Picture courtesy of Pat Little, circa 1989
For a long time now, I've wanted to make a film about my dad.
It's not easy knowing how to embark on a personal project such as this one, particularly since this will be my first attempt at something so introspective. For those of you who don't know, my father was a world-renowned artist. His career spanned more than half a century, and his best-known pieces-- lithographs and etchings of Central Park and scenes of Paris-- can be found in every major museum in the United States, as well as in many collections abroad. You can see some of his work here. I'm incredibly proud of my dad, who came from humble beginnings and managed to find success in a field riddled with competition and risk. Yet, like many great artists that came before him, my dad didn't necessarily mirror the successes of his career in his personal life. Married and divorced three times, he loved to quip, "My first wife was four years younger than me, my second wife was 14 years younger than me, my third wife was 30 years younger than me, and my fourth wife hasn't been born yet!" His irreverent take on monogamy and commitment fascinated me. How could a man so devoted to his art be so disengaged from his relationships?
When my dad died six years ago, the New York Times ran this obituary. In the years since his death, I've often wondered what my relationship with him would be like today. I've also wondered why I never bothered to learn more about his life while he was alive. I suppose my young age kept me from inquiring too deeply into his personal history (I was 19 when he died), but now that I am a little older, and perhaps have a greater appreciation for life and mortality, I'm starting to seek answers to the many, many questions I have about who he was.
If my dad were alive today, he'd be 85 years old. Many of his friends and former colleagues are in their mid- to late-eighties. I don't know the direction I want this project to go in, but I know that I don't have much time to waste, so I am trying to gather interviews from the people that knew my dad best. Below, I've strung together some rough selects from an interview I did with my dad's longtime friend, photographer Bill Coleman. Check it out.