Monday, June 02, 2008


A good fair took place in New Jersey this week, filled to the brim with whiskey and cigarette accented carnies, tanned and tobacco toothed....And me without my sketch pad.

For shame.

I'll always find some way to run off to the circus...If just for a few hours.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel...'

'...That's all, I don't even think of you that often."

-Leonard Cohen

There are a few downfalls to living in New York. There's nowhere to extend it. So things are consistently being built over...Or worse remaining and changing into something that isn't familiar at all...

Some weeks ago the influential(and ever important to Punk culture)location of the closed rock club CBGB's re-opened as a designer's store. Five hundred dollar jeans are being sold in a place where you could go as you were, see five bands for eight dollars (some bad, some good, some great), and get an eccentric learning experience from the bathrooms downstairs. I remember it well. I'm pleased I do.

Somehow five hundred dollar jeans just don't make the cut for me.

I'd rather be reading the grafitti.

And a few weeks later I headed off to Union Square in search of painting supplies at Utrecht. I was pleased with my find of painting but not with a few realizations.

The Lower East Side has been overrun by the NYU students (Some of the most loathed creatures...even by their own alumni)for years. In the past few, it's gotten worse. Recently they've knocked down a beautiful old church to hold all the little buggers. In fact, the place my dad lived...and then my mother lived with him...and where I later was conceived (Yes I will have a tour one day...It will be exceptionally dull for most!)which was just a run through Union Sq. to Andy Warhol's last studio, now is a dormitory for NYU students.

I was annoyed. Did they have to take over EVERYTHING?

As I thought about this I walked through Union Square and noticed something else. The artists all had yellow posters tagged to their carts...They were being forced out of Union Square! The city is attempting to force the artists out of Union Square. What is Union Square without the craft tables, artists,and the farmers market?



A month or so later today I was wrapping ceramic sculptures in old newspapers at work when the pinkish brown color of the New York Observer caught my eye. About a week old, the black block letters on the back read "Life And Death At The Chelsea". I like reading about the Chelsea Hotel. I'll even swing by their oft pretentious blog to read information. I disagree fully with their claim of being "The Last Outpost Of Bohemia" but I liked their interest of their own history and the preservation of the artists residing at the Chelsea today. Well, I thought they cared about the preservation of the artists.

However they too have succumbed to the "GREATER THINGS IN MONEY...I mean life. Life yes, not money. All about life. Life that gets much more expensive...Whoo whoo!

Now for anyone who doesn't really know about the Chelsea Hotel, the building was erected in 1883 and opened in 1884 as an inexpensive apartment co-op. In 1905 it went backrupt and a few years after that it was purchased and reopened as a hotel. In 1946 it was bought by the Bard family who the hotel belonged to for many years and generations until last year when Stanley Bard the usually beloved 72 year old manager was ousted by the board of directors. Which explains a lot of the changes that have been taking place.

The Chelsea Hotel has been home to many artists of all different mediums. It would be entirely useless to try and list just a few so I'll send to a Wikipedia page instead. Even in the last few decades it's remained a home for artists. The pricing has gone way, way up (Decades ago you could exchange a good painting you'd done as rent) because of the idea that you're "sleeping with history"...And yes there are quite a few spirits still living at The Chelsea in the respective rooms. They have been seen AND heard...Often. But still it was a home for "interesting folk" in New York City...And a great selling point for tourists.

Now they've been evicting people to make way for a cleaner, cooler, much more fabulous Chelsea Hotel. In other words the same derivative Hotel that can make lots of lots of cash...They just a few years.

One of the artists who is being threatened with eviction (and the topic of the Observer article) is a retired musician Jann Paxton who is also terminally ill with cancer, as well as numerous other ailments. He's also broke and in debt as the rates for the Chelsea have swiftly gone through the roof in a very short time. If evicted he feels he'll die very soon in a welfare hotel or shelter.

Money is money, and it's important. New York is expensive. If it isn't about what's right, can it be about what is fair?

Or even intelligent?

Lose the artists, lose the reason that The Chelsea stands out in anyway. There are many old buildings in New York...That doesn't mean people will stay in them. Especially if they're like everything else.

Lose the artists, lose The Chelsea.

What makes the Chelsea ISN'T about everything that's gone happened in the past. You can go many many places in this beautiful world and be standing right on top of history. EVERYTHING is history. What makes the Chelsea is the possibility of who could be there now and what could happen. And that you could be in the middle of it.

A few weeks ago I was walking through Alphabet City and mulling over the idea that I wouldn't have been walking so freely twenty years ago...And that it wouldn't be as clean and lovely looking in it's own way.

And I felt a little sad. As though I'd cheated. Where was the alphabet city of twenty years ago.

...And then I tripped over a used condom and felt a little better.

Oh well.

But at least I still remember the bathrooms at CBGB's.

Friday, February 29, 2008


Anthony Palumbo's Artist Statement (Art Students League Retrospective Brochure)

"I believe the essence of all visual expression begins its life through struggle of the sketch. Thoughts on my art melt into reflections on my life. They are inseparable. Without a connection to these supports, life is impossible. Painting is an obsession. Drawing is my anchor. I discovered early the power of visual imagery in reaching out to others. I am a private, stubborn man.

Three powerful influences as a child shaped my destiny as an artist. The Church, mysterious and threatening, fed my imagination to draw and act out expressive stories through early scribbles. Church art (not the great art one ties to the Renaissance but provincial, more primitive art) fired me up. Goya and the early German painter Grünewald intrigued me. These painters were spiritually inspiring with their magnetic, mystic convictions, raw storytelling emotions and techniques.

In addition, shocking pulp fiction of the late 1920s in southern Italy had great impact. Large garish posters on horse-drawn wagons loudly hawked books of scandals, love triangles, psychological aberrations: a gory mess not too different from flagellation and torturous effigies exhibited in our religious processions. I did not realize their lasting effect until I later faced the experiments of Surrealists like Magritte, de Chirico, Ernst. The drama of déjà vu hovers still. My grandfather's surreal workshop dwarfed me as I entered his world of building mammoth wine barrels resembling gigantic rib cages, with Lilliputian workers constructing or dismantling scattered ribs of wood waiting their turn for assembly. I found kinship with Piranesi's monumental vision. These unlocked floodgates to my imagination.

My family arrived in America in 1929 upon the heels of the Great Depression. I was nine. Though the situations were different, I related to emotions expressed in 1930s newspaper photographs, art and headlines shouting "bread lines," "uncertainty," "homelessness," "pending wars." These feelings spelled human struggle. If there ever was a time when life and art meshed, this was it. Reginald Marsh, Rico LeBrun, Thomas Hart Benton were heroes of power and social conscience. I, too, thought I could change the world with my art.

A devastating studio fire in the 1960s changed everything. I lost most of my drawings, paintings and sculpture. It was gut-wrenching. A new era opened up in 1968 when I began teaching at the League.

I am in constant flux. Each moment, thoughts change feelings, feelings change actions. Searching for one's identity never ends. How do you know yourself when daily bombardments of visual, verbal and tactical stimuli fill you, and it is the brush or charcoal which points the way to the creative process? Here, in experimenting -- the thrilling part of art -- is where discovery of one's self is possible.

I have struggled to develop my art, and it is most important to me that I share as mentor the awareness that "uniqueness lies in that area where the proverbial carrot dangles. Be aware of 'catching the carrot.' There the rut lies ready to trap the unaware."

An artist with a fermenting soul stands on fertile ground constantly vibrating with perpetual life at times bearing unpredictable fruit amongst weeds."

My teacher and mentor passed away last night. I am quietly devastated. Brilliant artist, beloved teacher, and a unique man.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I was awoken this morning at about two by what I believe was a large crashing noise. Disoriented and still a bit paint smeared I immediately panicked when I saw my easel with painting (in progress) on the floor upside down. Wet canvas facing floor.


I must mention there was a very sheepish (guilty perhaps?) looking Sheperd Mix looking over at me, ears as up and out as all get out...and tail thump, thump, thumping as if only she were saying "Remember how adorable I am? Please remember how adorable I am!"

I know.

Luckily oil paint after a bit just smudges (thank you layers!) and smears. Lifted it up...Picked a bit of fuzz off the painting (cursing appropriately after noticing a dent in the wall from the easel) and placed it and the easel back on it's place on the table...I then took much too much time trying to figure out what had happened. It was too odd, I must keep the crime scene open. I must interrogate the witness/suspect. What the heck did she do???

But the witness/suspect/yes absolutely the culprit was still adorable (and a bit nervous) so I patted her on the head and let her go.

I learn from my country. ;)

Just kidding.

On another note,

Please someone call a groundhog and ask them in detail "When is spring coming?"

The entire city is covered in snow...Help!

Have a good weekend :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday, Monday, Model, Model.

Wheee, I haven't written in a very long time. Wait, scratch that...I have written, I've just deleted them ten seconds after they were posted.


Now I think I'm ready to slowly get my feet wet in blogging world. Turned twenty a few weeks ago...Yay, very happy to be out of one funny little hurdle! It's time to make a truly daffy little post. I spend most of my time in art classes. My hands are covered in charcoal consistently. When away from the canvas and model...I feel a little empty. So my first post back will be a daffy little post about what you can and do find in a room with twelve to twenty other students and one or two naked models.

First of all god bless the art studio. For the most part there's heat, and light, something or someone to sketch...and no poor innocent bystander having to realize you've been staring at them for the last twenty minutes....Sorry!!!

Second god bless the model. I know it's hard. You have to stay perfectly still for a period of time while nude in a room of people staring at you. I appreciate it.

However, for every good decent model there is a hideous counterpoint.

Some examples include: Cheese?, Big Stick, Wobbles, and Travis Bickle.

Now, Wobbles is quite self explanatory. They wobble. They wiggle. They move their heads. They jiggle! This model either has picked the wrong pose or just has no concept of what sitting still actually entails. Usually a Wobbler will ask if the pose is over and then every few minutes after that complain and pull faces.

And then they sigh. And then they break out of the pose to stretch...And sigh again.

All in all not so bad.

After Wobbles in "self explanatory" comes...No, not Big Stick. Big Stick is quite possibly not what you think Big Stick is. Do not assume the worst on Big Stick. "Big Stick" (Yes, can I type it enough?) is every male model's best friend (No, no, still not what it might appear), one of those old rods with a hook attached to open and close big giant windows. Close to around six feet tall...They won't put it down. It isn't just a stick that's held or leaned on...It's BIG STICK! Must grasp! Must stand in power pose with. Must not let go! Mine!

Giant Phallic Symbol of Doom!

Drawing the big stick isn't fun. It gets in the way and it's just a straight line...But try to get one away from a male (or the one time butch lesbian..who also fits into a category soon to be detailed) prepared for a fight. There will be no taking away of Big Stick. Only admiration.

Now "Big Stick" is up there on things that can drive you a bit mad in art class. As can really any accessory a model brings in. Such as a tennis racket, boxing gloves, or a sandwich (stop moving your face!!!).

As for the tennis racket and boxing gloves...Do you know you're naked? Why are you boxing naked? Why are you playing tennis naked?

Actually one er -- creative model took "Big Stick" and wrapped his t-shirt around the end. He slung it over his shoulder and became classic hobo chic.

Do you know you're hitchhiking naked?...Actually that might help...Carry on.

And now Cheese?, Cheese? is when nothing at all is going on in a model. Nothing. Empty, confused, maybe hungry...Aha! Cheese? is born. You can work with Cheese?...Cheese? more than anything else is just...cheese? Imagine a face head slightly cocked, mouth hung open...Eyes vacant...Cheese?

Fits, yes?

And last but certainly not least Travis Bickle! Now, if you've seen Taxi Driver this is probably entirely self explanatory...But no worries folks...No vigilante here...Just a bit nerve wracking and more aggravating than all the other three combined!...But of course!

Now even if you haven't seen Taxi Driver...Does this sound familiar?

"You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?...Well I'm the only one here..."

This is the model that is often insecure and is paranoid of what the class thinks of him/her...Or doesn't understand that as the person with the charcoal you're allowed to sketch them. In fact you're supposed to be looking at them.

"You lookin' at me? You lookin' at me?..."

Sometimes they just want to be the one looking. Other times...I don't know.

Often the "Travis Bickle" will start an argument with anyone over anything in the class. A student, a monitor, another model...A chair. Seriously.

A Travis Bickle type will also often comment on your sketch of them...If it isn't how they'd like to see (or present) themselves...They will get annoyed. Very, very annoyed.

Yes this is by far the most hideous of the bunch.

BUT!!!! For every awful model there is there's always an incredibly decent one and even *gasp* the heavens parting "muse" we all want to be or have.

Now don't take this blog all too seriously. It's for good humour. But is all true. People are funny :)

Have a great week to all!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New York and the Cinema

I'm a bit of a cinephile.

I always have been. Great nights as a little girl were spent at the video store first picking out a film (we had a great video store with a lot of bootlegs) and rushing the block home to eat and watch it.

I find it immensely comforting to immerse yourself in a great film and completely depressing to find yourself watching a terrible one. Truly gut wrenching depressing.

But my favorite type of cinema are always the ones that take place in New York. Not Los Angeles studio created New York...Actual visions of New York. It's home. And I think it has great life to it. I will watch a terrible movie for shots of "real" New York (I actually did a few nights ago with Factory Girl...Yeesh. And not entirely worth it.) So five minutes ago...

You have to be in a Godspell mood to watch Godspell. If you're not in a Godspell mood you will not really be able to sit still. You may even be cynical...God forbid. :)

Luckily (and with the help of youtube clips) I was. Sitting in front of the screen and not particularly paying attention my head lifted up. And there were the Twin Towers. Barely finished, young, and being danced on. There was no sense of doom or gloom. Just size. A slightly awkward but beautifully reflected pillar doubled and only slightly different from the other. I don't come from the generation of people disliking the towers' initial presence. I always thought they were very, very beautiful...And big. Very recently that area got another blow. The Deutsche Bank building which should have been taken down long ago resulted in the completely unnecessary deaths of more people...And who knows what other sort of damage. I never am down by the area (which I oddly refuse to call Ground Zero) unattended. And by unattended I mean in a group of three or more in a cab. We drive past and hopefully don't have to look for too long. It's still very big. But barren. I can only see the odds and ends of massive equipment meant for "cleaning up". So that they can build a big giant building and makes lots and lots of money. And that's preserving. To destroy more and build on top of it. We've won. Right?

The worst part is that I can't see sky from a cab. But as it turns a corner I can see tourists. Looking through a camera lens at the World Trade Center. Never without the camera lens. Why does it make it easier? And who the hell would want to show that to their friends?

George Bush says that it would be a very, very bad idea to pull out troops. In fact it would be a much better idea to put more in. A basically abandoned building gets to stay put and infest the community...In the end it results in innocent people's deaths. But people should be thrown into something just to be destroyed? No, of course it isn't just that but where is the balance? What's more important? And can anyone give a straight answer?

Help got severely stilled when it came to the Deutsche Building. Why? Because of the construction at "Ground Zero". Because it's so necessary. I hate it. I loved the area and now I hate it. And I don't hate it because of September 11th. And I don't hate it because it makes me feel vulnerable and sad. That's normal, that's healthy. I hate it because no one will let it be. The "tidying up". And then the building over. I hate it. Every second of it is under my skin. I find it so despicable I can barely find words.

I wish they'd plant a garden and make a park. I wish so hard and so often.

And I wish they'd stop digging. It's invasive.

I never like the photographs that are posted on every toll booth. The ultra American view. The Twin Towers stared up at from very, very low. The illustration shaded crudely. The doom and gloom. It's so awful.

Awhile ago I "inherited" my parents wedding photographs. One had a broken tag. It couldn't be hung. So it sat until a week ago when I picked it up and slid it onto a shelf. And then I noticed it. They fit in so well that I hadn't even thought twice. From the Barge Music barge was the skyline. It was June 15th 1986 and sitting at night only slightly lit up were the Twin Towers perfectly content and alive with the rest of the buildings. No doom or gloom.

I'd rather see that.

...Or people dancing on top of them.

Hope everyone's week goes well everywhere. :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Touch of Beat, Touche! Touche!

Returning from the murky depths of caffeine and art supplies...and the realization of the loss of a really great coffee shop a few blocks away (No paying of the rent!), I felt Tick Tock could use a nice summer makeover. Music and art and everything in between. We'll see how it goes.