as it happens, i was digging around in the dark, cobwebby corners of the garage the other day & found a cache of drawings & watercolors that i had created in 1980, including the first of the self-portraits that you’ll see below. i’ve included a journal entry, also from 1980 so you’ll have an idea of what was going on at approximately the same time as the drawing. the 2nd drawing is from early last year, almost exactly 30 years after the first one.
november 28, 1979, wednesday–winter has arrived–god, i dread it so much however much my creative juices flow in cold weather there has to be an alternative. i don’t know how many times i’ve asked myself “what am i to do?” can’t possibly go on doing that. have had letter from b. & r. in paris–they’re insisting that i go there next year–i guess i’m afraid that if i go there i’ll never return. europe seems, at times, to be the only alternative–completely different environment–new people, new challenges–i’m so desperately in need of a challenge.
having no discipline to speak of– a change of pace is the only thing that will rouse me. will i spend my life looking for that challenge–changing everything when i don’t feel like i’m going anywhere, what am i afraid of? am i not as smart as i’d like to think i am? …it just goes to show that a good act will get you nothing.
after 5 1/2 years at arnie’s [arnie morton’s famed restaurant on state st. in chicago]–restaurant work–i’m not sure i can do anything else…i cannot let myself stagnate in such an environment…it’s turned me into such a bitch, such a hard, unbelieving person–i don’t believe anyone anymore–i don’t trust people like i used to. i know they want to use me–when before i was much more gullible i liked myself better. i was hurt more often, but i grew from that specific hurt. i’m working within a lifestyle which is not necessarily suited to my soul, my psyche. how to break away from it?
june 22, 1980–well, i’ve done it! februay 19, 1980 i called arnie’s and told them i could no longer work there–a nice clean break–no chance of returning, yeah! in the intervening months i worked at henrici’s another awful restaurant, but in april l. offered me a job with his company, so i took it–i’m working as an artist’s representative, selling their art to corporate art leasing agencies & exhibiting their work in galleries (hopefully). it’s exciting, demanding, creative work and i can’t say how happy i am to be out of the restaurant business.
self-portrait 2010. for the past 30 years i have worked successfully in the art gallery business. as you’ve read above, i got my start in 1980 working with young, local chicago artists & i have never looked back (not true, obviously, if you’ve read this blog before, i look back a lot, but not to rue those days, but to remember what has gone before so that tomorrow can be greeted with an appreciation of the past.)
the self-portraits are strikingly similar (they should be, i am still me after all,) but in the way that i have chosen to draw my eyes, their startled look staring straight out at toward an unknown horizon (not at the viewer, don’t worry, they won’t follow you.) the jaw line, the cheek bones, i can’t decide in which one i look older–there is the matter of less hair, the use of ink in the first delineating the darkness of my mustache, the graphite in the second highlighting the lack of hair on my head, perhaps it’s the lines in my forehead in the 2nd that give my age away (along with the nightshirt & the foot–added because someone i know said, “if you want to learn how to draw a foot, take off your shoe, your sock & draw it,” so i did & am proud to say that it looks remarkably like my right foot (not to be turned into a movie.)