Wounded I closed the passenger car door. Somehow my right hand was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I screamed as the blood sprayed out of my smashed middle finger. Surgery resulted in a titanium pin holding the middle phalanx artificial bones together.
The Other Shore In the early '80s, I was working as a textile designer for the American firm Jim Thompson Thai Silks in Bangkok. I was paid very well, but my very talented Thai co-workers were not, nor were they otherwise treated fairly. Unethical practices — not atypical in the overseas corporate world — lead to my quitting the job.
I graduated from the masters' program in painting at CCNY in June of 1966. I had been in school since kindergarten. It was the time many of my friends were sent off to Vietnam. It was the time I was being interrogated by the New York Police Department for a possible involvement in the suspicious suicide of my friend, Porter Tuck, aka El Rubio de Boston — the most renowned American bullfighter.
My American dream was nowhere in sight so I bought a one-way ticket to Paris and withdrew all the funds from my savings account — $300. I stayed away for 12 remarkable and colorful years.
I painted this while I was in graduate school, and it is representative of the type of work I was doing at that time.
If anyone had told me that my future as an artist would involve ironing — almost on a daily basis — and that I would be folding fabrics I had dyed, printed, stitched and painted, I would not have believed it.
My mother studied dance with the famous Isadora Duncan. I loved the formality of classical ballet so I started taking classes at a young age.
I learned about musicality, discipline and cooperation, and also the darker sides of gossip, competition and obsession. In my late teens, I showed “great promise,” and was being trained for ballet stardom by a renowned teacher and former star of the Ballets Russes.