A friend of mine, a fellow artist who had a studio in the same artist's building, modeled for this painting some years ago. He admired my work and often stopped by my studio accompanied by different women all of whom shared one characteristic: they always seemed very, very tired. One day he vanished from the building, never to return. A few years passed without any word from my friend. One day, l went to see the film Client 9; The Rise & Fall of Eliot Spitzer. There, in a prominent role, was Herb being interviewed in his new studio, describing his "day job" as protector of the House's interests at the escort service that Spitzer frequented. My friend had parlayed his time in Riker's Island into a spectacular self-promotion of his own paintings, and now l knew why the women he brought by my space looked as tho' they needed a good night's rest.
Often, far too often in fact, people ask me how and where I find my inspiration. Here, I always feel that the wrong question is being asked. More appropriate would be the question of what it is an individual can do, what mental adjustments one can make, to increase the possibility of an inspirational moment.
Not unlike magnets repelling opposite polarities, the more I search, the harder it is to find the idea that serves as basis for a good painting. Ideas appear when I am in a state of mental tranquility. To achieve this while living in the heart of New York City, I need to find deliverance from the stresses of everyday life. At home, my bike commute to my studio and back serves this function, (the 9th Avenue “bike lane”, excepted) as I ride along the water, far from the overheated core. Nothing, tho’, delivers me from stress more effectively than leaving the city behind entirely. While I often joke that holidays are a break from inspiration, they more likely have the opposite effect.
More and more, it seems that my work is set in other parts of the world - less because there is nothing observable at home than that I am more mentally prepared for new ideas when far from quotidian dramas.