Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday with a Thank You

Eons ago I was an art student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY who had the idea of putting up a notice on the board at Pearl Paint down on Canal Street in Manhattan. I figured what better way to learn about being an artist than working for one. So I put it out there in the preeminent place to buy art supplies at the time. 
Shortly after, I received a call from sculptor Ed McGowin who said he was looking for an assistant.
Often I was alone in his studio in Soho working on whatever task he had set out for me,  while other times I was able to learn the lessons that I was not being taught in school that go with being a professional, dealing with dealers, networking and balancing work with teaching.  I watched Ed and his wife, Claudia DeMonte live life large as artists.  Much of Ed's work at the time was creating a physical place or space for a narrative to unfold, either under his given name or any of the 11 other names he legally had created art under. For more on that check out his Name Change Series. Ed continues to work with a variety of materials and media, aesthetically and conceptually. Recently, I came across these 8" x 10" photos he sent me years ago, and I realized how fortunate and grateful I am to have had this experience. Our time together, while relatively short compared to my undergrad and graduate school years has left an enduring impression on who I am as an artist.
Love Story, Inscape  1981
11'h x 10'w x 8'd
with interior tableau, mixed media
I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Ed and Claudia, albeit briefly at the opening Reception in April 2014 of Claudia's exhibition La Forza del Destino at the June Kelly Gallery, NYC. The gallery was filled with well wishers, artists, collectors, critics and former students like myself who have been fortunate to have been mentored by these two generous creative people.
With Claudia Demonte at Opening Reception of
La Forza del Destino, April 2014
June Kelly Gallery, NYC
Ed and Claudia are artists, activists, world travelers and collectors of Outsider Art. Claudia's project Women of the World "posed the question- What image represents "woman"- and invited women in 174 countries to create a work of art that expressed her view of the essential quality of woman." The work was exhibited and then documented in her book titled Women of the World, a Global Collection.

This post is not so much a "throwback" but an opportunity to reflect on the power we all have to teach, to touch and to thank the people who inspire us to be who we are.

Thank you Ed and Claudia!

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Philosopher, Poet, Author, Essayist

1 comment:

liza myers said...

What a great story, Nanci! Thanks for sharing.