When did you first realize you were an artist?
I think I first realized I was an artist when I was still a toddler and I “drew” pictures on pieces of scrap paper that my father used to hand me when he discarded manuscript pages from something he was writing. My father was a world-renowned physicist.
Could you tell us about your work?
First of all, I love to draw, I love to create works that show artistic effort, but also are ripe with intellectual and emotional contemplation. I understand and fully appreciate the historical place that modern art has in the evolution of western art, from Picasso, Matisse and Kandinsky to contemporary installations, due to my art history background, but I am primarily a traditionalist at heart, at least in the idea that I cannot create a work of art that is not full of dimension, emotion, recognizability on some level, and very often has a humorous quality to it. I am comfortable in creating Romantic landscape and seascapes, and even some cityscapes, humorous characters, such as a family of Irish faeries, caricatures of people from history, politics, entertainment and the news. I am also very comfortable in a variety of media including pencil, pen and ink, colored pencil, watercolor, oil and clay.
What artists have influenced your work?
That’s an easy one. Ancient Greek sculptors, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio, Winslow Homer, Alfred Thompson Bricher, Frank Frazetta, Brian Froud, Alan Lee and numerous caricaturists, particularly David Levine and Jack Davis.
What is your creative inspiration?
That’s a bit more difficult to nail down. I am actually often inspired by occurences in every day life; things I read, things I hear on the news, the brilliant combination of a cobalt blue sky behind summer leaves lit from behind by the sun, the turn of a woman’s graceful hand hanging onto a strap on a New York City subway, my children, music; it’s endless. And of course, it goes without saying that I am also inspired by the work of the masters and others, I mentioned above and the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe.
What other interests do you have besides creating art?
I am kind of a well-rounded creative person. I write short stories (over 33 of them), I have written poetry since I was about seventeen-years-old and I am trying to finish up my first full-length novel (a thriller); I am a singer songwriter and occasional performer. I have also been a calligrapher since I was 18 years old, when I produced my first hand-made Jewish marriage contract, known as a ketubah. Some believe the original text can be as old as 2500 years. Married couples from Florida to Boston to New York City to Buffalo to Alaska, were married with “my ‘ ketubot. I have even designed alphabets in both Hebrew and English.
What advice would you give to a new artist?
If you are determined enough and privileged enough to be able to live your dream of becoming an artist, do it with all of your heart, whether or not you can earn an income from it. It’s always worth it in the end.
Could you give some advice about the business side of being an artist?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
If I am not an arthritis plagued, toothless, grumpy, bed-bound senile old coot in ten years, I would like to be painting Romantic landscapes of the Western United States and the Israeli countryside, as well as scenes from Jerusalem, still playing songs on my Martin D-35 acoustic guitar, barking out folk, rock and original tunes and in general, just enjoying being alive, if the apocalypse under which we are now suffering hasn’t completely destroyed this planet by then.
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