Sunday, January 22, 2017

NYC 1980s Punkers

I knew a girl at work whose brother played bass for MURPHY'S LAW, a NYC hardcore punk band big in the 80s. She said they were looking for an artist to draw an album cover for them, and she asked me if I were interested. I was, and the band asked her to have me provide samples of my drawings. This is one that I sent to them. I can't recall if I sent anything else, but this drawing scotched my chance to draw their album cover. I made this sketch by drawing people from two photos in an article in NEW YORK Magazine about the NY hardcore scene. Apparently, someone in the band had a beef with one or both of these people in real life, and my having randomly chosen to draw them incurred his displeasure.  (I wasn't interested in the NY hardcore scene--or hardcore in general--so I was not familiar with the band's music or any of the internecine politics of the scene.)

Later, on a band trip to Los Angeles, the band member who was my work colleague's brother was stabbed to death in a completely random street encounter with a couple of young toughs.


These are drawings of skulls I made from the skeleton I have hanging in a room in my apartment. I have named the skeleton "Clarence," after a corpse in a comics story drawn years ago by my friend John T., a musician, artist and cartoonist. The name amused me. I bought the skeleton for the astonishing low price of $300.00 over 30 years ago. I was taking life drawing classes at the Art Students League (in NYC) and I decided I needed to learn the skeletal structure of the body.

(I had already been studying muscular anatomy via George Bridgman's book CONSTRUCTIVE ANATOMY, but I wanted to learn about what lay under the muscles. Later, I had a teacher, Eliot Goldfinger, who took the class to Hunter College downtown to examine a cadaver. First, Eliot lectured while referring to a cadaver hanging free so he could turn it around to show all sides of it. Then, we were invited to put on surgical gloves and manually examine another cadaver laying supine on a gurney. The experience was odd and fascinating.)

I found a small ad on the back pages of the Village Voice, advertising skeletons for sale. The low price was possible because the guy who ran the company--"Ossa Anatomical"--was preparing to purchase new skeletons, and we who ordered from him at this time could get an almost wholesale price. He supplied skeletons to art schools and medical schools and other interested parties. He operated out of a third floor loft on 14th Street, just west of 6th Avenue. All these years later, Clarence still presides over his area of my apartment.