brushes with artists I have met
I have always felt that I should make an effort to meet the people that have inspired me.
Particularly artists. Here is a list of where I am at so far....
I met Andy Warhol twice. The first time was when i was attending Parsons School of Design in New York. I was living in an apartment in Union Square along with twelve other roommates. One of my buddies came rushing upstairs one afternoon and exclaimed that Warhol was two floors below at an art opening. He knew I liked his work and said I better hurry before he left the art show. I bolted downstairs and right as I opened the door, Andy was standing there with a stack of Interview Magazines in his hand. He said hello and we chatted a bit and he gave me a copy of the magazine.
Bob Rauschenberg is one of my favorite artists. I have met him at least four times that I recall. We enjoyed each other each time I was able to have a nice visit with him. A truly wonderful human being and a joy to get to know. He has signed many items for me over the years including the Talking Heads album he designed for them. One of the profound things he said when talking with him was when he said "everything you see is important."
Roy Lichtenstein was so sweet to me. I met him at the Gemini Gallery in Hollywood at a Bob Rauschenberg art opening. He was there to honor his good friend. He was pretty old at the time we met. I remember his hands were shaking a bit. I asked him to sign a card I had with me. He signed it but didn't like the signature and asked me for another card. I gave him another one and he signed again. He liked that one better. The both looked identical to me.
I have met Jeff Koons twice. A true gentleman, always sharply dressed in a tailored suit. Very kind as well. I like how he gets things done using lots of people to make it happen.
I met Damien Hirst at the Gaggosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. It was quite cool to meet this Brit and to see his work in person. Damien is unique in a lot of ways. One of the things I find interesting is that he is buying up a lot of his art on the secondary market to control the price of it. Pretty smart cookie.
I have met Frank Gehry on three occasions. I am told he rarely signs autographs. Each time he signed something for me.
The key here is what I brought for him to sign. One time I brought a fish pillow. I took the stuffing out of it and had it tucked in my jacket. When i met him I asked if he would sign the fish, he looked shocked that i would have that with me, so he signed it. The second time he signed a book that he produced along with Claus Oldenburg and his wife Coosie.
Frank O. Gehry
David Hockney was at an opening of Bob Rauschenberg's at the Gemini Gallery in Hollywood. I took several pictures of him and Bob hamming it up. They seemed to get along like good friends. David Byrne and Dennis Hopper were also at this night's opening.
I met Claes Oldenburg and his wife Coosie at Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, CA for a presentation of an art project of a knife boat. It was produced along with Frank Gehry and they all three signed my book at the event.
I met Jim Dine in Los Angeles at a gallery opening. I think it was at Bobbie Greenfield Gallery, but not sure. I had bought a print of his in New York many years earlier when I was attending Parson's School of Design. I took the print out of the frame, rolled it up and also grabbed a hammer from my workshop. Off I went to the gallery. When I approached him, I showed him the hammer (He had done a lot of art with hammers in the past),... he put "J.D." on it. Cool. Then I rolled out the print and he wrote "To Mark Allen" and signed it as well. Coolnees.
I got on a plane from Austin to Houston to meet Larry Rivers when he spoke at a Jewish synagog about his art career. I met him and he signed my book. I am a big fan of his work. He tackled figurative work when the whole art world was focused on abstract expressionism. I like that he also played saxophone in a band every Friday night in New York's Greenwich Village.
I met Christo twice. The first time was in Austin, Texas when he gave a talk about his projects. The second time was in Los Angeles when he installed the yellow umbrellas up the coast.
Christo Vladimirov Javacheff
I met Donald Judd at the Laguna Gloria Art Museum in Austin, Texas. He was a very sweet guy that was very open to talking and we talked for quite a while.
I had a nice visit with Nancy Keinholtz. It was at a retrospective for her husband Ed and her work. For some reason she took me under her wing and gave me and a few others a private tour of some of the exhibit. She offered up a lot of insights on the art work.
I have met Julian Schnabel twice. He is a hand-full to put it nicely. I like some of his paintings and love his Basquiat movie, but he has a pompous ego. Not someone I would like to have a drink with.
I met Ed Moses on several occasions. We both hung out at Hal's Bar & Grill in Venice, CA., so we saw each other often. A very nice person and a very dedicated artist.
I met Chuck Close when he rolled in to my booth at the Scope art fair in Miami. He was by himself and seemed very comfortable with moving through the exhibits in his wheelchair getting an up-'close' look at the art.
I met Leo Castelli at Laguna Gloria Art Museum in Austin, Texas at an art show that featured several of his artists. He was a true gentleman and he signed a book for me. Many years later I met him again in his New York gallery in Soho.
I met Larry Gaggosian at his Beverly Hills gallery during the Jeff Koons opening. I had a nice conversation with this successful global gallerist.
I met Paul Rand one evening in Beverly Hills. There were about 30 people in this small cafe. He talked about some of his projects and talked about the future. He was a man of vision.
I saw Saul Bass quite a bit. He was on the Advisory Board of the Los Angels chapter of the A.I.G.A. during the time that I was Vice President of Development. There were lots of meetings, and he always showed up and gave insightful guidance. He gave me some good advice regarding going to New York to set up a second studio, he said go! It will be a great experience for me. I took his advice and he was right.
There are some people that are followers. Some people that are leaders. Saul was a leader.
I met Wolfgang Weingart at a lecture that he gave in Los Angeles. The way he spoke was like no other speaker I had ever experienced. During the lecture, he passed around silk screen film positives for the audience to touch and examine. No speaker that I had ever listened to had been so open in sharing his techniques and the secrets of his creativity.
I sat next to Milton Glaser in San Antonio, TX at an A.I.G.A National Conference. Then I moved over one seat and let my Dad sit next to him. My Dad is as big a fan as I am, so seniority weighed in and I let my Dad take in the moments with the king of graphic design. Every time I have heard Glaser speak, he has enlightened me about something, he has a vast knowledge on many topics.
I first met April Greiman when I was working as a senior designer at Sebastian International. She worked briefly with us
as a design consultant. After I left Sebastian I went to meet with her at her studio in downtown LA. It was about 11 in the morning. She graciously offered me a glass of wine. I accepted and she tried to open a bottle of wine and it broke. She worked on opening a second bottle of wine and something happened to that as well and she then got a third bottle and got it open. After all that, she poured me a glass and none for her. I felt pretty bad about her going to all that trouble. I think I had two sips of wine. (I'm a tequila guy.)
Margo Chase was always very kind to me. She hired me to work on several projects. She was amazed that I still did everything by hand. One of her key staff members asked me
if I would consider joining them as a designer, which I was
very flattered for the offer.
Mike Salisbury has hired me to work on several projects over the years. I always enjoyed meeting him in Venice and having a cocktail and discussing things. I designed his signature that he uses in his promotions and I have designed some of his signature t-shirts called 'Salisbury 62'.
artist I would like to meet
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