"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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"Hm? What?" Brendan was barely even a blip on Jae's mental radar at this point. He was busy squeezing the paint onto the paper plate he'd been using to mix colors, envisioning the shades he would need to get just the right effect. The bird would be the focal point of this one, brighter in contrast to the person. He hadn't done the background yet - should it be darker, to emphasize the phoenix and the fire? Just more muted? Less detailed? No, wait, he'd already sketched out all the detail, he wasn't just going to paint over that.

As he set the paint aside and reached for his phone to put his earphones back in, it registered more clearly that Brendan was asking him something. Jae didn't really want to start a conversation, not right now when the wheels had just started turning for this painting, but maybe they could keep it short.

"What?" He repeated, glancing over at Brendan.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Black Kingdom, Red Kingdom · East Wing