I completed college in 1987, the end of a five year tour at SUNY Purchase. From then until 1995 I never held a steady job steadily. I worked as a receptionist, foot messenger, or guy Friday for The Sukon Group advertising company, Jacoby & Meyers law firm, Pensions Plus (a division of New York Life Insurance), David Feldman & Associates court reporters, Hemisphere clothing designers and several temp agencies, not spending too much time at any of them but making prodigious use of their copy machines. I also worked very part-time for Wetlands Preserve in NYC, had a wild foray into black market entrepreneurship somewhere in the middle of it all, and finally worked at Siam Kennels in Windham, NY before returning to NYC and turning to the full-time job routine with the paycheck and benefits. As I wasn’t a committed cog in the traditional workforce yet I wish I could say all my spare time was wholly devoted to my craft in those years, that I made an honest go of it as an artist; but I can’t. I did work as an artist and I wasn’t all nonsense in my spare time, but I wince when I reflect on the many missed opportunities looking back at my youth from where I am now, as well as the many downright stupid choices I survived. While I suspect many feel similarly about their own youth from their current perspectives, it’s of little consolation to any of us to acknowledge how universal our failings are.
So, in that spirit, herein are some small successes from 1988-1995. There are other more prolific drawings which derive from this period, such as Dr. Funk, the Wetland cards, and The Hatters, or the sculptures from Gravenmor Grotesquerie; but these orphan sketches are their own more representative collection together, bonded in outlining when I might sketch anything for anybody, so long as it fetched a few bucks. I wish I were prouder of the work as art, or at least as good renderings, but too many reflect my lack of investment in them; a disinterest in the subject matter and a recognition that I can’t afford to eat with what I’m being paid to draw. From the corner of perspective from which I know sit I realize how full of shit I was, how privileged to have had the chance; I want to present it all to you – the bad with the good, so that the baby doesn’t get thrown out with the bathwater. If nothing else, I think all of it is fun, and much of it had great potential.
With the exception of the past few years, since 1995 the volume of sketches I produced in a year had nose-dived. I’ve been employed, an indoctrinated member of the full-time work force since then, so the correlation is obvious; but not altogether necessary. If I simply lament the missed opportunities of the past I deny myself the opportunities of the present. Over the past few years I have become a more active artist again, trying to set aside daily time for some form of creative endeavor. It’s a soul-saver. Art is a part of our fabric. Carpe Diem has only tomorrow as an expiration date: it is always today, and we must always strive to seize the day until that tomorrow comes. I am happy to share these old drawings, sketches and doodles, but I am happier still and gratified that you would view them, and happiest of all in producing new work. At least my self-promotion has improved.
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