JET III Biography Extended
"I have been making my art for 30 years now and I was very prolific back when I first started out as an artist. I began so many artworks that I could never have finished them all at once. I slowly realized that considerable time needed to be devoted to their completion and I would have to work on them over the course of my lifetime. What you are able to see here is 30 years of art activity compressed into an instant here on the Internet. Some of my artworks were done quickly and were directly involved in the idea and the process of inventing the art, others took me a really long time to finish. I found over time that I really appreciated the ones that I put maximum effort into, so I kept these around me most of the time. I still love the idea of the process of making art, as well, so I made new ones at the same time as working on older artworks.
In 1979 I originally wanted to work in different artistic styles and invented my "Giant Progression", where each new artwork would lead me to a new way of working. Over time I found that people were generally against this. They wanted to look at a room of someone's art and see the same exact things, everything should match perfectly. Remember Warhol had made copies of copies and Minimal art was very big in 1979.
People seemed never fully understood the reversible idea or how hard it was to do this. Especially gallery directors that would eventually have to make a decision, as to which way to show something. My idea was to make something that changed. If you had 200 reversible artworks that would lead to 200 x 200 possibilities for an art show. That's quite a number and I am quite sure that by now I have attained that goal.
It wasn't until the Internet that I was even able to show enough work at one time for people to see what I was all about. Read the descriptions and you will see the dates range across the years. This is because it just took me many years to finish these particular artworks, but the date of the artwork also unlocks a key to the art history of it. Compare my work to what was being done in the 1980's 1990's and now today as we close off the first decade and you will see how these artworks influenced so many. Besides the art that I worked on over a number of years, there is a large group of artworks that I did in a day. I invented something interesting for each artwork, the frame and the opposite side sometimes too. The process of constructing the support (canvas linen, wood) also took me extra time, as each piece in the puzzle had to be thought out well in advance.
On the Internet it is not always practical to give viewers a sense of what the original looks like when viewed from up close. This can be a part of the surprise. On some of the newer web sites, you can see high quality images of the art and I invite you to go there with many small links throughout this site.
When I was a student I was painting my own ideas and I was re-invented ways of seeing things that had not been used for a century. I called them Modern Impressionism, but it went much further over time and eventually morphed into my "Maximal Art" another artistic precedent.
Many of my simplest landscapes that are done Impressionistically and very quickly, have unusual frames added to them that were made from driftwood or were antiques, etc., as I enjoyed making the frame a part of the work. This modernizes the artworks, with a sort of Dadist approach. People have not always appreciated my frames, many were taken out of their frames and re-framed with something modern and some of my old wooden driftwood frames even were burned for fire wood!
I started out collecting antique frames in college, many that were still in perfect condition and some that needed some restoration work. Shortly later, I decided to paint the frame itself. I even painted paintings, that would fit in them perfectly. I built my own frames,as well and finally I even restored the damaged antique ones and modernized them. People used to say also that these thick gaudy frames were not appropriate for art anymore, but I couldn't have disagreed more. Depending on the artwork, I tried to make something special for each one I had collected. They used to tell me that the frame should not compete with the art and I said "What if it becomes a part of the art!"
I also like to hang my art exhibitions in the salon style, like in the 19th century. I like to see a solid wall of art. They also used to tell me to pick one direction for my artworks to hang, but I made them reversible in a multitude of different ways.
It is very hard to survive throughout life, as an artist. I have worked in corporate law, magazine publishing, advertising, type and color printing done by hand. I have also sold medical life support equipment and medical software, then become an art teacher. I raised my own 2 kids too and through all the many different jobs I've held, I've always stayed true to my art. I found that I can get a tremendous amount of work done over my life by approaching it slowly and steadily. Hard work is not a problem for me. There were times over the years when I didn't start or finish many artworks and others when I made many. When I was 20, I painted late into the night, then got up early for work, but as I got older I found other ways to get things done. Over this time period I have changed my approach many times.
I think when you are young, you have a tremendous amount of energy that you can spend devoting toward something positive for society and by channeling your energy toward creativity, you can also get many artworks built and started. Even if many artworks are not finished, they can be completed over a long period of time over one's lifetime. The idea behind the artwork, that you have created defines and accents your time on earth. If you do a really great job of making the art, maybe people will always appreciate it. For me it would be sad to see it thrown out, or not appreciated after all I gave up to make it. It is even sadder to see the young ones grow up without an appreciation for fine art.
Art supplies are expensive and you have to work very hard just to afford to be able to make your own art this way and if your job is not conducive to creativity, you probably will not be able to come home and make art, either. For me, early on, it afforded me the ability to buy the canvas and the paint. So, I pushed myself to make my art after work and even though my daily employment wasn't always in a very creative atmosphere. In the early years, I spent all my extra money on the highest quality art supplies.
To begin with, you need something to paint on is called a "Support". I have used canvas, linen and wood, but have also used odd things that I thought would work. Since I built most of my canvases myself, many of my works were done on fine linen, or wood and were originally treated with a hot hide glue "Size", just like the old masters would have done. The sizing is like making Gello and glue sizing is very similar (just without the flavor). As it cools, it is applied with a brush to the linen. It is applied like on the back of an old postage stamp. When dry, it is clear and crystalline and protects the fabric with a protective barrier from the destructive oil in oil paints. This also helps to stretch, or shrink the linen tighter, and makes it taught and receptive to an oil painting "Primer", or the "Ground".
A "Ground" must be applied to the raw material and covers the linen or wood with a white surface, which can be painted on directly, when it's finished drying. The ground takes a day to dry properly and usually another coat, or two is again applied, in order to build up this coating. I use two or more coats of glue size and a couple coats of primer in this manner, but there is another method too. Gesso is a white chalked acrylic primer ground that also will coat a canvas with a receptive surface on which to paint. This is the quickest method today for people using acrylic paints on canvas, but many use it for oil too. Oil can be painted on top of acrylic (plastic), but not the other way around, as oil and water do not mix. Many coats of gesso should applied to a canvas which has been painted with oil paints, less so for acrylic. If you spritz with a little spray of water it will re-tighten a canvas with gesso, but this is a terrible idea for a hide glue sized oil painting as it warps and loosens the linen, so you should know with which you are dealing with. Gesso also stretches the canvas tighter and protects it from the material which is applied on top and is fine for most acrylic paints, and to a small degree from the oils in the oil paints.p>I usually never start painting by sketching onto a canvas first. I just started right in painting. You can draw with your paint too. On some of my artworks, I am used to thinking about an idea in my head for sometime, before ever starting, like having a plan ahead of time. If you think of it like photography, when you frame the shot just right, as you look through the viewfinder window you do this with an idea in mind and the nice thing about digital photography is that you see immediately the result (to some degree). I invent my own ideas and nobody ever told me what to paint (or draw) and I have always taught to others about art's secrets. This is my art, it can, and has, been copied by others, but my ideas are still mine. The Internet gives me a chance to speak about each piece one by one and really show when in time they were each worked on and finished.
The "Composition" or "the design" of the idea for an artwork is a critical factor in the making of the art, and is integral to what it becomes later. You can think of it like the structure of a house (the studs and framing) as it is being built, and that you can also tell what the house will look like someday, without it even being finished. You use composition, whenever you think of an idea, even when the subject is right in front of you like with a landscape, interior, or person modeling for you.
I carried my art supplies far into, what I called, the "Wilderness". Sometimes I painted outside in summer, but many times in late fall, winter, or early spring, as there were less bugs. I would find and paint a landscape spot, or something that I found interesting at the moment, a defining instant decision, along my way on that particular day. I do remember pulling three ticks off me after one painting excursion on Long Island, many years ago. I used Long Island for subject matter after college, and while commuting on the LIRR train, I also drew in my sketchbooks and painted with watercolors. I worked and painted in NYC too. In NYC, besides work, was also where I went to my art schools, which included NYU, the Art Student League, The New School University, and the School of Visual Art.
After getting married in 1985, and moving to Brooklyn in 1986, I set up a studio there and eventually found my way to the Brooklyn's National Seashore. I did a new painting almost every day back then, and I built integral frames right into the art, in order to be "Reversible". The integral painted frame was a many sided painting which made the job much harder too. Not only did you get two great paintings, but the integral frame could be different and work with the art, or against it. I never liked the idea of everything matching anyway! I treated every side and corner, as a painting unto itself, but also as a part of a larger whole.
I moved from Brooklyn to the mountains of New Jersey in 1990, a year after my daughter was born, and brought all my art and supplies with me. It took two Ryder trucks to get it all there and have been trying to juggle a life at home with my family and all my art ever since. When then the last recession hit and I used my science background to survive as an account representative in the medical field.
I use photography a lot, but do not usually paint from photos or use them as ideas for paintings. I have not really shown my photos, or my sketchbook drawings on the Internet either, I am trying to get a little uploaded at a time. I do still draw in a sketchbook, but do not generally paint what I sketch. I have filled maybe 20 sketchbooks over the years and have them all safely stacked up somewhere. When I finish my large drawings, I can stack them, one on top of the next one, without bothering to frame them. This takes up much less space. I just put a couple of pieces of acid-free paper between each one".
This is my Biography, written by my daughter JLT - "Abstract Expressionism. Environmentalism. Pop art. Undoubtedly, JET III, can be classified into any one of these artistic genres. But what does this really say about his artworks, or his artistic aims? Connecting to humanity through his creative efforts is more important to him than trivial material gains, and this has always been evident in both his life's choices and his innovative paintings. Early on, he preferred living on the edge instead of opting for a more comfortable lifestyle and has continuously sacrificed necessities just to keep creating art. It started as a young man when he plunged into the artistic world at a crucial period in his existence. As his parents forbade him to pursue his new infatuation with his creative side in favor of practicality, he went up against them in order to fulfill his destiny.
Since the 1980's, JET III has created thousands of paintings, drawings, and sculptures that reflect his own personal take on artistic form and ideas on improving society. Initially, his appreciation for artists such as Picasso and Warhol manifested itself in his imagination and became apparent in his works. Art History was a popular subject in his paintings as he strove to honor the previous masters and make a statement using silk-screens of their visages. He employed a new form of pointillism that had a flow and grace not seen in previous eras, making and breaking artistic barriers with each new piece of art. JET also pioneered Reversible paintings where each side contains a separate tour de force. Although he has had numerous solo gallery shows in his lifetime, including his most recent at Kean University, he has always remained part of the counterculture of the art society and never fully embraced by critics. In fact, it seems he has slipped beneath nearly all reviewers' radar during his gallery show epoch, mostly due to the combination of the critics utter absence and the dying art scene of Greenwich Village in the late 80's. James also was part of the performance art movement in the Village while other commercial creators were more preoccupied with extravagant events uptown.
After he married his wife, and had a child, JET III was faced with a difficult decision ahead of him: should he continue struggling against the elements as an underground artist and raise his child in Brooklyn, or move his developing family to a different environment for a fresh start? In the end, he chose to relocate to a small suburb of New Jersey. Besides working various office jobs, JET III revamped antique furniture and became a certified art teacher, in addition to having a second child. The woodsy landscape of Ringwood influenced him to pick up an increasingly naturalistic manner of painting in the coming years. As he matured and developed his own unique, expressionistic style, he grew more knowledgeable and open-minded about the globe surrounding him.Now that JET is older and wiser, he is eager to pass on his all-encompassing experiences to future generations. Progression is his goal and he believes that the populace must embrace artistic change and individuality in order to evolve successfully. To quote him, "I hope that since my work was done for humanity's benefit, society will one day realize I am giving up a good part of my life and happiness to make it for them." A mission state so straightforward and honest cannot be denied, and in our modern world, it seems rare to find such simplicity. JET III has never put money ahead of his masterpieces, and all that he requests now from the world is a fraction of the art appreciation that he has bestowed throughout his life thus far".
JET III Art Art Statement: "My life experience has been, in essence captured in my art. I am physically able to paint or draw with any type of art media and possess the ability to easily switch styles from realistic to abstract. I have no problem with coming up with ideas of things to make. For this reason, I am never bored with making, or teaching fine art to all peoples. The only period of my life that I did not produce a tremendous amount of art was when I was very young or working in a full-time job and time didn't allow for it. I have always stood for freedom of ideas and speech and the idea that all people of the planet are directly related to me, just with different periods of time in between. I think that art, if given a chance could bring all the people back together.
I have utilized any style or technique I wanted to express my ideas, but over the years have settled into several key examples. My art is mostly representational in an abstract way. On many occassions, my art is decidedly environmental. Most of the art features enhanced colors, sometimes with hidden items that can be looked at for years without discomfort.
My classmates and teachers at NYU used to argue about my early Dot Paintings 1981-3. There were also big dicussions on my "Action paintings" as well especially the Painting "Seagulls". It was radical thinking in 1981 to re-start painting with dots or splashes of Impressionistic color again, but think of the computer revolution taking place soon just after that time and the punk art scene that was taking place right then. These paintings were just a bit ahead of their time. Computer monitors were and are measured by dots per square inch. Magazines and books are printed with tiny dots. My job at that time was located next to a color department where small dots of color were measured and mixed to produce a magazine printing. As an example of this, look carefully at my paintings (in particular "Blasted to Atoms" ca 1982), then look at my teacher Ross Bleckner's style change (Mary Boone Gallery at http://www.rbleckner.com) before he became my teacher in 1983. Look at his cell paintings, in particular. There are drawings in my sketchbooks by my classmates of my dot paintings and him teaching our class. Most of the important dot paintings were finished by that time and shown in the NYU Master thesis gallery on Washington Square Park. One of my best friends ran the Student gallery for the school, and now runs an art museum in South Carolina.My work immediately spilled out into the East Village after that. I did so many small art shows from 1983 on, there. One example of how cool it was there; One day while walking around near St. Mark's Place, Madonna walked past and said hello. I think I said "Hey Baby!" as I kept going because my girlfriend was right across the street walking with my friend. I married her!
One look at my use of color and you will see that this was against all trends in the early 1980s, where black was a predominant theme.
My very first art professors were all very different, and I credit several of them for good direction. Mark Greenwald was my first drawing and painting teacher. His critiques of my art always left me with a sour taste in my mouth and stomach, however it was the competition I had with him that has kept me going to this day, especially when all was not so easy. His rough treatment of my art has served to spur me on to become the best artist I could be, and I learned to thank him for it. I later found his face adorning a wall of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. His rough and pimpled face had been painted eight feet high by the Super Realist painter Chuck Close, one of his "close" friends. I met Chuck Close and he joked after I did his portrait in ink pen when I gave it to him at one of his gallery openings, that "If I had more time I'd do your portrait too"! We were in an elevator at the time!! A typical Chuck Close portrait on a face is legendary, extremely time consuming and detailed and I was going to make my art the same way too. I drew the small ink portrait of Chuck Close quickly, but it really resembled him. I remember presenting it to him on the elevator as we were riding down together to the street. I found his response particularly humorous. Being the subject of the early Close masterpiece entitled "Mark", I had never understood why Greenwold made us draw and paint large self-portraits ourselves until I saw his face on that museum wall that day. I never understood the horrible criticism I received from him either, but over the years it only stood to make me stronger in the face of severe critiques and petty jealousies.
Dennis Byng was by far, one of my favorite art teachers. Above all else, he taught me about color and 3-D design. He made Plastic Lucite Sculptures and taught me the process of seeing in color. He was a professor of design and my mentor at that time and among his favorites were Hans Hoffman, and other color field artists from his generation. I made several great Lucite sculptures while studying under his watchful eye, and I prize them highly today. One of my Lucite Pyramids was the first artwork I ever sold in a NYC gallery. This sale took place way back in 1979 and marked my becoming a professional artist.
Edward Cowley another art professor, taught me to use my art on my property and to let people walk outside amongst my art. He taught me to be environmental about art and showed me many examples of artists using the environment to make art. I credit him with my predilection to sculpting the landscape in a large eathwork as I did on my property in Ringwood, NJ, USA., or by cleaning the glass from the seashore as I did in Brooklyn and in seeing the beauty in small town American Architecture, as did Edward Hopper. He taught me to use abstraction environmentally with my own watercolors as his favorites Arthur Dove, John Marin and Charles Burchfield did.
Phyllis Galembo, also from Albany State, taught me photography and I refined it when running a darkroom for 7 years in publishing and in color department creating advertising, book and magazine covers, product labels and then packaging for an additional two more years in a color department. I have now taught it myself now too for many years.
Later in 1984, while taking one of my adult education classes on a field trip through Soho, in NYC, I found that another of my art history professors, who had used the natural environment in interesting and provocative ways. Her name is Marilyn Gelfman, but she too was one of my strongest critics. Being a gallery owner, she disliked my mixing of the artistic styles
When I taught art adult education courses, I learned that art has the unique ability to save humanity by bringing happiness, both in the making, the process, the teaching and the viewing, or experiencing to people of all ages. However, it took me a long time to realize that I should devote a part of me to teaching others. I wanted to be an artist and just make art. During my masters program I had no wish to become an art teacher. As my wife and I struggled to survive during the recession of the early 1990s, I slowly found the idea of teaching art to others better than not to have anything to do with art.
I have taught art in college since 2000, have taught high school and even junior high, but my wish was always to show my art to all and make art full-time, but I feel if you do this you miss out on a lot of things and it is better to be an artist and to do what makes you feel best and appropriate to your art. My goal has become to make art in front of all types and ages of people. We are all just really brothers and art is a valid method of communication. I am selfish in that art has always been my priority to all else since I began actively studying and making art. I subjugated my life for my art. I have made so many different kinds of artworks and find it interesting to see just what different people like in the work. Basically there is something for everyone in my work and I just hope that as you live and breathe, you can find something that you can appreciate. I can also tell things about you, by the selections that you find enjoyable. One thing that is important to remember, is that the Internet, is not a replacement for seeing the actual artwork.
If I had the finances, I would love to travel and make art in front of people all over the world, but my Internet sites, help me do this to a small extent. This comes, in part, from the fact that my parents were antiques dealers many years ago, and they trained me how to restore furniture and antique collectibles. We traveled and collected old furniture and things like "The Original American Pickers". My mother was one of the very first to collect the old Sears Catalog oak furniture designs, which were not yet even fashionable in the early 1960s. We would pack a large van with items we bought and then restore, refinish, repack, unpack and display items at flea markets then pack up all over again. Packaging became something that became part of my art. My sketchbooks were finished from cover to cover and cool boxes and bags were made to store them in.
My painted cardboard boxes and shopping bags started in my production line sometime around 1981-82 and became acrylic art packages. In 1990 when I went to Hanover, Germany, I saw a pile of Warhol Brillo boxes and was photographed there by my wife. The pop culture Brillo product box, without contents, had now become a functional item.
The selling of items in flea markets and shows trained me in sales. I worked on learning how to talk to people that you didn't know, but had things in common with, and gave them fair value for their money. I learned to haggle and settle the deal. In the early days these antique markets weren't even all called antique shows. When I went away to college in Albany, N.Y., I started my own antique collection and worked during the summer selling and restoring furniture and antique collectibles. Two trunks I personally restored were purchased for the Vanderbilt Collection and I believe are in the Manor Museum in Centerport, NY. I started actually signing my restored antique furniture pieces after the new millennium and wished I had always done that because I consider them to be a valid part of my art as well. I would like to show my antique furniture and paintings together. This to me represents both preserving our past and making items of modernity together, as one.
I slowly realized that I wanted to make my art right to where people congregate for festivals like Cow Harbor Day (held once a year in Northport, NY), to beaches from NY to Florida, Miracle Mile in Manhassett, shopping centers, to the NY City streets. I don't like to do this performance all the time, just once in while makes my art in front of people. Today wherever I go I make art. I have made many of my small drawings while commuting on buses, subways and trains. Making my art in public like this eventually led me to making my giant action paintings in front of galleries in NYC during the 1980's. It was these performances that influenced others to use ideas such as this too.
During the 1980's you started to see of these art performances, evidence in commercials and movies. Much later, my pick-up series in NYC was witnessed by literally thousands of passerby and vehicles in NYC. I originally entered my earliest paintings in street art festivals in Manhattan's Central Park and Greenwich Village. This outdoor experience between the artist and the public led to the Cow Harbor Day and early beach paintings of the early 1980's. This artist/public experience would not always go as well as planned as there were so many variables and risks involved. In my first outdoor show in Greenwich Village street hustlers tried to steal some of the art, but I apprehended them and foiled their plans. In my life, I have foiled many crimes and captured many criminals by hand, but the next outdoor show on Central Park went even farther wrong than expected when everything was stolen. My custom van (It took me two and a half years to build) was stolen immediately after the Central Park Art Exhibit in 1980 with two year's worth of framed paintings and drawings inside. I had to start all over as two years of my hard work vanished into thin air. According to Andy Warhol, I had my 15 minutes of fame that day, as the Daily News covered the story of "Artist's Van is Stolen". As I found out later a street gang from Brooklyn stole the van and one criminal tried to sell me two of the paintings back. We met on Third Avenue with an undercover police officer watching from a pizza parlor across the street. The thief advised me that they had my parent's address and that only two of the paintings were his cut. He had read the story in the newspaper and wanted me to give him some money for his trouble. I never saw him or the paintings and drawings again. Luckily, I still had slides of my work and used them to get into New York University Masters Degree Program in Studio Art.
Along the way towards my Masters Degree, I gravitated to the New York East Village Art Scene. This began around 1982-83 and finalized in and around 1991 with the recession reeking havoc on artists in the city, just like today. The East Village scene shut down after that time. During the eighties I had exhibited and performed my paintings from one end of the city to next, in a variety of styles, and showed the art in little, obscure, galleries that unless you lived there you would never know even existed. Critics didn't even go to most of these places, they were a little bit scarry and they happened well off the radar. Even when I had my best and biggest shows in the East Village, the critics were silent. I think either they didn't know what to say, as the art was definitely new and different, or they just never went to see it, sad. Around that time a whole new bunch of new bigger gallery spaces opened south of Houston Street and with it the East Village slowly fell apart. The Emerging Collector Gallery was one of the last bastions of the East Village Scene and I was showing and selling my work there from 1987-90. I had many JET III artworks there almost continuously during that time period. I also had a solo exhibition of my beach paintings and two front window displays during that time. Many of the other artists from the Micro shows in the East Village, were also showing at the Emerging Collector too, and it was such a great time to be an artist. The artwork was piled in racks and collectors came in and looked at two large backlit panels of slides. There were draws full of drawings and the back office was loaded with tiny sculptures. They also held art auctions where their collectors could get a real bargain, and I sold quite a few pieces this way. I truly believe that those days and nights spent in the East Village, as it was first gentrifying, were among the great artistic times of the late twentieth century. A long-haired character named Mr. Sexy came around daily with a printed decorated list of gallery openings and happenings, which he sold, or gave out for a quarter that covered each evening's events. I had heard that there was, in a time before this, a similar scene in Soho in the 1960-70s, but in the eighties artists and people involved with the art could read about what was going on, then go from place to place. Many individuals that just had an affinity for art scene or lived in the area always found something interesting to do or see. A few of us drove around in hand-painted cars. I hand painted two cars and one was a 1975 Cadillac. Police in my neighborhood in Brooklyn used to tell me that if it were ever stolen they would be sure to get it back for me. It was all spray painted in wild colors and the roof was painted like one of my paintings with epoxy and acrylics.
Years after moving back to suburbia from Brooklyn, NY, I realized that my East Village work was as much about expanding my own horizons as it was about sharing my ideas freely in the world"s art center. Everyone seemed to be an artist and art exhibits in these tiny little places were made up of a multitude of individuals. Exhibits and performances popped up all around the city, but their base was the East Village. The Emerging Collector was one of my favorite places and was run by Anna and Christine, two really great people! Curators came and selected work to hang in a variety of places, such as bars, etc., and many had just looked at film slides of the art, as this was before computers, cd's and the Internet. In many EV shows, there was an imposed limit on size. These were generally called "Small works", or "Micro shows" and occurred at tiny little places like "Nite", and "Now" Galleries. Some art exhibits were in bars or restaurants. Openings in the small galleries were usually packed and spilled out all over the streets. The art became one with the street and performance art was initiated into the general public's vocabulary, however, what they saw in the fancy galleries and museums was a far cry from the real performances of the East Village. Performance and self-promotion became a part of the East Village. I think if you look at my work's progression, begun in 1979 you will see many ideas that have affected other NY artists, designers and thinkers, and then on into the world. Even my clothes were copied by fashion designers. I hand painted my jeans and fashions and belts in patterns that approximated my art. Back then I used a lot of black, white and red.
In 1985 I started a whole new direction for art to follow as I returned to representational abstraction. Using unusual color schemes like purple or blue I also painted portraits. The music industry followed suit with many of these ideas. My realist painting entitled "Spaghetti Western" was displayed in a window display at the Emerging Collector on Second Avenue and Forth St. for a month in 1988 and could be seen by all cars and passerby, hence the start of realist painting begun again in NY. Most art of the day was heavily abstracted or conceptual/dadaist in nature. In 1990 my impressionistic beach paintings with recycled materials for frames was also displayed in the window and several later sold. My fashions influenced a generation of designers. The fashions I made influenced even Andy Warhol who told me I should go into fashion. I didn't listen to him, as my clothes designs I made just for me. He told me "Give me a hundred of those" when he looked at my spiked bracelet. I met his counterpart as well, Roy Litchenstein, who wrote me two kind notes of art career encouragement on his post cards from Leo Castelli Gallery. I still have those cards. I met Leo Castelli twice in his two different spaces in Soho. At the time he was one of the top gallery dealers in Manhattan and was very kind to me.
I met Larry Rivers (another artist from the early 1960's) twice. I originally met Larry Rivers in the early eighties when I was displaying my antiques in the Hamptons at an antique flea market. I recognized him in the throng and introduced myself and he appreciated it. I didn't live far from the Hamptons and the show would not have been a big deal, but meeting Larry was for me, a big deal, as well as all the other famous artists and celebrities I met along the way. I recognized Larry's face right away from videos that I had seen of him from the 1960's and he stopped to chat for quite a while. Much later in the later eighties I met him again somewhere in the West Village near West 4th Street. I liked talking art with him and he talked to me about art for some length. I always appreciated that his work was never completely finished and there has always been plenty of evidence of this in my early drawings, as well.
Many artists that I met were just friendly like this and communicated well. I have fond memories of meeting and talking twice (before his untimely death) with Jean Michel Basquiat. Jean Michel and I had a lot in common even though our art and popularity was very different. We discussed art on two separate occasions and he once told me he loved my fake leather jeans and painted accessories. I met Keith Haring twice as well. I met and discussed art with several prominent German artists such as Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer. I told Gerhard Richter that my work was a giant progression and that I utilized different styles of expression. He also was utilizing different styles of expression and had at the same time been making and exhibiting realistic and abstract artworks. I was criticized for these very ideas during my Masters Degree at NYU and one of my most vocal critics was the head of the art program and wife of the second most famous art gallery dealer in NY! In her eyes I may have seemed a rebel, but I always stuck to my guns and never changed my art to suit others.
During the Mid to late 1990's up to the present, I have been teaching art. My vanguard artistic ideas have taken root in a whole new generation of young people. At times I made my art in front of people and at other times I wanted to make it alone, away from everybody in a studio or secluded natural wilderness. As a teacher I made art in front of my students and helped each of them to make great things too. A few of my students have my art, or have photographed or drawn my portrait.
Picasso once made art in front of the movie screen as in the "Mystery of Picasso". Many times he shut himself up in a studio and locked out the many gallery dealers that came to ask him for art. I work a little differently from Picasso, in this movie you can see his work develop and I have compared the differences in our methods, however I have always appreciated the important artists that have come before me and the ideas they have given to me. In 1983 I started a tribute series to honor artist heroes and this series still continues today.
I hope that since my work was done for humanity's benefit, society will one day realize I am giving up a good part of my life and happiness to make it for them. I also did it to change the world. When the art is appreciated I find some degree of happiness. I am not talking about selling it to make lots of money, even though I spent almost all my money for the past 30 years, or so, to make it. I am talking about seeing a smile on someone's face or getting a reaction, whether it is positive or negative. Sometimes learning to appreciate art, is something that you have to be taught and it does not take hold in everybody, either.
I have also communicated my ideas to others that have changed, or used the ideas themselves. I decided that my students should benefit from all my art and life experiences. I have from time to time sold my work, but tried as much as possible, not to. I saved it up and made it better and better, devoting the necessary time to it to achieve my own personal best. I used my own ideas and made things that I wanted to, not what people wanted to do, or expected me to do. I never took a commission and I always bought the best supplies that I could afford even when it meant going without life's necessities. I guess I have always lived on the edge. If I sold an artwork, I sometimes did it for food, shelter, or necessary things for my family. I really made the art to express myself and maybe do some good.
After painting in my free time, constantly since 1979, in 1983 I began exhibiting in one art exhibition after the next in New York City and also around me in suburbia. These gallery experiences continued until well after my daughter was born in 1989. Over the remaining time I slowed down production of my art enough in order to raise two kids, finance a house in Ringwood, and make my art earthwork in my yard entirely by hand. This would not have been possible without the support from my wife. We have been married now for more than twenty three years. During that time, I have never completely stopped, or given up making my art. What makes me sad is that all this interesting art is all piled up, mostly at my house and the houses of my parents, brothers, friends, etc. and some of these valuable messages have, or are now slowly falling apart.
I have always felt my art carried important messages to people willing to look deep enough and I have intentionally tried to make it as complicated as possible to represent their true lives. I called this invention Maximal Art, where "More is Better not Less". The complicated dot paintings were my first examples of this theory. While I studied art, I had always heard the expression from the minimalists of the late sixties and early seventies, "Less is More". I had explained my ideas to my classmates and teachers at NYU and one of my favorite professors, Robert Kaupelis who once made me feel slightly better by saying to me that "Less is More or Less". My re-invention of the dot painting had properties inherent in "Optical art" or "Op Art" and some of my modern dot paintings produced an optical effect quite different from it's Post Impressionist and Fauvist past. I termed this part of my "Modern Impressionism" period and produced a variety of art forms in this vein. I was actually accepted into the NYU program by Professor Kaupelis when he saw the slide sheets of my earliest Modern Impressionistic and Modern Expressionistic paintings that had been stolen and after discussing what art I most appreciated. I had just formalized the newest of my paintings with the dots. I have always expressed my feelings and emotions with vivid color and at NYU my new ideas met with both pride and prejudice from my fellow artists.
One idea that was not easily understood was when I was grappling with the idea of reversibility, having more than one idea on an artwork. Either the work could be turned over to reveal another completely different artwork or just spun around on the wall to reveal something different. I signed different sides and places to let people know that you could turn it around. I heard many years later a African American artist claimed to invent something called Dualism, but this was nothing more than my reversible art renamed and reclaimed by another. I heard Sears backed him for inventing it during Black History Month in the 1990s. I have dated slide proof of the reversible idea from 1983 and it was also sold and exhibited during the 1980's. My Reversible drawings actually predate the painting and go back to early 1980. it is also a true idea, and not just some poor artist painting on the reverse side because they just didn't have enough money for another canvas.
I never minded doing twice the amount of work to make one piece of art. With a reversible artwork I had said that it would be the owner, gallery director, or curator that gets a decision in the choice of artworks displayed. I said in 1983 in Ross Bleckner's class at NYU, that if I can someday make 200 reversible paintings in my life, there would be 200 times 200 possible art exhibits possible. This makes 40,000 different shows. Another radical idea I was grappling with was related to sculpture. Since I also had been painting just about everything in sight in 1982, the pieces seemed to me to be interchangeable. With the idea of interchangeability came the term "Convertible Sculpture" in 1983 and the parts could be combined in different ways to keep the idea fresh. Unlike Warhol, I never wished to bore anyone with my art, and this is why it changes.
My theory of working in different modes of expression was the one of my original ideas that met with the most vehement reactions. It wasn't until I met and saw Gerhard Richter's large exhibition on 57th street in the late 1980's that I realized I was not alone in this thinking. In my Masters exhibition at NYU in 1983, I showed two different walls of art. On one set of walls, were many of the dot paintings hung salon style. Since my good friend was the gallery director for the student exhibition space at the NYU student galleries, I had no trouble hanging the art all over two large walls the way they did back in Paris in 1875. Salon style had not been in use for over a hundred years until then. Of course, It caused quite a reaction but I got into some trouble with the head of the art program for it, as I did for showing a different grouping of art hung traditionally on another large wall facing the salon walls. it looked different and different things bring about change. These were members of my Nuclear Series of large white paintings, which included large areas of symbolic pure white, cleaning the slate of humanity. The director of the art program herself pointed out to me the error in my ways. I tried to argue the point, but it was useless. She also did not appreciate my return to Impressionism, but this early efforts are some of my best paintings (see for yourself and you be the judge, as they have led me to new ways of working. Looking back twenty years, I can plainly see that it was among my greatest achievements and influenced countless other artists to jumping around throughout art history in new and modern ways.
Throughout most of my life I spent my time outdoors in the natural world at our farmhouse located far into the New York State countryside, in various areas of tri-state suburbia, and in the big city. Therefore, because of this nomadic lifestyle, many of the paintings and drawings are decidedly environmental.
I have utilized many different means of expression to accomplish my expressions and impressions in my art. My art is a reaction to society and are about saving the environment from the encroachment of housing developments and the pollution of oil and waste. I fight daily on-line in order to save what little is now left. I've personaly witnessed the steady sprawl of humanity across the countryside in which I lived.
My sports hobbies have been fly-fishing and golf and these have appeared as subject matter from time to time. These activities are performed pretty much exclusively outdoors. I also like professional baseball, football and golf on television and if i can get there, in person. Any art that was actually created on location has been influenced both by the place and the time in which it was made. The artists, the fish, primitive designs, and various commutation methods are but an expressions and extensions of me. My antique collections and refinishing and restoration work was performed outside. This love of old things led me to many of my inventions with my art. Utilizing antique frames was something I started doing way back in 1979. Framing back then was not supposed to compete with the art and this was sacrilege to artists that saw my framing. Later in the East Village, I sold old frames that I had painted as part of the art and this served to influence a new generation of artists that could easily get their hands on old frames.
What is interesting about the information I present here is that you can choose to go all over jumping from time period to time period seeing all kinds of my art. Certain of my JET III Internet art sites are better right now than this site, but this one is mine and I made it by hand writing the html code. There is though, a big difference to seeing the real artwork in person and no digital image can ever replace an original. I purposely choose not to give you all the details of the original in high resolution, just an idea of what is there. Hopefully this will keep you wanting more. I feel that there is a big difference to making man-made art, created in the studio by the human hand, to art, which was created by technology. I made both; I used technology and every (hands-on) method, media and material on which I could get my hands on, in the process of making my art. I also do not feel that art created by technology can replace that which was made by hand, but that computers just exist as another tool open to me. My studio work and abstract art has been invented and altered and in many ways speak about ideas and influences that have affected my life, as does my computer art". To see some small examples of my art please CLICK HERE or Internet surf below...