I had two artistic New Year’s resolutions. The first was to create a lot more art…and that I have done! The second was to get better at showing and marketing—to master the shiny outward trappings of being an artist…and there I have not done quite so well. So today’s post is a…well, it’s a lifestyle post (sigh). Let me explain: sometimes it seems like contemporary art is more about puffy biography than about the actual art itself. It causes me to grind my teeth in frustration when I see whole articles about where artists live and the cool things they do with their spare time—which then wholly gloss over the content of their work.
Then it sort of occurred to me that…title insurance and medieval history aside, I actually live in the bustling heart of Brooklyn and I have a wide group of amazing and particular creative friends. Maybe I AM one of these Brooklyn bohemians who everyone is always celebrating and deploring. So I decided to show you the sketches from my little book from over the long weekend!
On Sunday night, my friends who are amazing lingerie designers from Puerto Rico (in addition to being gifted expressionists) invited me to their party in Bed Stuy. It was a delightful fete with Slovenian computer geniuses, all sorts of sundry models, tart-tongued Irish folk, and Japanese film producers! Additionally, it was on a high terrace overlooking the street, so I got to watch Afro-Caribbean bikers doing wheelies down the street and see people getting ready for the West Indies Day parade. Above is the color pencil sketch of Marcus Garvey Avenue—you can see a Caribbean flag vendor there in the corner (the actual vendor was sort of balled up like a spider—but his colorful flags were very noticeable).
Unfortunately I am not as breathlessly cool and bonelessly insouciant as the artists in the “New York Times” and “Art in America”…so when I finished sketching and went to have a well-deserved black olive, I knocked the entire bowl of olives off the table and down a fellow guest’s back. Vasari never talks about these awkward moments…Fortunately the victim of my fumbling was a convivial person who asked if I could sketch her grinning rapidly moving friend. Such a circumstance is never ideal, but I think I did fairly well (although I failed to notice the teddy bear with a horrifying skull-face on her blouse until after I had drawn her.
On Labor Day I rode my bike over to Coney Island and sketched some fellow beach goers before taking a dip in the green brine. I didn’t want to make people feel (more) self-conscious at the beach (nor did I want to get beaten up by Russian girls for staring at them) so my beach-goers are sketchy composites. I did get the color of the water and the annoying banality of the sky banner down (not to mention a pretty accurate drawing of, um, the Staten Island coast).
The frustrating thing is that Ferrebeekeeper’s readership is much more sophisticated than the characters who pretend to read the New York Times, so my readers will undoubtedly recognize this article as a bunch of fluff to introduce my weekend drawings. However this awkward little essay does begin to hint at how much I love New York. The popular image of Brooklyn as a trust-fund paradise, fails to do justice to the real Brooklyn I know–of striving entrepreneurs, crazy visionaries, immigrants, writers, and, yes, artists.
Oh! As always I would love to have your feedback!