Thursday, May 19, 2011

my last performance in paris

good gravy, i didn't know anyone was watching! yet i'm immortalized by ben willis in 'THE TAO OF ART':

Many years ago when I was an art student in Paris there were numerous colourful characters living beneath the bridges along the Seine on the Left Bank. Some of these were protesting students or long-haired Existentialists, the precursors of modern hippies, some of them simply vagabonds or derelicts. Since I was often drawing along the river I had the opportunity to study and even sketch some of these people.

I remember one in particular who by anyone's standards would be called the most disreputable of vagabonds, a tramp. He was always dressed in the same unbelievably tattered overcoat that reached his ankles, patched, baggy trousers (a rope for a belt), a crumpled fedora jammed about his ears and his feet wrapped in bundles of rags.

What distinguished my favorite tramp was that he danced - suddenly, joyfully, spontaneously, with or without music. When he danced - his arms floating lightly on the air to either side, his hands and fingers undulating expressively, his feet gliding surely and nimbly across the cobblestones, his body turning in parabolic, swirling, stately pirouettes to a measured inner rhythm only he could hear - he was pure poetry, and the bliss reflected in his crumpled, bearish face was a joy to see.

For he became something entirely free that soared above life but was at once life itself in all of its diversity, all its turmoil and all its spiritual heart. He wasn't intoxicated or mad - he was creating, with all he had, with the inner material of life, which is what creativity is.

yes, this was the me you didn't see. i sold out and became a star, as you know from my publicity photos:

this week i snapped portraits of 50 people revealing themselves: