The doorway into the studio
When David Hochbaum sent out an invitation for a Salon he was holding at his NY studio last December, I was sad to have to decline. Family obligations and holiday cheer overload took precedence and I had to put my art needs on the back burner. But I promised myself... I SWEAR, the next time he holds a Salon, I will be there. It isn't every day that an artist you admire actually goes out of their way to open their heart and home in order to help along others on the path.
And so when the email arrived a couple of weeks ago that David was hosting his 2nd salon on January 18th, I realized I would have the opportunity to keep that promise. My finances were not in much better shape then they were before Christmas, and in order to pull this off I would end up dumping all the change I have been stashing next to my dresser for the past year into the machine at Price Chopper so I could afford it! I booked a room in NY and got ready for some learning experiences.
I arrived early ahead of the pack on Sunday night. Salon started @ 7:00, but I had already been roaming the streets of NY between Grand Central and St. Marks for 3 hours, my feet were starting to hurt, plus I was so psyched I couldn't help myself! So with nerves of steel or maybe rust, I rang the buzzer. As I walked up the stairway, David peeked out of his studio to greet me. I was glad he wasn't annoyed at my early arrival, and relieved that I could gather my bearings in this setting that was so vastly different than what I am used to before people arrived.
David constructing framework
He was busy...working on creating new framework for the next set of Hochbaum masterpieces. Mitre saws, wood trim, luan, toolbox, tools, I started to focus on all the things around me. Packed to the max, the studio was everything I expected. Cluttered, loaded with little pieces of David's personal inspiration, ships--lots of ships, photos, ladders, cameras, tripod, paintings, paints, books, fonts spilling onto the floor, patterns exploding across walls, tables, and so many layers of life...in every corner I could feel the energy, the beating pulse of art in various states of completion complexity and contemplation. We talked some personal collage talk about techniques and products for a bit. It was in these moments when I began to realize that this was a very humble person. He didn't laud his popularity and obvious talent, and despite his being busy and working the whole time we talked, I could feel his intensity with regard to our discussion about our work. He was so very helpful when I asked about the materials he used or how he achieved certain results. There was not a hint of arrogance and he was not condescending in the least. I experience arrogance a lot in my day job, as a Mac Tech. I have dealt with people that feel they are "it" and I recognize an attitude when I see one. But in this case, I have to say, I was so very impressed by the graciousness and jovial humbleness that I received. What a treasure of information I received in such a small amount of time. I didn't want to disturb the last moments he had to complete his tasks. I watched while he whisked around the studio to prepare for the salon.
Work in progress
Marcus, Davids' roommate, a fellow artist and salon participant, came out and joined us first, and soon enough guests began to arrive, wine and drinks were poured and merry introductions were made. I apologize that I didn't have everyone's complete name to list here on the blog...(links provided if I had one!)
Douglas ? (a friend of David's father, also art friend of Davids--lucky dude!) - Collagist
Samantha Levin - Mixed media, assemblage, painting
Danielle Ezzo - photography and painting (this link doesn't seem right. Danielle, if you read this please send me your link)
Ivan Lee Mora - Glass artisan
Dina Gregg - graphics and painting
Marcus - box constructions
Clarissa - Marcus' girlfriend
Julie - me! - collage
Yasha Young - gallerist (she brought along a friend, and I am so sorry to not have remembered her name!)
David Hochbaum - of course! duh!
David gathered us all around 2 very art splattered tables and opened the discussion. One by one, each artist opened up their souls and shared their work in the darkness of a cold snowy January winter night. Typical of the times, the types of art display were varied...pictures on a flash drive, slides, pictures on the internet, pictures on cell phone and some people also brought actual art. There was quite a variety of mediums represented including collage, painting, assemblage, glass work, photography, and even installation work. We were also lucky enough to be able to here the gallerists' point of view, as Yasha Young showed up to lend her insight! Explanations were given as to the methodology and thoughts behind each persons' examples. The group moved and morphed around the room, examining the work, and giving each person some very serious thought and commentary. Each person was very earnest and tried hard to give helpful comments.
They are critiquing my work!
You would think that in his own home, in his own studio, on his own turf, at his own salon, the strength of David's work would overpower the group. Quite the opposite! He facilitated the event and set the tone of learning and understanding. The most amazing thing to me was the complete lack of ego in the room! Even on the part of the guests! I didn't ever feel insignificant or hick or out of place. These people were all into being helpful and learning and sharing. It was infectious. And wondrous for an insignificant little hick like myself!
Marcus, showing his fascinating boxes
After a few hours of heavy art talk, the critique was over the the disco party began! We all made merry while other art friends of David's filtered in, like David Stoupakis...another fine artist in the GMSH!! And Wylie Perlitz, who is having his first solo show at HIFI...big sigh.
It was getting late, I was feeling beat. I said my farewells and sped away into the cold night high on life and full of art love.
Yasha greets David Stoupakis
My message to you dear reader person...Please do step out of your box. Sometimes, you have to reach --far-- in order to find the your way along the path. The world is out there waiting for you. Go and get it.
update: David informed me that David Stoupakis is not a member of GMSH. Sorry about that misinfo. However, his fascinating artwork can be found here.