The university I attended didn't offer a journalism program, so I was an "English [Writing]" major, for whatever that was worth. To balance out all my fiction-writing classes (which, incidentally, were a colossal waste of time -- fiction is a discipline I have absolutely zero aptitude for), I signed myself up for a slew of studio art classes. I'd toyed with becoming an art major at one point, but an art degree from the particular college I attended probably wouldn't have meant very much. If I'd been serious about art, I would have chosen a different school.
In any case, during the final two years of my college days, I found myself spending huge amounts of time in Cleveland Hall, the old art building. A huge, hulking converted gymnasium on the edge of the campus, Cleveland Hall felt very much apart from the rest of the school, and was endearingly slathered in colorful splashes of paint on the inside. I was such a regular, in fact, that I was given a key in due course, and accordingly spent lots of time there in the small hours, painting and cranking music on Cleveland Hall's weathered, paint-splattered communal boombox. A true road-test of any new album for me was whether it sounded good coming out of that boombox in the vast space of the painting room (a former basketball court).
As far as my actual art was concerned, I'm afraid it wasn't much better than the fiction-writing I'd been struggling with. Overwrought, pretentious and dubiously-executed (not unlike this blog, actually), my paintings may have demonstrated a tenuous grasp of the medium, but none of them really meant anything. I lived off campus during my senior year, and my housemates were generous enough put one of my paintings -- a huge canvas featuring a masked surgeon with fire coming out of his eyes alongside a New Wavey redhead with mirrored sunglasses I'd cribbed from a car stereo advertisement -- over the mantlepiece in the living room. By the end of the year, everyone was sick of it -- myself included.
After I graduated in 1989, I dutifully carted all my paintings back to New York, and even put some of them up on my walls for a while. When I moved downtown in the mid-90s, they all came with me again, only to be shoved into the back of a closet. When I got married in 2001, my paintings joined a vast pile of other bullshit on a mass exodus to a Manhattan-Mini-Storage space on Varick Street, and they've been there ever since.
I've moaned about my storage problem in great detail here before, so I won't get back into it now, but suffice to say, I am now very close to closing it up for good. Today, my mission was to remove my paintings. Of the six that remained (I actually sold one to a college classmate -- somewhat unbelievably -- in 1989), I've decided to keep only two, one of them being the huge surgeon/New Wave babe one, although God only knows why. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the other ones, but I figured it would dawn on me as I was taking them out. Regardless, they had to go.
Then, I was struck with an idea. Armed with my trusty camera, I thought it would be worth preserving images of my paintings -- however undeserving they may be -- so I took a few snaps of them. Then, in keeping with my fascination for documenting street art, I decided to take them out of their ridiculous context and make a little street art of my own. The end results are the pictures below. And if I do say so myself, when placed amid the atmospheric textures of the street, they've truly never looked better.
Incidentally, if you actually like any of these pieces enough to want one, I'm not saying I left them there, but you might take a stroll around the West Village and see what you can see. Just sayin'.