I am fascinated by what lays beneath the surface of the shiny, clean and accepted. The carnival that once was new and bright but is now creaky and run down. The faded elegance of an old tuxedo being worn by one believes “that is the proper way to dress“. The surgically enhanced body. Happy paint chipping away to reveal a rusted damaged body. Growing up one of my influences was the transparent anatomy pages that when flipped reveal blood and muscles intense and brilliant.
I take a similar approach in creating my subjects. I want to expose what they are thinking, their urges and how they see themselves. I present them inside out. Who they are becomes how they look and how they interact with each other. And they are all desperate for the goodtime that will eventually lead to disappointment.
The bright colors and the rust. Colors so potent that you imagine that the formula used to make them caused severe illness to their inventors. The creaking, cranking and'a belching of the aging rides. Blurring mechanical metal spinning tiny cars whose performance sounds almost like a wheeze. The horror house with the larger than life nude demon statue provocatively covering his manly (?) bits with his pitchfork. What kind of idiot mad genius designed that! The sickly salty smell that on the most humid hot of July days that takes on Alka Seltzer pungency. And the faces of the amusement park workers - hard lined, ruddy and eyes beyond blood shot - more like blood explosions. The bodies - men wire thin with muscled arms snaked with popping veins and faded tattoos. Their smell an elixir of booze, body odor and Vitalis. Women with swinging hips, candy lips, and a layer of fat curling over their hot dog skin-tight capris. Canary hair the same color as the hot buttered radioactive corn being sold on the boardwalk. As you are handed your strip of ride tickets you pick up the stale waft of baby powder. By the food stand adorned with a rocket perched like a cherry are the darkened halls of a bar whose members sit in silence staring at world in a glass. Even darker, smaller and secretive is the bar under the subway station. Perhaps the risk of walking two blocks in the sun, to the joyous in comparison boardwalk bar, is too great. Hovering over all the people, the rides, the beach and surf- like an invisible force field - is the scratching, screeching Geiger counter reading melodies of a thousand transistor radios all on the same station and all sounding different. And feeding it like a foot to accelerator is laughter. All ages, all times, from human and machine - laughter. Coney Island in the 1960's.
The waitress in fishnet stockings at the Manhattan ice cream parlor called The Flick. Running home after school to watch Zacherle. And fireworks. The sawdust under my feet and smell of animals at my first circus. When I jumped 10 feet in the air startled by Moondog; his Viking helmet over his eyes and spear in hand. The over exposed photograph of my wife and children at a carnival in West Palm Beach - pimples and freckles glowing like Christmas lights - eyeballs the color of possessed soul red. The Beta tapes I never watched. And fire works. Paying five bucks to sit front row at a wrestling match (with the Cuban Assassin!) in Antigonish Nova Scotia. The topless girl I spoke to at 60’s Psychedelic Night in a Tribeca club that I did not realize was topless- long story. Billy Something-or-other, damaged by drug abuse, hammering a nail up his nose at the Kutztown State Fair. Winding up at a dive on Canal Street with the entertainment selling very personal favors. My 4,000 albums disorganized but safe in my basement. The real freak shows and fake freak shows. And fireworks.