“You can step on my name, you can try and get me beat/ When I leave New York I’ll be standing on my feet”
Hard Times in New York Town ~ Bob Dylan
New York ripped me up like a line from a Bob Dylan song. I found myself behind the grimy wheel of a hand-me-down 1995 Toyota truck, pulling a U-Haul trailer. I was making an art delivery for my wife, Sally Jacobs, the abstract figurative painter. During these heightened times, the glory of being the painter’s husband shines. Or should I say — the peeling paint showed 190,000 miles of road weary wear and weather.
I went from the small town of Kings Mountain, NC (the most southern site of the Revolutionary War) to the pixilated streets of yellow moving taxi cabs in NYC. Not that I haven’t had my adventures in the City before, but I always swore I would never drive through the City, let alone pulling an obnoxious U-Haul trailer. The “cool” factor was just not there! I drove into the City from a friends in Dobbs Ferry and couldn’t take the Parkway because trailers were restricted. Therefore, I had to plot my way through the canyons of cement from 125th Street to 25th Street. Construction and sudden one way avenues corralled me into Times Square. There, I bounced through the morning traffic, keeping a steady beat with yellow vehicles decidedly stopping to triple parking. Colorful billboards of oily women in underwear floated about me (or at least that’s what I remember). My hands sweated all over the steering wheel. I imagined the Today Show’s cameras focused on this lost tourist and the laugh of Al Roker before the weather report. Every pothole and metal street covering I drove across made my moment in Times Square real. There was no reproducing this. I had seen people drive through Times Square on the movies, but that didn’t match the real experience.
The life as a husband to a painter is full of these types of moments. As a writer and videographer, most of my projects fit neatly in the codes of hard drive spaces on some server such as Vimeo or Dropbox. My work moves from state to state at the speed of fiberoptic Internet cables. This is not true for a four foot diameter painting weighing around 50 pounds. As I hear my wife talk about preserving painting in the changing art media world, I realize her passion is in preserving and sharing a physical experience for her viewers. Certainly, she moves me. I watch her mix paint on her pallet, push the paint about on her canvas, step back and forth in her studio, sometimes just to see her work from a distance. Then there is George, our son, who physically gets into her studio. He has his easel, his paints, and his smock. He mimics mom, moved by her as well. So when there is a collection of 10 or more paintings to be delivered, there is the physical world to travel. Thank God I am the husband of a painter. She moves me out into the world. Her shows are a call to others to interact in the world. She keeps the world real and relevant. With the fast paced world of the Internet, it is nice to know the medium of painting still exists. The tangible paint, the visible texture and thickness of the work, can never be completely reproduced online any more than my moment of driving through Times Square in morning traffic.
So ironically, I ask you to enjoy my video of my wife, Sally Jacobs, who expresses her passion for her work and her muse. Brought to you by the high speed of fiber optics! Then, I urge you to step out into the night for the Greenhill’s Winter Show and experience art.