Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
As I walk down the dark dead end street towards my studio, I feel the cold wind whip across my face and tear my eyes. It's another winter night in my urban landscape. The yellow streetlamps flicker on and off, like summer fireflies searching for their lost loves. The silence of the night is only broken by my heavily booted feet which echo down the cracked sidewalk. The alley cats rustling through garbage cans pause for a moment as they hear me approach. One looks out at me over the top of the dented tin barrel and licks her chops as if wishing if she was a just little bit larger, then maybe I'd pass as dinner instead of the rotten banana peel under her paw.
My shadow grows longer as the street itself grows narrower; my hands search my pockets for the key as the distance between me and my destination grows shorter. I look up at the starless black sky as I arrive at the mammoth overhead door that leads into my space; the faint sound of a Spanish love song can be heard through the window of one of the tenants above.
I take a deep breath as I slide my key into the lock of door, turn and push.
Like every night, I enter into total darkness and have to stand motionless for a moment at the entrance while my pupils widen in search for some hidden light. In the past, I would just walk carelessly into the dark, but after a few bruised shins and close calls, I've decided patience is a safer virtue then diligence. And as I wait in the dark, I welcome the heat stored over from last nights visit, and unwrap myself from the many layers of my winter garb. Finally, I begin to make out the familiar bulky shapes of the overturned desks to my right, and the vertical line up of ladders to my left. I move forward, deeper into the space, greeting some of my possessions as I walk past (hello armchair, hello clock radio, hello paint bucket). When I reach the back of the space I have to feel up the concrete wall until my fingers find the light switch. A burst of blue light streams across the studio as I flip the switch. Everything looks eerily vintage, like a scene from some lost silent movie, while the gallery lighting warms up and slowly turns from blue white to clear white light.
Now with proper light, I survey the space making sure everything is how I left it. Nothing missing, I turn my attention briefly to the clock radio and twist the dial. Brahms fourth symphony pores out of the tiny speaker and fills the void my art can't reach. I punch my imaginary work clock and pull my armchair forward to face my 15 ft long display wall. I sit down and stare up, my eyes darting from one painting to another, from one drawing to another, I try to piece together their meanings; the wall itself resembles a scrapbook more and more every night then a gallery wall. Finally I am reminded where I left off the previous night and pull the tacks off the drawing of a woman screaming in ecstasy, or was it terror? That I'll decide tonight.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The mystery of my mothers surname was never truly solved and I guess it never will be. A long time ago her grandfather had changed his surname from DePetling to Gallo for reasons still debated within my family. The story of my great grandfather began in the city of Trieste during the turn of the last century. The DePetlings were a wealthy family and owned one of the largest slaughterhouses in all of Tuscany. They were known among the people as the family of giants. All the DePetling men were extremely tall and very powerful, all except just one, my great grandfather. Perhaps that’s the reason why at the tender age of 14 he decided to stow away on a ship destined to America. Through the years some family members speculated otherwise and thought that he might have gotten a girl pregnant and was fleeing from the responsibility of fatherhood. Others went further to say perhaps he even killed a man and was escaping the authorities. The truth he took all the way to the grave.
But some facts remained; he was a very young man on board a ship filled with many other Italian immigrants in search of a new beginning. Because of his good education and likeability he ingratiated himself with the crew and they secretly made him a cabin boy. When the smoke-stacked skyline of New York City finally came into view all the immigrants aboard grew very excited and eager to set foot on the famed Ellis Island. But not my great grandfather, instead an immediate sense of dread and anxiety fell over him. Despite knowing several languages, he did not speak English and lacked the proper documents necessary to enter the country. As the ship entered Hudson Bay his fear of returning to Italy over took him and rather then take his chances with the authorities he took his chances with the elements. He dove off the side of the massive ship and swam to the shores of Manhattan. Years past and he learned English, struggled and worked hard until eventually he intertwined himself into the fabric of America. They say he didn’t change his name to Gallo until he heard that some of his brothers had traveled to America in search for him. His family never found him and life carried on.
In the end my mother and whole family all have very fond memories of him. He was a happy and spirited man. All the way into his old age he worked at the lavish restaurant inside the famed Statler Hilton Hotel as head maitre de. He wore a tuxedo everyday and was well known among the stars of the 30’s and 40’s. In fact he was often found carousing with Caruso (the illustrious opera singer) until the early morning hours, but that is another story entirely.