~HAPPY HALLOWEEN . . from 28 years ago !!

from . . the Art Lot Nancy !!
Rivington & The Bowery / Archive.
Scissors, paper, SOUL.

Photos: NANCY SMITH, NYC 1994.

brown paper bag, shipping paper, black craft paper, scissors, string, and glue.
unique & . . lost to the elements – a long time ago.
hanging in my gritty backyard,
at 5 Rivington St., we lived in the East Storefront, half a block up / from the Bowery.
on the deep deep and raw LES / Lower East Side.
ca. 1987-1996.
when drug & gun battles erupted on the roof, like pop corn,
and bums set fire to trash cans – for sport.

in a time of big project / big ambition 90’s art – think: JEFF KOONS, and CINDY SHERMAN / ELI BROAD & Co.
I was cutting paper, making fragile one-of-a kind banners, as well as delicate Japanese-inspired ink line drawings on glassine tissue, which also wavered mighty – in the slightest breeze.
some paper lanterns, too.

always contrarian / to the last drop. that’s me.
and, so why did I feel like such an outsider, who everyone overlooked ?
hmmmm ???? / I wonder.

but it’s funny, because that’s when I met Josh / Josh Harris of WE LIVE IN PUBLIC / the Andy Warhol of the new digital web / and of course, (initially) / he only wanted artists who weren’t in galleries !! go figure !!
so in the end – it pretty worked out . .
if . . ‘experience’ also known as ‘the journey’ / vs. the ‘anointed’ walls / are everything ?!!

though as you can see – the going was a little rough.

I was always very ‘light-handed’- with my art projects /
not, just in terms of materials, but re: ‘scale’, scale of size, and scale of . . ‘permanence’.
I absolutely hate the word . . studio ‘practice’ /
give me: skills !!!! vision. expression. folk art ? street art ? Edo period Japan ?

a little later on, like 10 years later – I figured out I could glue stick my paper designs . . to mylar / in sheet format, they would still flutter and still be light-weight / but be more permanent, and perhaps – more collectable ?
not that, that helped much . . .
art people especially . . were so staid, and close-minded / in that not so long ago past / where the lines between outsider art vs. formal ‘practice’ / ‘studio’ art – were so rigid /
esp right before everything – totally, totally changed . . and, that would be – about 2002.
DIY broke so free and so big !! – just about the same time / as indie galleries & pop-ups – took over.
graffiti, esp on subways and plastered to traffic poles, Gee’s Bend quilts at the Whitney in 2002 / Keith Haring & even Jean-Michel (painted refrigerator doors, anybody) . . helped put that revolution – over the top.
just at the same time as nascent social media / iPhones, and of course: self-publishing !!
put DIY – both indie art, galleries, and collabs / on speed dial.

I mean, it used to be: is there a sound of hands clapping / if you are alone in a forest /
now, it’s: is it art – if there’s no photo / never mind the gallery wall.

I was always, and still am – very light-handed in my art projects, but also, in my art – musings !!
but, as you can plainly see from the Halloween skeleton hanging above . . :
‘ethereal’ doesn’t rule out . . . sinister, and foreboding /
my inner artist hardcore / true grit soul – twisting in the wind /
and wondering, whatever was – to become of me ?

ps: I still don’t have a gallery, not even of my photos ?!!!!
though Jeffrey Tranchell, now of JEFF’S GALLERY, DETROIT . . has exhibited some of my work (quilts & paper pieces / light switches), here and there.
and, come to think of it – I did back into a starring role . in ‘WE LIVE IN PUBLIC’. through no choice of my own, bye the way.
in fact my best buddy – from that time, Alfredo Martinez aka the Notorious Basquiat Forger – just might be my most mainstream claim to fame ?
talk about .. wondering what the future – holds.
don’t ask.