Yesterday started like most of my days: Banana Nut Crunch cereal, tea, and a grapefruit. I got right to work while still in my pajamas. Fielding e-mails, writing invoices, making sketches, and researching reference material on the internet. I used to have an intern to help with this stuff, but her schedule became too demanding, and she had to quit. It's about time I got another intern.
Outside, the sunshine beckoned. "What are you doing inside? Are you crazy? You can't live like a mole! Get out and live!" it said. And in a way, it was right. But a man's gotta eat. I had work to do. I buckled down and did it. Looming over me was a contest deadline as well. The annual spot illustration contest entries must be in today, and I haven't even started my application yet. I still don't know if I will. I have a hard time paying for the privilege of being judged. Imagine if Tom Cruise had to pay to be considered for the Oscars.
Before long, it was 4 p.m., and my stomach was verbalizing its discontent. I hit the streets with my bicycle and rode to Chinatown to get some lunch. I have a sort of love affair with Chinatown. Yeah yeah, I know, it smells like fish and the people spit everywhere. But it's the neighborhood that is most alive. And the least self conscious. Everytime I go to Chinatown I feel energized; I want to draw everything and everyone. I feel the opposite in Little Italy (except during the San Gennaro Festival). The non-discerning tourist thinks of Chinatown and Little Italy as though they are exhibits at Disney's Epcot Center. Chinatown is not that. Little Italy may as well be.
Although I was starving, I found myself drawn to sketch. A crowd had gathered on Mott Street to watch a portraitist draw a young girl. Perfect subjects! The people were all engaged and standing still. It was like they were posing for me. Of course, I had to endure scrutiny from a few observant bystanders. One man encouraged me. "Very good!" he said. Eventually even the portraitist caught wind of me, and when I looked up from my drawing, he gave me the thumbs up. I felt a little embarrassed.
I went across the street and feasted on my favorite meal at Sweet n' Tart: Beef Chow Fun and "Chinese vegetables" in oyster sauce. You can order these dishes elsewhere, but they won't taste as good as here.
After my lunch/dinner ("Dunch"? "Linner"?) I rode over to a group watercolor show at a Tribeca art gallery (DFN Gallery). My friend WA had told me about the show; she has a painting on exhibit there. The list of painters was an Olympic dream team: George Grosz, Saul Steinberg, Martin Mull, David Levine, Eric Fischl, 17 others ... and of course, WA. No Winslow Homer, though.
Riding back through Soho, I stopped at the Yamamoto store and chatted with my friend MH who works there. Later, when I got to Broadway, I finally dislodged a piece of Chinese vegetable that was stuck in my teeth. It had been bugging me for at least an hour.
That evening, I attended a party for the latest issue of a magazine called Nozone. Afterward my friends YS, SG, and TL joined me for a drink.