Portrait of the artist as a spotty, callow youth

I was fifteen. Had just rid myself of the meager mustache and the cracking voice, acquired a pussful of pimples. I was a curious combination of know-it-all and trembling violet; sure I was smarter and more tuned in than any adult but also terrified of most of my classmates, especially the girls. This was before Facebook and MySpace, and our only TV was a small black and white unit in my parents’ bedroom. So I had plenty of time on my hands, plenty of opportunity to write stories, build models, read “grownup” novels, and make art.

Recently I came across a sleeve of slides in a box in a drawer.  I haven’t seen the images or the originals in decades but they are still so familiar. I worked pretty long and hard on these paintings, balancing stretched canvases on my bedside chair or struggling with the compressor and airbrush that always clogged and spat up on my nascent work.

I think I was very self-conscious about the coolness of these images and how daring they might seem to my peers. I liked to think of myself as an artist, but there were much better artists than me, like my pal, Eric Drooker, or the super cool Ed Weiss. Still, I managed to get drawings in the school paper (this became easier when I became the editor) and the school yearbook. The big painting of the foot hung in our school library for a while. It looked like it was crashing through the ceiling onto the heads of unsuspecting readers.

(Click on one of the thumbnails to open a gallery of images)