347 Grand

Acrylic on canvas

347 Grand, Acrylic on canvas

In 2004, I did a work term in New York. I don’t know if it was purely the age that I was at when I was there, or perhaps it was something electric about New York City itself, but the four months that I spent there held some of the most poignant memories of my life.

While going through some boxes I found a photo of the old Williamsburg apartment front door. This was before Williamsburg was officially cool. In fact months after I moved out, the other tenants were all evicted. This was perhaps part of the renovation toward kicking out the artists to bring in the designer shops.

I decided to paint a picture from the photo I found, so that I could distill my memories of the place and so that, though the picture could be destroyed, perhaps the painting would be a lasting representation of one of my favourite homes.

While working on this painting, I listened to Interpol’s Antics album over and over again, because that was my favourite at the time. To be honest, I don’t think that this painting is complete. I just felt that it was time to share it. I may work on it more, but what I really want to do is abandon it and start over again in Oils. For now though, it’s a start of something that meant a lot to me. It’s also a painting that I worked on in order to rouse my creative juices when they felt particularly constricted.

It’s not a pretty piece. It wasn’t a pretty place. It was derelict and seedy and oh-so-special. There was a bar across the street called The Tainted Lady that served some of the best margaritas I’ve ever had. Some things though, are harder to bring back to life from one’s memory. I wish I had taken more pictures. I wish that I were still in touch with my ex-roommates. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to render all that. There’s a large painting that I shipped to Trinidad after moving from New York that does a better job of capturing the feeling of that time. Another painting, that was one of the first large paintings I’d ever done was left at the apartment and has since disappeared into the fabric of time.

This painting starts to bring the physical memory of that place into being. The margaritas though – they’ll live on in my thoughts.