The Revenge of the 13th Barista


"Revenge" (13 Baristas Art Collective), acrylic and coffee on unprimed canvas (2015)


No one ever paid attention to Kaitlin Ensor. She was utterly unremarkable (or so she thought). She liked the things that many people liked. But she was not passionate about them. She found the idea of specialized interests somehow odd. The comic book nerds were like aliens. But her friends were almost as alien. She wanted to be beautiful but did not think it was particularly important. She wanted to know things but was never really animated by any academic ideals. She wanted things to be interesting but found little joy in complexity for its own sake. She wanted to be a good person but she found the idea of being good somehow befuddling.

She was raised Lutheran by her mother. Her father died in the war. Kaitlin felt a sense of pride about her father but she also suspected that she should feel something else (something like betrayal). She believed in God but suspected that he was dead or something.  She had friends but none she would die for, or kill for, and this seemed to be a failure on her part. She always suspected something was wrong. She decorated her room (that she shared with her sister) with the things that one might expect. She lived in the trailer park west of town; the good trailer park not the shitty one on the north side of town. (That last fact gave her a sense of pride and shame at the same time).

She dropped out of college because she continued to suspect something wasn’t right, but mostly because she needed to make money when her mom lost her receptionist job with the county. But she just couldn’t stay in her hometown. Her suspicions had grown oppressive. She moved to Chicago with a friend from high school and got a job in a coffee shop. It became clear to her there. She was almost a slave. Not a full-blown slave. A half-slave. And that was why the trinkets of half-freedom never made her happy. Her suspicions had become anger. Her anger reshaped her. She resolved to become an avenging angel. And all the joys and hatred of the world came forth. 

Adam Turl is an artist, writer and socialist currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. He is an editor at Red Wedge and is presently pre-occupied with exploring past and present Marxist strategies in studio art. Turl is an MFA candidate at the Sam Fox School of Art and Design at Washington University in St. Louis. He writes the "Evicted Art Blog" at Red Wedge. He is also a member of the November Network of Anti-Capitalist Studio and Visual Artists.

"Evicted Art Blog" is Red Wedge editor Adam Turl's investigation of potential strategies for contemporary anti-capitalist studio art.