This week, I was lucky enough to sit down with Arthur and get an inside glimpse at the life of the beloved student artist. You’ve probably seen him around, or maybe not. Who’s to say? Arthur — who goes by Art for short — has no Cygnet profile, so it can be difficult to verify that he exists. In fact, usually we at The Phoenix identify Swarthmore students by their graduation year, but no one is really sure when Arthur will graduate. He’s kind of always been here, while simultaneously always taking a leave of absence. Some semesters he’ll be studying abroad, yet still be enrolled in one of your classes. Several people swear they’ve seen him walk the stage at graduation.
“I’ve been interested in all forms of art since I was a kid,” said Arthur, like every other artist of the week before him.
“The first book I read?” Arthur considered the question to himself. “’The Corrections.‘ That’s why I wanted to come to Swarthmore, actually.”
In a twist of fate, now Jonathan Franzen is the one who looks up to Arthur. Arthur has already had quite a successful literary career; he wrote his first novel by the time he entered kindergarten and quickly entered The New York Times Bestsellers List. His current Directed Creative Writing Project intends to do for pretentious liberal arts students what “Euphoria” did for annoying people. He’s found such acclaim that the English Department had him read for Writers’ Week. Despite the proliferation of campus magazines, papers, and publications, Arthur recently started his own newsletter, to which he is the only contributor. Small Craft Warnings has declined to comment, having previously rejected all of his submissions. The Phoenix also declined, bitterly, having been trying to recruit him for weeks.
Arthur, the architect behind new Sharples, has pieces hanging in every major museum. You may know one of his artworks: the iconic mural which resides in Sharples. The piece is valued at $1 million.
“I’m lucky that Swarthmore supports my art,” said Arthur, winking at me and crossing his fingers behind his back. “It’s so interdisciplinary here. It’s like, I have so much homework. So I have to make my homework into my art.” Yeah, as if we haven’t heard that one before. Give it a break!
Arthur, who designed the “Unnecessarily Entangled” sign in Kohlberg for some reason, recently hosted an event in Kitao in which people created entire wardrobes from composted tea bags. He definitely had something to do with the red thing in front of DK and AP. In his spare time, he models nude for Foundation Drawing. Some even say he himself is the art.
Last semester, he performed a one-man-show version of Les Misérables, in which he played every part. It was a technical masterpiece, but unfortunately, everyone had too much work so there was no one in attendance. Vertigo-go didn’t accept him because he was too funny.
“They couldn’t keep up with me,” Arthur told me, laughing. “I had them saying ‘Yes, and,’ to my hijinks until they had emptied their pockets and given me all their money.”
Orpheus reports that Arthur is on their mailing list but has never shown up to meetings. This makes sense, since despite Arthur’s enormous talents in other respects, he’s actually a terrible musician, although he doesn’t seem to realize it. Unfortunately, that is the career he has decided to pursue.
“One day I was sitting and thinking about what I want to do, what I really want to do, I mean. I’m the youngest ever EGOT winner, I’ve won a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize, but I’m still not satisfied. I’m going to start a boy band. I guess, if I was really honest with myself, what I really want is One Direction to get back together.”
Please contact Arthur if you have any information about One Direction.