything should obstruct her unhindered view of a BARE PIECE OF WALL and have the temerity to USE OFFENSIVE WORDS IN DOING SO.
This is a breath, lest I have my own coronary right here over the keyboard.