The Eyes

The Eyes

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Love Affair in Art

Frank O'Hara | 11 in. x 14 in.
Pastel and Pencil on Paper | James K. Brock
I'm in love with art. I find it everywhere. It hangs on every wall at home. I wake up next to an artist every morning and go to bed with one every night. I get dressed in front of art each day. Walking to the subway, I pass street art painted on cement walls. I live and work in a great city where I see monumental and world-famous art at free museums. I read biographies about artists and art movements, and devour art magazines and blogs dedicated to art. Art covers the walls of my office and flies around on my computer's screensaver.

Being in the presence of and learning from Knox Martin has been an incredible experience. Knox is a wonderful, kind man who completely fascinates me. His art is alive, positive, and dancing with energy, just like the man. Much more than just visual with Knox, he has recited poetry, talked art history, and once even cooked dinner in his studio for me and his coterie of that moment of other artists, musicians, and writers. Meeting Grace Hartigan and to have her know of my interest in her life and work will always be a part of my rich, life experience.

And, being included in the artistic process every day with my partner, the artist James Brock, brings incredible joy. The art and his studio are the central universe of our home. His art is lively, colorful, and splendid, evoking only positive feelings and images of life around us. Our journey has been painful at times, but worth every patient step when I sit and contemplate a newly executed work of art.

I listen to music while I commute and workout daily. Madonna, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West turn those daily routines into a dance. I love music from every genre and decade of my life and credit my father's love of music for it always being a part of me. I played trombone and piano in my youth and dabble at keyboards today.

I hear poetry in the work of openly gay rapper, LastO. An artist outside the mainstream, he brings a fresh voice to a genre dominated by sickening homophobia. LastoO's words and music forge new ground documenting a raw, urban, gay experience. My fascination with the life of Frank O'Hara, born out of love for Hartigan, now stands on its own as a testament to him as poet, curator, muse, friend, and lover to the art world of the 1950s and 1960s. The dialogue and characters created by playwrights Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams torture me in my own quest and I wouldn't have it any other way.

The best part is being with the person I love most, with all my heart, the one who is at my side loving all of it along with me, James. We share with each other what we learn about art every day. Through Twitter, Facebook, and email, we constantly document our pursuit of art. Always at the forefront, I can't ever imagine my life without him, or the beauty of art.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Sitting and the Portrait

More than a year ago, master artist Knox Martin told my partner James and I that he wanted to draw our portrait. When he said it, we were thrilled by the gesture. I consider the act of being the object of an artist’s creation to be romantic and burdensome. Romantically, you’re singularly with the artist and his medium, and burdensome knowing that you will be immortalized without control of the outcome.

During a past visit to Knox’s studio, he had both of us sit for him while drawing—first James, then me. I sat in a director’s-type chair about three feet from Knox. He instructed me to look directly at his nose. We didn’t speak as his eyes intently calculated my face. I tried to contain the electricity within to keep my composure while he worked. The feeling was staggering as I listened to his pencil grazing the surface of the paper.

I know there were other things going on around me in the studio, but I was in his contemplation at that moment and I was oblivious to any other activity. Knox later posed us together and took several photographs of which he would use to complete the portrait.

Months later, a cardboard tube arrived at home. Knox completed the drawing. I’ll always remember that moment of elation and joy seeing the reflection of Knox’s vision. I will cherish that image forever.