Meet our 2015 Fellows!
Please tell us of an artist, curator, activist, or project that has influenced you or inspired you?
Anytime I see a piece by Romare Beardon, I always get a feeling of hope, and smile. I did not grow up learning much about art, nor was I encouraged to pursue any artistic interests in school nor by my family. And then sometime in college I was exposed to Bearden and felt some sort of connection and sense that this is something I wanted to do. Like myself, Bearden also wanted to engage directly with people and not depict them from afar. He worked in social services in New York City for over thirty years, and it is evident in his work that the humanity he experienced every day came directly into his work. Every time I look at one of his pieces I see something new and different, and always a sense of hope.
Please tell us about a place in your neighborhood that is personally meaningful to you, and why?
I live near Riverbank State Park on the Hudson, and there is a stretch of land north of the park that continues north just to the south of the Little Red Lighthouse. I am sure it has some technical name, but nobody in the neighborhood knows what it is and we all call it “down by the river.” On any given weekend it is filled with birthday parties, soccer games, people fishing and even some swimmers. It is its own space, with no name and no rules. I found this space down by the river on a particularly difficult day, and I remember that someone had built sculptures all along the river with tree branches and found objects. I have no idea if it was part of some elaborate project, but I doubt it. It was simply a beautiful concoction of the materials found down by the river.
What is your favorite book, film or song about NYC?
I can’t believe after all these years, I am still going to say The Catcher in the Rye. I first read it at the very impressionable age of 13, and Holden’s weekend in NYC brought to life for me a way of thinking I had thought was unique only to me. The NYC background described by Salinger has continued with me, and in many ways I feel on a daily basis as though I am working around NYC as Holden Caulfield did seeing the beauty and craziness all around us.
If you have an idea of a blog post or topic you’d like to contribute to our blog, please share below!
I am interested in blogging about my experiences working in social services and trying to combine this with engaging in socially engaged art.