I can’t believe I’m writing this.
But Julia and I are moving to LA. There — I said it.
We thought we’d never leave New York, and we surely never thought of moving to LA — that is, until we visited a couple weeks ago. The world has its way of throwing surprises, and we will soon be residences of the Venice area.
It’s bittersweet, we love New York. Many of our friends are here, and those who are not visit often, because it’s New York. For years we dreamed of moving here. We finally did four years ago, and it’s lived up to its legacy. Please allow me to try to capture just a little bit of the past four years here as a record, I’m feeling nostalgic (and a bit choked up) already.
NYC is our neighborhood
There is no way to express what NY means to me. Even after four years I barely know her, but I am happy to have been able to call this city home. The towering monuments here merely exist to support the people, and the people are amazing. All of the following would be meaningless if it were not for the friends we’ve met along the way.
Our first night in town, we watched the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks show on the Hudson with friends. When I was on the local news to talk about my Emoji Daydream project, it was filmed at NBC’s studios at Rockefeller Center. I learned that it’s hard to tell what is art and what is not when walking around Chelsea, becuase everything is amazing. We went to Madison Square Garden for the world championship bull riding, and another time to see Leonard Cohen.
One time Julia and I led a group of 30 people on a 5 mile photo walk around the city that ended in an all you can eat/drink Italian meal under the Williamsburg Bridge. When family visited, we took them to the top of the Empire State Building or a sail on the Hudson to view the Statue of Liberty. When I worked in DUMBO for over three years, I walked under the Manhattan Bridge at least twice a day, and would often walk to the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge and back on my lunch break just to clear my head. I once ran a loop (in the rain) to Manhattan and back, across the Manhattan Bridge and back on the Brooklyn Bridge. We often find ourselves near the High Line after a rain or just before dusk when it’s empty, and get to enjoy it as if it belonged only to us.
We once, somewhat randomly and at the last minute, were able to see Hal Willner perform Ginsberg poetry accompanied by Philip Glass on piano in a packed corner room arts space in the East Village. Our local wine merchant for nearly four years was a Polish expatriate named Adam who, with 12 of his friends, was allowed into this country by President Reagan himself, and there is a book written about it. We live one block from the best New York pizza I’ve ever had, and I’m “a local” there. We joined thousands of people to protest police brutality, as well as marched in the Millions March NYC with 30,000 other New Yorkers. The list goes on…
I’m originally from Wyoming, where the nearest monument is a big rock named after the animal it kinda used to look like before it was weathered down. I don’t take New York or its people for granted for one second.
We survived two major hurricanes, an earthquake, and embarassingly weak snowmageddon, and a tornado. Funny story about the earthquake: I was playing foosball with some friends in the Big Spaceship kitchen, we were getting pretty heated — yelling and laughing — when someone came in and said, “You guys caused an earthquake!” We apologized for being too loud when she clarified, “No, really, there was an earthquake!” Oh!
I made a lot of work outside of my day job over the past four years. As you may know, I took a photo of the Kentile Floors (#dailykentile on Instagram) sign almost every day for about 3.5 years, until it was finally removed from its towering perch over the Gowanus area. Once it was gone I started making the series that became Emoji Daydream (#emojidaydream on Instagram). And throughout the entire four years, I posted unmistakably Brooklyn scenes to Instagram with the hashtag #bkomg. I was happy to see all three hashtags adopted by others, and #bkomg even has its own site, thanks to my friend Stacey Mulcahy.
I was also very fortunate to show three of my paper collages alongside the works of Milton Glaser, Debbie Millman, my dear friend Paul Soulellis, and a bunch of other great artists. (more info here)
I’m interested to see how LA will change my work. Most of what I’ve made in NY has been in transit with my iPhone. Since I will be biking to work in LA, I won’t have that down time. Perhaps I’ll be able to give my computer-based side projects their due time. I will say though, I’ve made more art with my iPhone than any other thing ever.
What we’ll be doing
So what brings us to LA? Well, Julia has some great photo opportunities and will continue to travel and freelance (you can hire her here), and I took a new job. I’m joing Deutsch as Creative Director, Digital Platforms.
It’s incredibly exciting and deeply saddening at the same time. I’ve moved around my entire life, and it never gets easier to say goodbye to a place and its people, which is why we named this post “BRB, NYC”. We’ll be back. If not to move here, at least to visit as often as possible.
(Pictured at top is a photo of me and Julia’s shadows on the toxic yet charming Gowanus Canal.)