Working with the community college was a special event for me since I myself got
into art when I was in a community college in a small town, Wheeling, West
Virginia. Three years after my father, who worked in the steel industry in Japan,
took his family to the small town in the US, I met a community college teacher,
Karl Jacobson. As a foreign student struggling to get by the school assignments
by basically looking up all the words, Mr. Jacobson’s skill in speaking through
his drawings was just beyond magical. Until then, I had no idea that some
shapes and lines on a piece of paper could move people like music or books could.
I was like a grown man with measles: shaken up and helplessly driven away to
pursue what I saw. So having an exhibition and a talk at BCC was my way of
giving back to where I got it.
On October 2nd, my wife and I drove up to Berkshires to meet the typical
community college crowd at one of their art class rooms. They were just as they
were at my community college 20 years ago in another state 500 miles away;
they were from all kinds of backgrounds, young and old. I knew that some of them
were there against their own will (sort of), just to get the school credit. So I
wanted to make it as painless and hopefully as fun and interesting as possible.
Two most asked questions in the past talks had been “what are they made of?” and
“how did you do that?”. So I simply decided to tell them how I made the pieces:
hands on, practical sorts of information. I got 64 images of sculptures in progress
that included the very first idea sketches and finished pieces with some detail shots;
and I tried to follow the steps as I encouraged them to ask questions.
The talk went really smooth. People asked questions that totally complemented the
content of the talk. And nothing beats seeing people coming up to me totally excited
about the work as I am: letting me know that I did share something good with them.
I am pretty sure Mr. Jacobson would have approved of the talk.
Here is a picture of Karl Jacobson with one of his amazing paintings, “Musicians”.
I still feel weird to think that he is not with us anymore. He passed away early this
year. It was so sudden and totally unexpected to all.
He painted amazing pictures that changed my life completely.
Ten years after moving to East Hampton, I am about to have my first solo
show in the area. My connection to East Hampton is merely coincidental.
I invited myself over to live with my then girl friend (now my wife), a writer,
Evan Harris, in 1999. We met at one of the artist residencies (McDowell
Colony) in 1998. After the residency was over, Evan decided to move
back to her home town, which was East Hampton, from New York City.
I moved from Union City, New Jersey where I lived in one of the sweat
shop buildings illegally (oh, the good old days…).
Ten years can be a while. We now live in a semi-country setting with
two dogs and a vegetable garden. We have produced two small children
(five and three year old boys). And we have made many friends in the
area. This is our home that I feel to belong. So having a show here is a
very special event.
The show will be at Salomon Contemporary Warehouse. The opening
is on Sunday 11 October 2009, 4 to 7 PM. The show will be up though
Sunday 15 November. The gallery is open Saturday and Sunday noon to 4 and
The exhibition at Berkshire Community College is up. I selected five pieces for
the Koussevitzky Art Gallery which is a narrow, sort of a cave like space
located next to the theater in the arts building. The plan below shows the
unusual space (sorry for the small fonts. The whole space is about 10 x 33 feet
Before I actually getting to the gallery, I tried laying out the pieces in my head
aided by the pictures and the plan supplied by the gallery. When I got there, I
was quite confident in hanging and I actually put the pieces right up where I
planed in my head. After the long day of driving and hanging the show, the
gallery director, Benigna Chilla, generously treated me with her cooking (sauted
shrimps and clams in creamy sauce with little accents with lemon and rosemary
served over rice. Yes, it was good.). I got to hear her talk about organizing
a show of Cuban artists among other intriguing stories. It was very cool evening.
Next day I went back to document the show and it was all too clear that the
installation was not working too well. I spent extra a few hours making sure that
the flow among the pieces are well coordinated. I wanted to have a solid feeling
of the show defined by the characters of the pieces speaking in harmony. After
spending all morning struggling, I finally got it right. It was one of the toughest
show to hang, but at the end, it turned out as one of my favorites.
Here are some of the images in smaller versions. The complete photo set with larger
photos will be added at the “PHOTOS” section of the main part of the site later.
I hope you enjoy.
Images from Hudson D. Walker Gallery, Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown,
MA exhibition from this May/June have been added to the PHOTOS section.
To see them, go to main part of my site, click PHOTOS at the top bar and look
for “FAWC May 29-June 16, 2009”. Here are some of them in smaller sizes.
My show in Pittsfield, MA opens next week. According to a friend sculptor
Paul Bowen who’s had a couple of shows there, the space is “small but quite
elegant”. I’m looking forward to installing the show Monday. There will be
five pieces in the show and I will do a slide talk on the last day of the show.
Here are images on the show announcement.