How long have you been working here?
About 10 years.
Can you talk a bit about your work?
All pieces are made from high quality industrial wire mesh. I mold each one by hand, so all my pieces are unique.
Can you talk a bit about the history of street art vendors here?
Well, this has been going on every weekend for about 30 years. Mayor Lindsay was the man who opened up the streets to three forms of art expression: visual art, performance, and literature based on freedom of speech, and every mayor since then has been trying to shut it down.
A lot of people don't know this but this area, up until about 30 years ago was all galleries and artists lofts. And all the retail store and restaurants and store you see down here were all uptown. They had seen a lot of tourists coming down to the art district and decided to move. And they moved in and moved in and moved in, and a lot of the galleries moved out. There's very few artist lofts left, so the artists on the streets, technically speaking, are the last vestiges of what this was about.
What's it like working on the street with so many galleries around. Do you feel you cater to a different audience?
[The galleries] are following on the heels of what used to be a legitimate scene here 25-30 years ago. A few are legitimate but more than half of the so-called galleries are following suit, and they're not ground breakers by any means.
Do you work with any galleries?
There are a few galleries that carry my work, but if you talk to other artists, you'll realize that galleries don't always work out. If I'm of a dozen, 12 or 15 artists in a gallery I might sell one or a couple pieces in a month's time, if I'm lucky I can sell eight or 10 pieces in a weekend.
Who usually purchases your work?
Well, this spot along the street is a premium spot, so I meet people from all over the world. Billy Crystal has purchased a piece, most of the crew and cast members of Law and Order, the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Naomi Watts and her husband were here, Leiv Schreiber. And not just luminaries, but wonderful people too.
What's the most challenging thing about working here?
People think you just set up here and it's easy. I travel 3.5 hours to get here. I'm a retired art teacher and use this to subsidize my social security. I can't make a living up north, but here I can make a living.