Sunday, July 18, 2010
56. Return to New York
After IMC wrapped up, I went back to New York. The city is just such a fascinating mass of interaction, a hybrid culture of elation and despair, it is worth lifetimes of study and devotion as an artist. Despite the madness and extremism of Manhattan, for the painter it has a magnetic allure that has been echoed through generations of my favourite illustrators and artists.
Coming back in from Amherst to Times Square, I sketched for a while in the alien illumination, fending off billboard death rays while I struggled to reconcile the week of inspiration just passed. I knew there would be a come down from the intensity of the studio environment, but New York has a way of keeping your pace up. Holding on to new insights while clicking back into the craziness was a learning experience in itself.
The society of illustrators is such a great place for any artist to visit. It was a nice way to continue the feeling of kinship I was starting to miss. We met Greg in the afternoon for a stickybeak at his studio - which was inspiringly practical and full (full) of his paintings - amazingly prolific. I can't speak highly enough of Greg's insight into painting as a career, his broader intellectual bent, and his generosity as a teacher. I feel very honoured to have made that connection. We headed to the society for figure drawing, and to jaw slap the floor one last time looking at the Teppers, Schaeffers, and Rockwells. Dinner afterwards constituted our final farewell to our new Empire State friends.
The following day we took a relaxed train to Brooklyn to look around the area near Dumbo. I was happy to stumble onto a crumbling old wheat paste that a close friend of mine did a couple of years back - staring out like an old friend from the red bricks of a big studio building. Brooklyn, from the little we saw of it, seems like it would be an exciting place to live and work. Great ambience and lots of art around.
We couldn't help one more trip to the MET - in particular i wanted to stare at the Repin again for a while. The sheer volume of galleries and museums in new york is enough to constitute a university degree in itself. Another trip to Arcadia to take a second look at the Lipking show yielded a surprise as the collection was being changed over to the next show and was full of pieces by other contemporary figurative favourites like Michael Klein, Malcolm Liepke, and Daniel Adel.
A huge thank you to all my friends in New York and in particular Chris Pugliese and Maria Kreyn for graciously hosting me at such an amazing pad, and for sharing your insight and enthusiasm for great craftsmanship.