Spirits in the material world

Today was a great day.

I didn’t want to go out in the rain and I did that thing where I laid in bed and told myself that cancelling was the right thing to do and no way could I get ready in time to leave the house and walk to the train and ride the train and walk from the train to get to the place in time.

I’m incredibly convincing whenever I’m trying to convince myself to stay in.

But Thursday evening taught me something. I’d been invited to an invitation-only talk at a mime academy in the city. I had no one to go with and no real motivation to go except that I’d RSVP’d at a time when I had infinite energy for future endeavors and if you don’t go, you don’t get invited back.

Begrudgingly I trodded off to the city to a mime academy in Chelsea called American Mime Theatre.

When I got there I was so nervous I started praying. I tried to read the program but none of the words would stick in my head so I mimed like I was reading, just to not look so awkward.

The talk was amazing. Hollis King, a visual artist, and former creative director of Verve Records, told stories about his life, about art school, advertising, designing album covers (for which he has four Grammy nominations), and his more recent animation projects. But even more importantly he said at least five things I needed to hear. Life is short. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Be a servant to your art. Be kind…people remember. Be brave and bold. Do your homework. Make art from conviction. Work work work.

He talked about making fellow Arizona-Sonora lady Linda Rondstat’s album cover when she wasn’t feeling great about how she looked and finding a way to capture her so she felt comfortable.

Afterwards, I got the courage to say hello. I told him I was a storyteller and an artist. I told him that the night before (at a kink share at The Oracle—this part I left out), I’d been talking with Julian about finding inspiration in new places and needing to keep an ear out for it. Like a prayer said in conversation. And here he was answering it.

Mr. King was gracious. He said to send him my work and we became Instagram friends. I’ll put a reel of my animations together to send him tonight.

So Thursday gave me the courage to go and meet Rafael in the city today at the Volta art fair. First I talked to Caithlin about putting together a database of all the sources we’re finding so it’s searchable and shareable: Astrology, Human Design, Psychic Abilities, Spirituality, Sexual Psychology, Polyamory, Community Building.

I get dressed in record time and headed out with what I soon will find out is a broken umbrella. The C is running on the F between Jay and W4th. It’s packed. There’s a couple next to me with three kids under seven. They’re an older couple with little kids who squirm and jostle in their galoshes. But eventually they get the kids to sit calmly and read books. By the time I get off at 14th, the whole family is just kinda sweet and affirming.

Rafael is stuck taking down artwork at a pop-up show. I take the time to buy a new umbrella at MUJI and two business card holders. One for Rafael and one for me. As talismans for our future business endeavors in art. Next to MUJI is this storefront:

Rafael sends me my ticket to the fair so I walk through very quickly, making note of each piece I want to point out to him later.

What to my wandering eyes should appear but giant portraits at the first visible booth from the entrance that feel familiar. I love them. I love the textile print they’re hung against. And I know I’ve seen them before.

April 18th, evening. Andrea and I walked up Second Ave to a movie theater to see Renfield and I stopped us on the way to take a photograph of paintings being installed in an unnamed art gallery to send to Rafael because I love them.

There’s no information about the art but I figure Rafael will know the gallery. He does not. And Google Maps doesn’t show a gallery at that spot.

So now it’s May 21, and there’s more of this artist’s work! I Google the name: Basmat Levin. It’s a woman. She’s Israeli. I want to go talk to the man at the booth but I decide to wait until Rafael shows up because he gives me courage. With him at my side I can walk through any gallery and talk to any artist or dealer. He even came with me to Pratt to see the end of year presentations so I’ve visited my future school and already gotten a feel for it.

Rafael shows up an hour and fifteen minutes late, composed under the pressure of his earlier work, the rain, and the general MTA chaos, and I give him his business card holder. I am not frustrated or annoyed. I’ve already walked the show and I’ve nowhere to be until 8, when my groceries are set to arrive.

We walk through the fair, which he’s already seen, and I point out the pieces I love. Our tastes overlap a lot so he loves them too. He veers more into the creepy than I do but we both have Mexican/Scorpio Rising tastes so creepy is our vibe.

At the end I decide to talk to the dealer at the first booth, the one with the paintings I love. I interrupt the dealer and a woman he’s sitting with to say how much I love the art. I ask the woman if she is the artist and it turns out she is! I show her the photo I’d taken a month before only to realize it’s her in the photo! She is tickled.

We talk a bit about tile and wallpaper, which are two of the places I find my art veering, and she invites me to her TriBeCa studio in July. She also tells me to visit a building at 1410 Broadway because her art is installed there in the elevators.

So lovely. So gracious.

Rafael’s evening plans are cancelled. Neither of us feel like rushing to the other art fair at Navy Yard on a ferry. So we get coffee and a cookie and sit down to talk at a nearby cafe. We talk about all the invitations we’re getting to shows and studios and openings. Who we want to engage with in terms of art directors at museums in the city, other curators, event planners and people who know how to throw permitted and unpermitted events. What Pratt is going to cost me (an arm, a leg, a kidney…). And I show him the variations of the logo I’ve been working on for our LLC for him to pick one.

And then I suggest we go look at high end furniture. Roche Bobois is my favorite and I haven’t been inside in over a year to look at the mah jong set.

On the walk there, we talk more planning. We need someone with marketing saavy. And we need to figure out the big scheme: personal collection/artist cultivation/gallery/museum. I mention that we both need life insurance and why. And then we pass the New York Life Insurance Building.

Inside Roche Bobois, I show him the Mah Jong. The Missoni one. The patio version with the white metal platform. The Kenzo version with the wooden platform. Rafael’s mother is an interior designer/furniture builder so we talk design, comfort, and function. We talk about what we want our eventual spaces (personal and office) to look like, feel like. We invent the world of the future. Rafael says, “This is all just hope.”

I say, “This is how it comes to be.”

We both got laughed at when we started making moves to come to the city. No one’s laughing now.

I’ve had all these false starts with with collaborators. Either they didn’t have the follow through or the gumption or whatever. Working with Tyler on the music for my video was the best. Writing a going away card for Travis with Nikola rocked. Collaborating with Rafael has already made my life richer, more dynamic, focused…a lot of things.

We walk to a Japanese place he likes to get musubi while discussing our current religious studies. Inside, they are playing nothing but Mexican music. We talk about places we want to live and the men we want to marry. And about British shows we love. He brings up a sketch that sounds familiar. I Google it. It’s Little Britain.

Computer says no

We walk to the A/C at Penn Station and I get a call: my grocery delivery is an hour early. I text Jack and Andre who lives on the first floor to see if they can open the door. They don’t respond. But Sade answers my call and lets the delivery guy in.

I get home and all my groceries are in the living room, thanks to Jack. Some are even already in the freezer! I bought enough food to stock the fridge and hopefully get me most of the way through September, when my financial aid comes in. Until then I will be playing it very, very conservatively because I’ve only got about $6,000 to spend, not including rent. I’m hoping friends will be generous and there won’t be any surprise expenses.

It takes me 45 minutes to put everything away. Lots of beans. Steaks I got on sale. Oatmeal. I know how to cook. And I know how to make food stretch. I learned how to economize. How to pay bills on time. How to budget. When to splurge.

Tomorrow I go back to the city to see a documentary on Hilda af Klint at the Metrogragh with an extended introduction from art historian and contributing author to Hilma af Klint: Tree of Knowledge Max Rosenberg. Hilda’s paintings are all things mystical and abstract and color. I can’t wait.

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