Once upon a time I fled the Upper East Side of Manhattan for what was then the wilds of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. My motive was a (very) cheap rent for lots of space in unfamiliar surroundings where I might recreate myself (again). My intention was to paint my inner life. Then, hankering for some outer life during my second year, I took to the streets to see what was there. I recorded my findings in an 11×14 inch sketchbook.
I found a woman selling Bibles, hats and tambourines outside the church on Eastern Parkway.
I found shoppers examining fruit at the produce stand on Utica Avenue while the crowd surged by.
A man trimming vegetables on the sidewalk of Utica Avenue.
And then I found a woman going inside the pizza shop while another woman waited outside with her children.
Then, just as suddenly as they had begun, my appetite for street scenes came to a halt. I went back to my inner life.
The very next drawings in the sketchbook were about the shadow-self and the dream-self.
And now, all these years later, I’ve gone back to drawing street scenes. This time of Park Slope, where I live now. My inspiration was the Sketchbook Project.
Because I see now I’m not happy unless I’m serving both, outer and Inner…