Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I started my career in California in 1975. I'd been to art school (and had dropped out) and even taught a printmaking workshop in Woodstock, but didn't start doing mature work until moving west. My 1st wife and I got a little apt. in Haight-Ashbury and I found a studio in Sausalito. My knowledge of Cali art was nil. I didn't realize how late I was to the party. The Haight was beaten down and sad, lost between the flower children and the punks yet to come. Even in those days I was a working man. I had a pickup. When I wasn't putting up redwood decks for gays and little old ladies, I was in my studio trying desperately to figure out what exactly it meant to be a young artist in the 70's.
   My appetite for recent art history was insatiable. I read everything I could get my hands on in order to get up to speed. I had no degree and felt confident I could do it on my own. The prob. was that the scene I had dropped into was very similar to the scene I had escaped from in Woodstock. Many in the Gate 5 ICB community were of the "art colony" variety of artist. They were involved in batik, bad painting and plant hangers. I liked many of them, but they weren't breaking any rules. I was stymied. Then my studio mate, a rich Marin Co. housewife, suggested I have a show in the Mill Valley Library. Sounded good to me.
  To this day when i mention a library show, my mom brings up the Mill Valley Library. I chose to show a series of photographic self portraits called "Priapism". Look it up. The photos showed me naked, yanking on my limp dick in various directions- one to form a triangle, another a circle, which I traced over the photos. In retrospect it was incredibly lame. But I didn't think so at the time. I was a serious young man. I put up the work fully expecting good reviews and accolades. By the time the library closed on the first day the photos had come down. I can still smell the eucalyptus trees. I'd been censored right out of the box. I was on my way.

Fast forward 37 years. I'm about to show my work alongside 19th century portrait and landscape painter Ethelbert B. Crawford in the Library of the same name, in Monticello, NY.  Less of a career arch, than a straight line, it's not like I had an International art career only to end up sadly showing in some small town book depository. Unlike an episode of BEHIND THE MUSIC, my story has way fewer peaks and valleys. My career has gone from library to library, bypassing the big stage. Hell, a crack addiction would barely ruffle this trajectory. And already I'm having difficulty with the powers that be at The EBC Library. I promise no dicks......or for that matter anything that could possibly be considered controversial. Still, the library ladies look at me suspiciously. I hear them whisper "What's this guy up to?" Did someone  from Mill Valley drop a dime on me? The show is sched. to open May 26, 2012 11:00. Better see it fast. Who knows how long it will be up. I still have a hard on for libraries.  


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