“I have nothing to lose,” the man who was pushing old age spoke with grim finality. Jeremy Mycroft was a down-on-his-luck artist. He was speaking to the owner of the Volekraft Gallery, a man of impeccable taste and disarming charm. Mr Volekraft was only thirty-eight and a master at the game of deception, a skill that made him extremely wealthy. There were many periods in Volkraft’s life when his persona was simply an illusion to prop up a business that was smoke and mirrors, a con game where artists received nothing for their work and Volkraft ran off with the spoils. He didn’t want to think about his days of misrepresentation and flim-flam. He managed to remake himself with the money he stole … of course he changed his name from Ernie Splam and invested in a fabulous new wardrobe and a posh New York Art Gallery.
Jeremy never made a dime from Volkraft’s conniving. His career as an artist was cut short when Volkraft (who was Ernie Splam) stole his work and left town. The one skill Ernie had was an eye for artistic talent. He used Jeremy to propel himself into the art world. Now Jeremy only wanted one thing – a show in the Volkraft Gallery, but Volkraft didn’t want his previous life as Ernie exposed. He hesitated and denied Jeremy any consideration.
“I have nothing to lose,” the artist repeated, but Volkraft didn’t quite understand. Jeremy had a gun, but he was no killer. Still, when he leveled the gun at the gallery owner the man lost his disarming cool and began to shake. Jeremy knew he could never trust Volkraft no matter what he might agree to do – the man would always be a liar and cheat. The artist really wanted one thing: to create a work of art. To that end, he kidnapped Volkraft and stored him in his dilapidated art studio. He forced Volkraft to live in abject poverty, feeding him cat food and keeping him restrained. The artist filmed the event and put Volkraft’s captivity on the internet for the world to see. Eventually, Volkraft came to accept his situation and even appreciate the artist’s ministrations on his behalf. He identified with the artist … he suffered from Stockholm Syndrome. The artist used a contrite Volkraft in his Art-Performances where Volkraft was publicly degraded and revealed as a disgusting and servile creature. Jeremy Mycroft finally became wealthy and famous for his performances and videos … but to no avail. In the process, situations were reversed and Jeremy became an imitation of the man he hated and despised.