Let me start by saying I have never been to New York till this trip. God knows I have tried several times to go, but was thwarted by obstacles and set backs. I was just not meant to go just yet.
I had met two travelers from Australia and Scotland who invited me to come with them. I decided that now was the time to take up such an offer for a shared adventure. Without thinking too hard about it. My daughter is grown and my time is a little more free for farther adventures. I put all things aside to take this trip. For my mental and spiritual health…. I needed an adventure. The politics of Illinois had taken bites out of my soul. They know how to kill artists in Illinois. No doubt.
So the adventure started with Moi, a Scottish blues singer named Jamima, a lovely Australian bass player named Charlotte, and Ping, (my Shi Tzu).
Off we were….
Now upon arriving in DC on our way to New York, I managed to take these two ladies around a little. Their close friend hosted us and took us to the Capitol area. A beautiful building under some standard renovation. The scaffolding on the white dome was interesting to look at and gave a industrial feel to the classic structure. The Washington monument is no slouch either. The rest of the city aside….I had to go to the Lincoln Memorial just to say hello to my old friend Abe.
I had to bring my Little Lincoln Number 104 to the Monument!
DC is a lovely town and I will always return to see the people and energy. The sense of motion fills the streets in DC. Painting there is always a treat. The feel of that city is like entering into a shared history. I collective force for purpose. Either good or bad…they are both in DC…but still….change is in the cherry blossoms.
The last I was in DC is 2007 for an environmental rally Called PowerShift. A life changing experience for sure. I have a film I made of that adventure and will share it again one day. It was moving the younger generation towards actual lobbying as opposed to protest in the quest for more responsible attitudes towards our planet. A very smart idea and I hope it sticks. I feel it has.
I will return to Washington soon enough.
Now to New York City….
The Big Apple
The MAIN reason I came to New York was to deliver a painting to The Capital Theater. I am taking my Jerry Garcia painting to the theater to have them hang it up. See the previous post to read that story. The second reason was to just see the city. To paint it’s energy. To hear the languages, and to be in it. Basking in New York as an artist.
I went around the Jazz clubs drawing caricatures. Meeting the locals and generally having a fantastic time. My travel companions had two friends meeting them in NYC and staying in a dope apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Which happens to be the mural capitol of the region. Perfect for me to land here with my lift truck/spaceship. Learning this, I went around snapping pictures of the Bushwick Collective Mural Project. The city had arranged to have the best Graffiti artists and Muralists from around the world come and paint…and paint they did. On every wall…on every sign…on every corner. Covered in fantastic art,
I found my new place. A new inspired experience. A new place where I know nobody and only a couple of people know me.
Being I have a lift truck, I was approached by a savvy young man who used to paint Graff himself. He wanted some sign work done and knew how to get me in to the the circles with The Bushwick Collective. Being a muralist helps…and owning my own lift truck helps more. Nooklyn is the name of this young philanthropist’s company and they find apartments for people with a computer app he envisioned.
Helping paint a new sign in Brooklyn
“I want to eliminate brokers”, he said… With the idea he has? He most certainly will. Look them up at Nooklyn.com and support a new young start-up. You might find a place in New York.
I then went into Manhattan. To paint at Washington Square park and find my old friend Joe Mangrum the sand artist. He is usually in the park making wonderful art out of sand by hand….and then it washes away. I was told by the locals in Greenwich Village that he is a local hero and legend! Cool. Eventually I saw him painting in the Square. I was delighted and moved by his tenacity. That inspires me most… audacious people who keep going.
I went to painting the Arch in Washington Square. I was told it was a replica of the original in Paris, France. And on this night they were having a vigil for the victims of the terrorist attack on France. I ponder and send positive for the families from all sides of these ludicrous actions. It will get better one day. I truly believe that. I knew I was standing on some sacred ground that day. So I made sure the painting was on point.
Painting in Washington Square Park
Using my spinning easel, I was painting in my favorite style of painting currently, (little squares). I like the way they build a work. One piece at a time. Talking to people as I paint, I ended up really enjoying my night. Feeling the energy around. New York is a living city. A moving energy. A city of the world. So I wanted to capture that electricity.
I was approached by several people about purchasing the painting and made some friends for sure. I was debating on who to sell it to and just about when I was going to call one potential client back the next day about delivery? I got a call from the Mayor of NYC’s office. They wanted the painting to give to the French people in respect of their support and sympathy after the recent terror attacks. New York can relate to this. Same as so many other nations.
I was blown away. Not even 6 days into my first time in New York and my little painting is being given to a Nation from New York itself. I came to NYC to make some things happen. I guess I did. I would have been happy with selling the work for New York prices! BUT this? This is an honor. This is a once in a lifetime experience.
I delivered the painting to their offices and found myself in the middle of a photo shoot with me, my pup, and the painting. My first one too. Very interesting experience a photo shoot. The photographer was great and Ping was not marking every chair in the city office. I asked if I should clean up some of my road scruff, because I have traveled far and living in the van with my Shi Tzu in Brooklyn is a bit rough. But they got the full artists character. They insisted I did no such thing. Called me “perfect”. HA! I am dying to see the photos.
I am still here and hope to see a little more of New York. I for sure have got a Cinderella story to share with my grand kids and not to mention? My painting is going to France.
I am honored.
I also had the chance to paint at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Manhattan. Of course I painted the cover of the John Coltrane album recorded at the same place in the late 60′s. It was one of those paintings I knew I had to paint. I hit the ground running in New York, and I owe it to two traveling girls who had wanderlust in their eyes.