“I always knew there was an underlying theme to Ethan’s art. You brought it to life. Your impression & adaptation of Ethan’s work and the context, in which you presented it, are dead on! You have come to know my son through his work. The collage is truly Ethan! Thank you Fred for this beautiful keepsake and amazing work of art!”
Ethan says: “I love my collage. It’s good” [He gives a thumbs up.]
“The collage that Fred created from our eight year old son’s art work captures many expressions of Liam’s personality. Fred’s work, aptly named ‘Love is. . .’ takes us on a journey through years of development and blossoming of our son’s creativity. This beautiful composition highlights many dimensions of Liam’s life. We see his portrayal of family, friends and classmates and his own sense of self as seen through the imaginary characters he creates. In addition to being a priceless chronicle of Liam’s early development, Fred’s sense of composition and color contrast makes this a beautiful piece of art we treasure and enjoy.
Best of all, Liam is thrilled to have his art honored in this way.”
— Ellen, Liam’s mom
‘Sacred’ is the term this parent used to describe her son’s art, created through the pre-school to primary years. Most of his work was kept in boxes, under the bed, but that has recently changed.
Fred created a ‘one of a kind’ collage consisting of her son’s artwork . This includes the child’s drawings, paintings, doodles and words of wisdom. This archival work has captured the story of her boy’s journey into childhood. The finished collage measures 18″ x 24″. Now, these sacred treasures are admired by all that enter her home.
I completed the 3rd part, 'Home Sweet Home' first. I entered it in the National Collage Society's Annual Juried Show and it won a merit award. That was in October 2000.
This work symbolizes how different peoples arrived in the New World. Some were welcomed as emigrants and others arrived involuntarily, in cages.
What do you think the blacks thought about this great land of opportunity and freedom?
I next began on the second part, ‘Passage’. Due to a major auto accident, the completion of this piece was curtailed. When I was able to continue work on this piece, the images were too painful to deal with and I put them away. I completed another piece entitled ‘Venus Island’, then returned to and completed ‘Passage’.
How many of us know that . . .
“It is roughly estimated that Africa lost 50 million human beings to death and slavery in those centuries we call the beginnings of modern Western civilization, at the hands of slave traders and plantation owners in Western Europe and America, the countries deemed the most advanced in the World.”(A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn)
“The estimates vary. Anywhere from ten to twenty-five million Africans died in slave ships en route from Africa to the Americas.” “Yet one can scour the commemorative architecture of the nation’s capital and find little evidence that America’s racial holocaust ever occurred.”(The Debt, Randall Robinson)
I believe ‘Passage’ is self explanatory.
This project took well over one year from start to completion. The three parts are ‘Birth’, ‘Passage’ and ‘Home Sweet Home’.
The name came to me first and I scribbled a rough draft of what the piece would look like. At that time, I had no idea how involved I would become or how complicated a project I had taken on.
I began work on the first piece in the series, ‘Birth’ at the end of the process. This part was the most difficult to compose and was completed the last week of June 2001. In this segment I wanted to show the vibrant birth of Africa against the stark birth of colonial slavery. This is the beginning of the story, so to speak, and I needed it to make an impact.
Do you think I succeeded? – Fred
Taxiii . . .
When I returned from Vietnam I held many different jobs for short periods of time. For more years than I can remember I drove a New York City taxicab at nights and had a multitude of memorable experiences doing so.
I once picked up three young people, a woman and two men in the wee hours of the night and drove them down to Soho. They were smoking marijuana and offered me some. I’d like to say I declined and we laughed and joked all the way to their destination. They got out and one of the men poked his head back in through the open window and said, “You have just had Patty Hearst in your cab”. Afterwards I thought the FBI might be tailing me. I’m happy to say that thought didn’t stick around for very long.
One late afternoon five guys jumped in and I drove them to a boarded up building in the middle of the South Bronx. In every direction, as far as I could see, all the buildings appeared to be burned out and unoccupied. I remember thinking it looked like a war zone. The men got out and one of them said, “I’m leaving my jacket here, so you know we’ll be back to pay you in a few minutes.”
I reached back, heaved the jacket through the window and headed back downtown.
There was a period of unconsciousness when I threw safety out the door and caution to the wind. I once screeched to a halt in front of a couple that had stepped out of a midtown hotel. They got in and I pulled away from the curb before their passenger door was fully closed. The man fell back on top of his female companion and from there blurted out an address in the West Village. We were weaving in and out of traffic, just fast enough to catch the lights turning yellow. I shot through a couple of red ones too. I glanced at them through the rear view mirror. Her eyes were staring ahead, tea saucer wide. He was sitting forward, frozen, gripping the back of the front seat. It was all cool. I knew what I was doing. They just didn’t knew I knew. He didn’t tip me.
I had conversations with a number of notable people. Let’s see. There was Aretha Franklin, Walter Cronkite and the Rifleman, Chuck Conners. There were others but as the passing years fade, so do the memories.
Hey woman, run next door and tell Charlie we’d like some hotdogs.
What did you say?
What, I gotta repeat myself? This is the fourth of July. We supposed to have hot dogs.
You must have lost your mind. The shock of them repossessing our clothes, furniture and everything else and throwin’ us out here in the goddamn street this mornin’ must a made you an instant retard. Since you got out, you ain’t had a job in 10 years and they jus took away my unemployment. How we gonna eat hot dogs? We sittin’ out here in street, in the god damn rain. You lucky Charlie felt sorry for your pitiful ass and got you that beer.
Honey, I jus . . .
Don’t honey me. I gotta think bout what we goin’ do now.
Honey I think we . . .
Now you goin’ think? Just drink your beer and shut the fuck up. You want a hot dog, pull it out of your god damn underwear.
bang bang banging
on the door.
“Open up! It’s the police!”
I look down
at the busted jug
and at the dent
in the wall, where the statue
whizzed past my head.
Sure, I could have left
run away years ago
but each time
we took another gamble.
The gambling is over.
I step over him and open the door.