One of the wonderful things about being an artist — we are always in an economic downturn. We’re used to being broke, in fact, we thrive on it, and so can you. “When you got nothin’ you got nothin’ to lose” – Bob Dylan. Of course, in this country, even with nothing, we live very well, and I have more than nothing, but if I lose that something, I can handle it. I know how to make a delicious meal from a can of tomato soup, a can of spam, and a few croutons. I can dress myself proper for the Oscars with two curtains and a bungee cord. I do not fret about my retirement because I don’t have a real job with a real desk and a real boss. I don’t have a real bank account, a real 401K, or a real investment portfolio. The artist’s life is virtual and takes place in the soul- and the soul’s survival techniques are seldom bankable.
For those of you who are spit angry with the Wall Street crowd, forgive them. They are extremely unhappy people. I hung around with them in the late 70’s during a bear market- in New York – where we all used to shake a stick and raise a glass at Dorian’s Red Hand, or red something – The guys used to send each other bottles of Dom Perignon, table to table, and compete. Who could send the most bottles to the most tables. I’m glad I was there. the third glass of Dom Perignon tastes like Brut, and the fifth glass tastes like Andre. Excess turns in on itself…exhausting the senses, killing them flat until nothing delivers a thrill. I treasure those years now. New York, Aspen, Newport. They taught me much more about life than my days living in a shower stall in Brooklyn. I tell you. Pity the beautiful people, they suffer.
I, for one, am not suffering. Cutting living costs further, I have moved into a loft space in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. It’s big enough for a roller derby, which is why I have just sewn up a prototype for an electric bathrobe. I grabbed two electric blankets and carefully added sleeves and buttons. Instead of a battery pack, I decided to use a long extension cord for manueverability. There will be no need to heat the palace this winter. I will be designing an electric face mask and electric scarf and bonnet tomorrow. I am sharing the loft with a sneaker designer for Reebok. He left for China this morning and has told me he doesnt care if I turn the loft into a cabaret. In another week you will be receiving an invitation to a party at the loft called Chair-Woman. I will ask that you bring a chair instead of, say, a casserole, and leave it with me so that I can begin to create a replica of a 1930’s Krakow speak-easy bottle club.
The great thing about living in a building with other artist’s — there are very few rules, especially in Pawtucket, the little city north of Providence. Industrial, noisy, messy, ignored by the world, Pawtucket is the perfect place to create. Creation can be messy and certainly not lucrative. I hope that Hank, the roommate, will design sneakers for my dog Howard. I don’t wear sneakers because when I put them on I feel like I should walk somewhere. I like to drive. I will be posting a pix of my electric bathrobe soon.