In the early eighties nobody had any money and we all moved around the city a lot. Starting out down on East third street, between ave A and B, it was a tough neighborhood, Tompkins square park was called murder park back then, and for good reason. That little apartment was my first studio and I painted like a fiend, lookng at everything i could. We stole five gallon cans of paint they used on subways from the tunnels when we needed it.
School lasted a couple years, until the money ran out. Rodney Greenblat was in my sculpture class, Keith Haring was just a couple years ahead of me. That was the year SVA started their art abroad program. Six weeks in Tangier, painting with Don Eddy and becoming good friends with artist Tom Kinder, and writer Rodrigo Rey Rosa. After coming home I worked as a motorcycle messenger, cab driver, factory worker, truck driver, and all around thug. That was the year of the big Guston show. An epiphany for me. He died in 1980, and i was just getting started. It seemed natural to pick up where he left off, and even today, thirty six years later, I think about him all the time.
My studio moved from Manhattan to Flushing. Then Long Island City, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint. We fixed motorcycles in front so the studios always had a rough shop quality. Drill press, work bench, grinders, welders, tools, guns, knives and pieces of stripped bikes hanging around. Littered with broken bottles and discarded bits of metal, smashed things, lengths of chain and spools of welding wire, there was always an industrial feel and smell. The big dirty city was a violent playground.
The work is my story, it's not just about the paint.