You and I are friends and Curtis and I are friends, so maybe the three of us can be friends.
Wouldn't that be nice?
Let me start things off by telling you a little about my friend, Curtis Frank:
For the last year, Curtis and I have worked together on the weekends, at a Spanish Restaurant in Chelsea. Just two months ago, he took up skating. Most days, he skates to work and tells me the stories of his almost falls and his actual falls, too. He is learning to fall the right way: to slacken, tuck, and roll so that his body doesn't get hurt when it crashes into the cement and pavement. He's not old, but he's also not young anymore and I worry that he's going to break an arm or a leg. We're so fragile, I think to myself. But, aloud, I laugh at his stories and encourage him to keep his focus. Curtis has an indomitable spirit and--regardless of anything I say--I know he'll either learn to fall the right way or break a bone trying. That's just the way he is.
Last month, Curtis and his wife went to Peru. While he was there, he met a number of llamas and one little llama took a particular shine to him. Curtis has a photograph of the moment the little llama gave him a surprise kiss on the cheek, a moment he describes as magical. My wife is fascinated by this story. She wrote him a 10 question interview on the subject and he amicably answered every one of them. I've promised not to publish this interview. But it's tempting. Because it shows an endearing part of Curtis that he isn't always able to show: a side that's gentle, warm, and open to the world. Curtis with his guard down.
Curtis is an artist and a damn fine artist, at that. I can't say for certain that this is the reason that Curtis keeps a close guard, but I suspect it has something to do with it. I do know that being an artist is difficult. That it's what makes me guarded, sometimes. You are judged for what you make and when what you make isn't easy to explain, you worry that people will just write it off without even trying to understand. When it happens like this, it hurts, though the truth is, it doesn't happen like this as much as you think it's going to happen. More often, what happens is that you keep your guard up worrying about it and that's why no one can get in. That's the thing that I'd like to tell Curtis, though I don't know how.
What I do know how to do is put on an art show and the more I learned about Curtis, the more I wanted to show his art. When we first started working together, over a year ago, we started sharing bits and pieces of our respective art lives. I am fascinated by the breadth and the complexity of what Curtis makes. He works slowly and carefully, two lessons that I wish I'd learned early on. There is great variety to the art he produces but it's all underpinned by a unifying concern: the manner in which time fills space and the strange density of space when it is well-filled with time.
One way time fills space: friendship. The sound of warm voices filling an otherwise cold and empty room. It doesn't just happen: it happens because we have chosen to spend time together.
In two Wednesdays (on April 19), I'd like to invite you to spend a little time with Curtis and me. We'll be in a room in Carroll Gardens with just 5 pieces of his art...and endless possibilities. More about that soon. But for today, I'll close with this: if you're still reading this, it's because you've already decided to invest a little of your time in Curtis and me. Just give us a little more. We'll make it worth your while. I promise. If nothing else, we'll end the day with the three of us being friends.
If you know me, you know that I never do tourist things. It turns out, tourist things can be fun.
As a dad and a husband, my nights are mostly scheduled these days (that's right, Mika and Erica, they're scheduled for you ). Most of my life, I've resisted keeping a regular schedule, but it turns out, I was just waiting for the right life to come home to. Now that I've found it, I'm rarely tempted to go out or break my routine. But every now and then, it still can be fun.
An out of town guest got me out of my routine on Wednesday and Thursday. His fascination with the subway system helped me recall some of my favorite stations (Smith and 9th Ave on the F, obviously). When you get past how tiresome commuting is, our sprawling system really is quite amazing. The first night, we rode the the Roosevelt Island Tram and it's the best free thing you can do here with an hour of spare time. The next night, we ascended the Empire State Building at about 10pm, when the lines are almost non-existent. The view is simply breathtaking. It took me ten years of living in New York to take the ride. I'll admit it: I didn't want to look like a tourist. Finally making the trip made me realize that looking like a tourist isn't a bad thing when you take the time to really see.
In the end, I decided to make something out of my night visit. Want to see? Click the photo above or the button below.
Or tell me, what's your favorite station in the subway? When's the last time you broke out of your routine? What's your favorite free diversion in New York? Really, I want to know!
It's been a while, I know, because one of you recently emailed me and asked me why I'd taken him off my mailing list. I hadn't, of course, it's just been quite awhile now since I've had the time or energy to reach out.
As many of you know, about 6 months ago I was blessed with the best reason for a long hiatus: the birth of our first daughter, Mika Delphine Quintela! Since then, Erica and I have been on the great crash course of first-time parenthood, bleary-eyed and dizzy with the joy, the trepidation, the great wonder of it all. As those of you with children know, it changes everything. Suddenly you see the world with eyes anew.
I always thought that's what art was supposed to do, but with art it takes so much effort, with babies it's so effortless. Which reminded me of a line about poets and water from an old poem of mine and then, well, even if I'm more a dad than an artist, I'm still an artist. So I made something.
I thought I'd share it with you and maybe you'd want one to share it on your wall (your real wall, silly, not your Facebook). Or maybe not. But, really, that blank spot, right there...
Well, either way...hello!...I miss you...i don't get out much, anymore but still, I hope we see each other soon!