...is like pan handling as the show girls in Vegas get off of a shift.
You'd rather be a fan, a friend of business associate but you need money. it's showbiz, and it can be draining. Though I used to rent space in front of one of the abandoned buildings next to Museum of Modern Art for a couple of years the scene got too seedy and discovered New york's own little Rodeo Drive. West Broadway between Houston and Broome is a mecca for people who wanna be... and sometimes are.
It's hard to tell the cash carrying customers from the just curious tourist but I've gotten better spotting them. Who I am kidding I still don't have a clue! Unless a bleached blonde with five thousand dollars worth of Rodeo Drive leather and a smiley tan to match stops to peruse me and my art I figure you're trying to mug me. Okay, I know out of towners don't appreciate that hard shell we New Yorkers shroud ourselves in, so I mask my fear, apprehension, wariness, and possible paranoia with a pleasent, "Hi,...if you like any of my art work feel free to tell me". I'll be standing right over here...freezing...tired...hungry...Buy something! Like I said I mask my own trepidation at trusting people and try to be as friendly as possible because you never know what kind of angel can come into your days and brighten it. Come into your life and intend to be rich but the bottom line is to just paint, create, flminate even if I have to isolate to be alone long enough to let the ideas come in. Though the great connections are few, far between and unfortunately not followed up enough by me at times in the past it's almost miraculously rewarding sometimes.
These are the occasional dredges of society that pass themselves off as great art connections or caring acquaintances who have gained my trust only to be found out to have their own evil agenda but live and learn. I'm a little wiser, a lot more wary and hopefully less naive than in the past.
By and large the positives out shine the negatives. When luminaries like Robert Redford and daughter Sunshine stop and look it can't help but make your day! 'Bob' has an awesome blue light coming out of his eyes but what I really found astonishingly alluring was his taller than he blaze of red headed daughter. A Rockey Mountain beauty. Not so wholesome, super and not so super models smiling by don't hurt either but give me a Dallas debutante with a fist full of dollars and a hankering to spend it on my paintings any day. (But that's another story).
Money comes and goes so exposure is what an artist must really hope for him and his creations. The connection that put me on the map nationally was the campaign for Cointreau (the liqueur made from mandarin oranges in France). It was an out growth of the Colette series based on a young heiress I secretly adored (though I think her gigolo boyfriend knew). She was a perfectly imperfect statuesque beauty, that wore a giant sun hat and skin tight dress one day and has since inspired the bulk of the more mystical metropolitan muses I depict in my work (what-ever happened to that woman?).
The impact of the full page ad campaign was made mention of in Adweek, and how it won out over two competing agencies for the account. Several weeks later it was showcased in full color under - BEST - in Art Direction Magazine. Both excerpts are reprinted in these pages (so I'm tooting my own horn, don't shoot me). The next and most recent print exposure I got due directly to that opulent avenue was from of all places The Daily News. Not for my paintings but for my hand painted, high, high-heeled shoes. Cruel-shoes! Painted pumps! ...! Betty Page would be proud. I don't know what ever happened to that ol' B&W muse of mine but any woman gains a new allure from these new creations of mine (or, actually, from any decadent lift). The article is reprinted here and I take no responsibility for it's tabloid like lead in headline. No offense to the writer, Lenore Skenazy; we all have to make a living.
A short note about the shoes. I've always realized that high heels can be ungainly, if not un-politically correct to some women but I've grown to adore the way a woman is lifted to new heights of beauty by them. First I adorned my t.v. with a pair of teal blue shoes a neighbor/friend donated to me and then tried them on my models. "Amazing effect", I thought "...but what else could I do to personalize the picture?". Then I read an article by Lenore Skenazy (of Daily News) in New York magazine about a woman who painted whimsically angry sharks on ladies underwear (I don't know if I'd call a topless dancer's painties 'lingerie', but what do I know?). That gave me the brainstorm to buy some special paint to paint pumps, but I didn't do much about it. And I probably never would have except for an out of the blue intervention.
One day while I displayed my wares an angel appeared. She said she was an activist for the SoHo community board and would I be interested in helping to replace the demeaning depictions of women in the porn store windows with the strong, self assured sirens in my paintings. No argument from me! After they were painted and installed on West Broadway & Canal and Sixth & West Fourth I discovered that said activist, Margaret Setterholm, invented paint. Eureka! The rest is shoe history. Margaret is a genius with paint. The intensity of the color, which helps make my shoes so ...intense, is due to her bio-chemical wizardry. Her concoctions are so ecologically safe that she is coming out with an edible line of paints for children. From fabric to leather, awnings to metal her paint wears and flows better than any ever seen or tried.
In closing, though the streets have been good to me they are only a means to an end, and by no means a replacement for a gallery of my own. I guess I'll have to stop being so picky and let Mary Boone show my work in her gallery sometime soon (she's a lot cuter than Leo Costelli). See you at the opening.