"Throw off the shackles of the artist class."
<XAV> Art Room - Xs Second Floor
Smells of paints and chalks and turpentine mingle freely in this room, well-used, well-stocked. Natural light flows in, plentiful through the large windows. The long counter-like tables are speckled with spots of color, and half finished projects often stand on easels or propped in corners. The many cupboards lining the walls are crammed full of art supplies.
It's a quiet Sunday afternoon, the patter of a short drizzle having muted as the sun starts to peek from behind the clouds, some of the droplets remaining formed on the large windows. For the most part, the art room is empty, with fewer unfinished works on display than would normally be the case, aside from a single occupant. Though there is still some overcast, Marinov is sitting in the light spilling through the window on the floor, their eyes focused intensely on the tablet that they are working on. The sketched figures on the screen, do not all resemble the waifish forms often seen on fashion sketches, with the one they are currently working on being a more muscular, masculine figure sporting tentacles coming from its back.
Marinov wears a forest green top with an asymmetric collar, descending from their right shoulder to their right upper chest, a few black buttons lined up down this side. Their black slacks only cover down just above their ankle, and they've opted as they often do to not put any covering over their feline feet, letting their rosettes stand on their own. One sharp tooth is exposed in frustration, ears folded back, as they continue to make changes to the image that they are working on, followed by an undo, and then making a new change, which seems to meet the same fate, in a possible perpetual loop.
Nessie's arrival to the art room is preceded by a quiet clicking, soft and rapid against the floor. The door is pushed open softly; Nessie's many eyes are wide as she peeks inside. Hesitates. She's dressed only in a faded old button down, too big for her and striped on pale blue and white, clutching a beaten-up old sketchbook to her chest. "Oh um --" She starts to scoot backwards again but pauses. Looks Marinov over, inches further into the room instead. "Are you -- do you mind if I -- would it bother you if I. Came. To draw. We can draw here, right? I mean when there's no class. There isn't class is there? I mean it's Sunday but some people -- do a lot of class for some reason."
It takes awhile for Marinov's attention to break away from the task at hand, though the swivel of their ears towards Nessie signal that they are, in fact, listening on some level. When they actually look up, their eyes widen and they spring to their feet, the tablet and stylus tossed up into the air. Quickly, though, they manage to catch the tablet (the stylus clatters onto the floor), and their posture returns to something alert but more casual. It would be easy to imagine that the startle never occurred, were it not for the continued bristled state of their tail. The tablet is placed on a nearby table and they start to brush down the fur on their tail-- with a very measured calm. "Sorry. I was focused on my work, I was a little startled," they say smoothly, then brush back the fur standing up on their head and re-adjust their clothes. Finally, their voice becomes warmer, more friendly: "You can draw here, yeah, that's cool. I'm not the art boss, anyways. I was working on some sketches myself."
Nessie's tail flicks rapidly when Marinov springs up. She scuttles back closer to the door, fingers tightening to crimp further at the already-wavy edges of her sketchpad. "Oh! Ohnosorry I didn't. Um --" Her head ducks, her clicking steps slower as she skirts the tall tables, finding a spot halfway down a counter. Pushing aside two of the stools to make room for herself. "Mean to -- startle. Who's -- the art boss? Is there an art boss? Are we allowed to just use this stuff? What are you working on? Sorry no wait I should let you. Work. I just. There's a lot of stuff. It's cool that it's all just. Here."
"I... probably startle pretty easy," admits Marinov. "If there is an art boss, they've never revealed themselves to me. I've been using stuff in here when I need it since I started at Xavier's, and I'm sure that I'd've been lectured by now if that's wrong." They glance backwards towards the tablet they were working on, their teeth exposed slightly in recalled frustration. "I should take a breather anyway. Was working on a design and getting nowhere. I lost all my recent sketches the other day, and I'm having some trouble remembering details... Anyways. This room is great, yeah, there's all kinds of neat shit about."
"Maybe at night all the art supplies come to life and they have their own secret art boss." Nessie sets her sketchbook down on the table but doesn't yet open it, instead slowly drifting around the room. Opening a cabinet, peeking inside, moving on to the next. She stops at a set of bamboo reed calligraphy pens, taking one out of its holder to roll it between her fingers. "I bet if they have an art boss it's something fancy like this. Getting waited on by the rest of the supplies." Her nose wrinkles at Marinov's explanation, shoulders hunching in. "-- Oh. Was that when -- my roommate kind of fried everything." Her voice is suddenly very flat. "What do you design?"
"Oh, shit yeah, art supplies of the world, unite!" says Marinov, their hands placed on their hips. "Throw off the shackles of the artist class." They approach to get a better look at the calligraphy pens, "Yeah, those are pretty fancy. If art supply society does have bosses, then they're definitely at the top. Writing real fucking-- elegant looking rules!" Their tone becomes flat as well when they continue: "That was your roommate? I hope they don't make that shit a habit-- Oh! I design clothes. Like, fashion! I'm a member of the fashion club here."
"I don't know if she makes a habit -- I've kind of been trying to avoid her since she moved in, she was --" Nessie doesn't finish this thought. Her tail swishes again, a smaller twitch of a motion, and she rolls the pen once more before tucking it carefully back where it came from. Her tone is hushed as she turns to Marinov, eyes wider. "A fashion club? You -- oh!" Her hands smooth at her faded wrinkled shirt, head ducking with an abrupt darkening of her cheeks. "Oh, that's -- that's real. Cool, I didn't -- know there was a. Fashion -- thing. You make clothes?"
Marinov scrunches their expression a little at Nessie's aborted thought, and then they glance down momentarily towards Nessie's faded shirt and and there is a slight reddening at the inside of their ears, "Oh! The fashion club isn't like- you see in shows and stuff where these popular kids shit on other kids for wearing uncool clothes. But like, it's more-- sometimes people here don't have access to clothes that they feel good about and I like to help. With stuff. Like that." They glance aside and rub the back of their neck awkwardly. "Anyways, yeah, I design and make clothes. I gained a lot of attention earlier this year and... I really hope when I graduate that I can have a career in fashion?"
"I don't really have a lot of, um, cool clothes," Nessie admits with a tiny half-smile that fades almost as soon as it touches her lips, "it's kind of hard to find things that --" She shrugs, scrunching fingers against the hem of her shirt. Smoothing it back down. "Gained attention for -- oh my gosh have you been in, like, magazines or anything? That would be so cool." She tucks the set of pens back in the cubby they came from, bouncing a little higher on her jointed legs as she looks Marinov over again. "When are you graduating? Are you going to have a store? Is it gonna look real neat because your clothes look real neat."
"I'm graduating this year, I'm a senior. Or well... I might have a few credits to go, I need to figure that shit out with the school, 'cause... you know. Rona." They make a circle gesture with their hand. "I... actually have been in magazines. At least as like, a novelty or someone to watch for. I designed for Ryan Black. For the Met Gala..." Then quieter as if they are trying to brush past the detail quickly: "...where he got blown up..." And back to a more conversational volume, with their tail curled upwards, they continue, "He is really cool! I'm a huge fan, it was an incredible opportunity! So if you have sort of a personal style you'd like to aspire to, maybe we could work on something, you could soon say that you have a Taylor Marinov original!"
Nessie's shoulders slump visibly when Marinov says they are graduating, but she perks up again almost immediately after. "Oh my gosh are you kidding me you know Ryan Black? You designed for Ryan -- oh." All her eyes go wide-wide-wide but she plows ahead anyway: "I mean, that's amazing, right? He's amazing. You must be amazing! He's like a for real star and everything. I don't think I have a style how do you get a style? Could you make me look like a rock star -- no wait I don't even play any instruments umm. I never really thought about, like, I don't think there's a lot of sort of, um, scorpion fashion guides out there? I didn't even know I could have a style. Most people are just like ahhh monster what are you and that's -- an aesthetic? But I didn't exactly choose it right? You look like you actually, um, decided on one though. An aesthetic, I mean."
"It was pretty amazing, yeah! I've worked pretty hard on all my design stuff so it was really cool to actually get out there, and it seems like some people do think it's pretty amazing. I had some worries about like... what I'd be doing after I graduate. And I still do, but that helped. A lot." Marinov's eyes first widen at all this energy from Nessie, and then they respond with a cheery feline squint. "Yeah, I mean. The rosettes are totally, one hundred percent natural! But everything else is like, an image that I was able to kind of shape. There's not really fashion guides for--" They just gesture between themselves and Nessie, and then reach back to grab their tablet while they continue speaking. "But we could still take a look at some pictures of outfits that you think, oh, shit, that looks cool! To get some inspiration. And then maybe use that in something... Scorpionier in design than for your average model!"
"What will you do after you graduate? I mean, are you going to like..." Nessie's face screws up in thought. "Like design for other rock stars? Other mutant rock st... oh. I guess there really aren't any but!" There's a hopeful lilt in her voice here, "Maybe there will be more cuz they'll all want to come out once they see how badass they could look in a Taylor Marinov Original!" She bites at her lip, several feet shifting to inch her just a hair closer to Marinov when they pick up the tablet. "Do you have like an instagram or something? What the Well Dressed Monster Is Wearing? I -- it's, um, probably obvious I could use. A little inspiration."
"If I could design for other rock stars, that'd be great. And if there were more mutant stars, I'd definitely do everything I can to do designs for them. I bet there are some other stars... ones who aren't really out yet," says Marinov, "But I should probably do some apprenticing under someone in the industry. Build contacts. I joke about wanting to be kind of a diva, like an Edna Mode type, demand only green m&ms and then throw them out 'cause chocolate is fucking toxic. But really I want to support my community. Uh. Anyways, yeah, I'm on Instagram! I'll show you." The screen turns on, and they quickly brush away the canvas that they were working on to bring up some references to look through, scooting closer to Nessie and tilting it so she can see better. Then, excitedly: "Let's get inspired!"