Saturday, October 11, 2014

May There Be Good Reading Light In Heaven

My troubled and treasured friend Jed Hershon (1964-2014) has departed this earth by his own intention. An autodidact and manager of several wonder-full stores of used and rare books in New York, Jed was a constant source of collage materials for me (and so much more), keeping a stack of spine-broken, sun- and water-damaged books behind the register; he knew what I liked. All summer and now into fall, I have had a pair of differently folded books out in the weather. When I learned of Jed's passing, this one seemed finished. May he rest in much-deserved peace.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garth Hudson lookalike

Does anyone else see the uncanny resemblance between this Persian poet and the great, deeply mysterious Garth Hudson of The Band? I did. That's why I sat him on top of the stereo console. I had a feeling he'd be contented there. This piece is 4x6 inches, postcard size.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Battle of New Bern

This is a pretty crummy photograph, I think you'll agree. But it represents a little change in direction for me, so I'm posting it anyway. The central figure is one Samuel J. Battle, of New Bern, North Carolina, the first African-American in the NYPD. New Bern is a coastal community 100 miles east of Raleigh that was the seat of the colonial government and briefly the state capitol and known as the "Athens of the South." I doubt the black community saw it that way. A year after the Battle of New Bern in 1862, 4,000 freedmen enlisted in the United States Colored Troops and the entire area became a refuge for thousands of former slaves. The continuous presence of the Union Army meant that the town escaped heavy damage during the war and by 1877, the town had a majority black population. That population was totally disenfranchised in 1899, when North Carolina wrote a new constitution more to the former slavers' liking. That must have been around the time Sam Battle got to thinking about leaving. He was born in 1883 – a 16 lb. baby! – and sworn in as an NYPD officer in 1911. He had a brother-in-law in the Brooklyn Police Force who mentored him. Battle saved a fellow officer's life in the 1920's and was promoted to Sargent in '26. During the Harlem Riots of 1935 he was promoted to Lieutenant. This monument of a man, 6 foot 3 and 280 lbs., eventually became the first African-American parole commissioner. He sure looks the strong, silent type. Battle came to my attention through one of the security officers in my building, who also comes from New Bern. She showed me an article about him from the NY Daily News and I kept the picture and made a transfer of it. Even though he was posted to Harlem, I knew his first connection to the city came through Brooklyn, where I live and where my friend lives. I got to imagining what it must have been like for this big country boy to come to New York and deal with New Yorkers in no way accustomed to being policed by a black man. Besides big Sam, there are several image transfers in this piece: the workers on the cabling of the Brooklyn Bridge, the circus horse on a tightrope, the little church swinging from the hot air balloon. The city swell at right is cut paper, as is the little boy with the tractor and the Monopoly card of N. Carolina Avenue. For the first time, I used paint and colored pencil to unify the images; the result was encouraging. Then I framed it and gave it to my friend for Christmas.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Invitation to Strange Glue: Collage at 100.

The postcard announcement for the collage centennial at the Thompson Gallery in Weston, Massachusetts has arrived and I'm happy to reiterate that my image transfer collage, Braintree, is included in part one of this three-part exhibition, Traditional and Avant-Garde. I'm told by the curator that I'm "Cornellian," and to me that means traditional in the best possible sense. If you're going to be in the Boston area this fall, do drop by! I also am going to be offering fine art prints of Braintree in an open edition this fall. Please shoot me an email if you'd like to know more.

Friday, August 17, 2012

On The Map

Back in April, the Dutch photographer Andre Smits came to my studio (apartment) in Brooklyn to shoot a picture for his epic project, THE ARTISTS IN THE WORLD. You can see the picture and countless others here and here.
I love to be included in group shows as an artist, to be shown to belong to the community of visual artists. I came to know Andre through the artist Don Porcella. The musician Kevin Hearn of Barenaked Ladies is a great fan of Don's work and of my singing; we sang Neil Young's Expecting To Fly at the Queen Eliz Theatre in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympiad. Don was in the audience when I joined Kevin for a song at the Rockwood Music Hall in NY a year later, and that's how I met Don. Anyway, it seems that Mr. Smits shares my enthusiasm for map-making. He recently posted an interactive version of this wonderful handmade map documenting his April trip to NYC. Lovely to be included here too.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Collage Centennial: First of 2

I'm advised that the online catalogue of works in the collage centennial exhibition organized by the very wonderful collagist Cecil Touchon at the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction is now complete. This was not a juried show; all entries were welcome; Cecil is a Fluxus man. The online museum has a physical space in Pagosa Springs, Colorado where you can see my RAILROADED in all its vaguely sinister charm.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kinda Outta the Blue

I met a fellow collage artist online. We had a great affinity for each other's work. Todd Bartel turned out to be the curator at the Thompson Gallery at the Cambridge School of Weston outside Boston. He extended the deadline for Strange Glue, the panoramic collage centenary exhibit he had scheduled for September 2012. And I made the cut. Braintree will be on display in the fall. Braintree earned an Honorable Mention my first time out, at a group show at 440 Gallery in Park Slope in 2006, so it's an early work. But it clarified something for me; I kept it a long time. Now I'm fully prepared to sell it to someone from Braintree, Massachusetts.