Wednesday, October 24, 2007


In a search for some particular letters, I found a few from a male artist, a painter, I knew in SF in the 80s.

His work was almost like cartoons... black lines, bright, flat colors, figurative, strange poses... but he probably had more in common with Max Beckmann (certainly not a bad thing).

Anyway, in one of the letters, he says "It's interesting that we are more in communication now that you are in New York than when you lived here. I wonder why that is..?"

I wonder if I ever told him why. Doubtful.

When we first met, he wanted to draw me. From the start, he wanted me naked, but I did not do that. But I liked being over at his house because he was a real character and a painter and because he had a great art book library. We had some marvelous conversations about art.

He had mentioned that he was house-sitting a gorgeous flat off Grant Avenue - North Beach. North Beach was always my favorite area and I visited several times a week the entire time I lived in that town. So of course I visited him.

He'd been drinking (nothing strange about that per se) and eventually lunged at me, with big, open mouth - really aggressively. I hate those kind of kisses anyway, which assume you are something to be sucked up and violently swallowed, but I really hate them as any kind of initial introduction. And I had never shown any of that kind of interest to this crusty old pirate of an artist.

Then he calls the next day and says: "Uh, what happened last night?" He doesn't remember. I would call that very convenient - mouth wide open with the eyes wide shut!

He then goes on to say I am making a big deal over nothing, to which I said: "Maybe I can talk to your wife about that. I wonder what kind of deal she thinks it is?" That shut him up.

So, yeah, maybe the distance of 3000 miles would let us really talk about art and art making, instead of being pounced on. I could never be alone with him after that, whether he didn't "remember" it or not.

I googled him - to no avail. It's amazing how many people, really creative people, disappearred.


julie said...

I wonder about this, people disappearing thing a lot for some reason...
As you surf the web and read about an infinite number of other great artists and see how many of them there are, it is difficult NOT to feel sort of useless--maybe I feel more like just another cow in the herd. Will anyone remember me? Will I disappear? I like the question posed in this post.

Anonymous said...

By virtue of writing (blog or otherwise), I think you help insure that it's not forgotten. Part of it is the documentation. I used to think that the art itself, the art object and the act of making it, was all I needed.
Not so.

Then of course there is the time factor, and all the stamina you need to keep it all going.
The more I try to find people who were once so vital and so creative, the more I am convinced that it's not so much about talent, but about alot of persistence and hard work, no matter how little encouragement...

This is a subject for another post!


m. said...

a similar lunge resulted in the end of a job i'd secured on the east coast, a premature return to the west coast due to a complete lack of resources (the job came with a living suite, so when the job went i was basically out on the street), and a deep depression...

not to mention the wife (who was a close friend at that point) wound up angry with ME and has never spoken to me since...

a pox on the lunge and on those who make it...!!


in the grand scheme of things, i am a west coast girl at heart, so i suppose it's not so bad that i was never on the east coast long enough to be swallowed whole by it...

Steven LaRose said...

I hope to be remembered as a "crusty old pirate of an artist", no shame there.

As far the lunge goes, I just want to make it clear that this sort of behavior can cross the gender line the other direction (although, I suspect far less often and certainly less threatening and gross). I'm just saying, sometimes women can be fairly wacky with their impulses too. . . and we can never blame the drink.

Also, I don't understand the "Will anyone remember me? Will I disappear" sensibility. Of course you will disappear. And NO ONE will remember you for who you are. Oh, there might be a song written about you, or someone might dream about you, or the family will tell tall tales about you, but it is never you. If we are going to move forward as a people, we have to embrace the impermanence of it all.

One of the best painters that I've known, started "extreme" climbing in their late 40's. The brushes are gathering dust, but they are still the passionate person I remember.

Cows have such a bad rap. Empower the herd, I say!

(oh, and I reserve all right to change my mind about anything I've just typed).

Thanks Eva.

Anonymous said...

m.'s story is very familiar.
I had a great friend in NYC; she was a mentor in many ways. When I met some mutual friends, they asked me: "Has her husband hit on you yet?" Eventually it did happen and then I never heard from her, which really saddened me. I tried more than once to reconnect.

Did he tell her he "had" me I wonder? I wonder because I've went out with at least 3 fellows who told their friends or work associates that they did me, when they did not. Or that they broke up with me, when the opposite was true.

And yeah, Steven, I am willing to believe that women do it too. But when a man does it to a woman in a private setting, it can be very scary. He's often much stronger, you know.


Steven LaRose said...

Eva, I've been trying to turn your last statement around into something insightful or funny, but, of course, no way. Instead of smiling about the awkward and mildly threatening lunges of my past (from both women and men) I found myself obsessing on evil. I've heard stories from every woman I've been intimate with that make the statistics seem optimistic.

I pray we do the right things for my daughter. Can there be awareness without fear?

m. said...

awareness without fear...that's a tough one, man...metaphysical, maybe...i'm still working out the kinks in that arena myself...maybe eva has something more glib for you...

Anonymous said...

In a short word, no.


prettylady said...

Yes, there may be awareness without fear, but it is a long, long, long time coming. You have to both understand and enforce the boundaries of the small self, and understand that these boundaries are not your true self, which is tricky, and only happens by grace.

Anonymous said...

I found the diary in which all of this happened and I now see what really hurt me the most.

Like I said, he was a crusty old pirate of an artist, who held his ground, been many things, seen a lot.

He had actually told me that indeed I was not his "friend" yet, that real friends took time.

I accepted that.

Then when this thing came down, I said to him: "I can't be your friend, I am not ready for that title... so what am I in the meantime...??"

And that is actually what shut him up and made him think.