The Boy Looked At Johnny
January 16, 2003. Middle of the afternoon.
My painting class appears as if it will be a challenge.
Henry Chodkowski, the instructor, is an abstract
expressionist of the old school. He wants us to prepare an
artist's statement for the next class, one that is purely
conceptual. What do I want to paint? That's a good
question. I'll lie awake and night and think on that. What
do I have to say? Last semester I concerned myself so much
with purely technical matters that I gave no thought to
concept or subject.
I visited Joel's studio the other day. That boy is putting
out some fantastic work. Tears-in-my-eyes fantastic. Images
of Chinatown, submerged in a haze of encaustic medium,
faint Chinese calligraphy and a good working knowledge of
contemporary German painting. It's a perfect marriage of
technique and concept, and I told him as much: the
technique is excellent, in the first place. The images are
painted beautifully and not overstated, and his command of
collage, encaustic and drawing all play into the work as
well. The concept is pristine as well: an intelligent,
artistic young man's impressions of Chinatown, nothing
pretentious or glib about it. It's very inspiring, as
almost nothing else in my immediate circle seems to be at