Neil Young painting

I did this large oil painting as a wedding gift for our friends, huge Neil fans. I like painting rock stars … Keith, Joey, Prince … I’m always available for commissions!

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Rock star paintings

I have two paintings hanging up at The Moonlight Mile whisky bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

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Kieth Richards

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Joey Ramone

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More people on the train

Some new work I’ve started.

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Fantasy Pick #18: Diebenkorn

I’m playing “Fantasy Art Collection,” inspired by games like Fantasy Baseball. Go to the main page to get the idea.

Fantasy Art Collection pick #17: 2 Diebenkorns

A few weeks ago I raced to the Met to catch the last weekend of Matisse: In Search of True Painting. I was thinking about buying one, but a weird thing happened, and all the show did was remind me how much I really love Diebenkorn. So I bought these two: Ocean Horizon and Ocean Park No. 67. It’s the combination of Matisse and Diebenkorn that’s helped me learn to see, and how to paint.

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I started taking drawing classes in high school, and have a terrible memory of sitting on the local defunct train tracks with a sketchpad, trying to figure out perspective. The experience was terrible because sitting on train tracks of any kind is nauseating, but also because looking at the huge world in front of me, and trying to put it down on a piece of paper was equally nauseating. It simply didn’t fit on the page (I had the same problem with obese models in figure drawing).

It was around this time that I discovered Matisse, and remember seeing the two paintings below—finally able to see 3D as 2D. Something switched in my head, and I suddenly saw the paper as a flat surface, and the picture on it as an arrangement of shapes. Everything collapsed and the receding train tracks became a triangle, the horizon a rectangle, I saw lines instead of streets, shapes instead of cars and was finally able to draw the world in front of me. AND for this I thank you, Matisse!

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So … back to the weird thing that happened when I went to see the Matisse show … I was walking through room after room of his paintings and couldn’t for the life of me remember why he struck such a chord with me in my youth (the previous thoughts came later). Aside from these two, I was looking at paintings of fruit, landscapes, women, and felt nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Diebenkorn is obviously influenced by Matisse, but his work makes more sense to me. I can relate to it better because it feels contemporary. I don’t know why exactly. I don’t live in California and spend little time at the beach, but it’s not really the subject matter that I’m drawn to. His paintings look like things I see, and they have more to do with perception. Their non-specificity allows me to see my own world in them, and the layers of color and energy of his marks equally amaze me. Perfection!

I think it’s natural to grow out of artists. I guess it’s a positive thing that signifies creative growth and life moving ahead, but there’s a part of me that wishes I could still hang on to all the old inspiration with the same intensity. From time to time I still think of Matisse when I’m sitting here writing at my desk, looking out the window.

I was going through my books of his work tonight and pulled out Dance Me to the End of Love. I bought it 19 years ago, and started remembering why I loved him so much. I didn’t know who Leonard Cohen was at the time, but the book actually has more meaning to me now than it did all those years that it sat on my shelf.

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Matisse & Leonard Cohen

The very best of Matisse & Leonard Cohen … Dance Me to the End of Love.

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Fantasy Pick #17: Michelangelo

I’m playing “Fantasy Art Collection,” inspired by games like Fantasy Baseball. Go to the main page to get the idea.

Fantasy Art Collection pick #17: A gigantic Michelangelo

On Saturday I was telling my friend that I needed to make a quick March purchase for my Fantasy Art Collection so I didn’t fail my new years resolution to make one fake purchase of real art every month for a year.

Since Easter was happening in a few hours, we were thinking I should buy something religious to keep in the spirit of things. I thought about it, but I already bought Carravaggio and couldn’t think of any other religious art that I really wanted. David is amazing and so is The Pietà, but not so much that I want them looming over me in the tight space I call home. That seems weird. I’d rather go to Italy anyway.

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So we decided I should buy the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. That works. I love it so much I’ve gone out of my way to see it twice. I could just slice off the top, bring it back to nyc, hang it from a crane so it didn’t take up too much space, and wait for the day that I have a big barn art studio in need of a roof. It would also give the new pope an opportunity to flex his Argentinian muscles and make his mark replacing it. AND my collection would rule in the meantime. win win.

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Truth be told, I intended for this story to be the time-sensitive intro to a different art purchase. But as I got to looking at Michelangelo’s work tonight, it choked me up—I just love it. I grew up catholic and have known of it for as long as I can remember. But now I see his work differently, with much more meaning than it ever had for me before. It’s simple. It’s about connection—the reason why we’re here. I know I can’t have it, but hanging above my fantasy art collection it looks incredible.

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Mummy Trade

{ I trade art with my nieces and nephew. Here’s the story of how it all came to be. }

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Signe and I Trade Mummys
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Best show in Chelsea: Hope Gangloff

I finally saw Hope Gangloffs paintings in person this weekend and they’re incredible. Please please go see them. I bought her work as pick #13 in my fantasy art collection without ever having seen the work in person, and I’m happy to know that I didn’t steer myself wrong. Contradictory to my blog theme, it’s refreshing to see work that isn’t so much about mediums, but just about excellent painting—good old excellent amazing painting.

I was jealous when I snapped this pic because balding heads and leather jackets in Chelsea on a leisurely Saturday afternoon signify real-life, art-buying wealth to me. And they were taken into a private room soon after. ARG! I really hope they bought something, but someday I will too, and I guarantee I’ll love it more.

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Fantasy Pick #16: Giacometti

I’m playing “Fantasy Art Collection,” inspired by games like Fantasy Baseball. Go to the main page to get the idea.

Fantasy Art Collection pick #16: 3 Giacomettis

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This is a picture of me sitting here deliberating over which Giacomettis I’m going to purchase. I’ve been sitting like this all day because I’m stuck. I love so many.

I actually drew this self portrait 15 years ago and the story behind it is tied to Giacometti. I transferred colleges right before my senior year, (which led to a lengthy undergrad career) but in my first drawing class the assignment was a self portrait. After many failed attempts sitting in front of a mirror with chalk and paint, my sister Carolyn came to sit and chat with me. I got distracted talking about stuff while still drawing, and did this once I wasn’t thinking about it at all. Damn you, creativity! Have you no rules to follow?

So I brought this drawing into the crit and my professor said, “well…you must love Giacometti.” I reluctantly said “who?” and went straight to the library to look him up afterwards. Turns out we have similar marks and I dream to be as awesome as he is some day.

What I love about Giacometti is how you can see the energy and uncertainty of the creative process in all of his marks—painting, drawing, sculpture. They vibrate. There’s something about them that seems unfinished, but they also seem to have nowhere else to go. They’re finished, but only because they’ve posed enough questions to warrant the next piece. Giacometti said “Every time I look at the glass it seems to remake itself,” and that’s the way I feel about so many things.

When I was younger I identified with his existential leanings. Now I’m happier and far less dramatic, but still find his work inspiring and so beautiful. I want to look at it forever, whenever, so I’m purchasing one sculpture and two paintings. It’s bittersweet—I’d rather purchase 2 sculptures, 4 paintings and 1 drawing, but my apartment is really small, so these are the 3 winners ….

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BUT … if i had a big huge house and was a zillionaire, I’d also buy these and a 20 ft skinny man sculpture to put in the corner … come on, the fake me is rich, but not that rich.

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