Most of my friends here in New York are native New Yorkers, and most of them were born and raised in Brooklyn. My friend Cary is one of them. She's actually a third generation New Yorker. Her grandparents have lived in the same house in Queens since the late forties - her great-grandfather bought the land for her grandmother, Florence, when she got married. A painter, she designed the house herself. And so Cary's mother and aunts grew up in the house designed by their mother and built by their grandfather, and years later as a child Cary and her brother would spend most weekends there, hanging out with their grandmother in her art studio upstairs, drawing and dancing around while her grandmother painted and smoked marijuana. You heard me. Pot smoking grandma. Oh yeah.
So when Cary invited us to her grandmother's 90th birthday party last week, Ariele and I were really excited to get to see the house and especially Florence's art studio upstairs. Florence is such a strong woman and a great artist that we felt very special to be allowed in there. And then, in a corner of her studio, we found a bunch of very old paintings she did when she was in art school in Syracuse in the early forties. They were amazing! Mostly portraits of Syracuse locals and a fair amount of nudes. And whereas they were done by a twenty-year-old art student, they show such a delicate and warm attention to their subject and a confident sense of colors and patterns. And most of all they fit perfectly with the atmosphere we want to create for this restaurant. We told Florence about our project and asked if she'd like the paintings to be shown in California and she loved the idea. With Cary's blessing we selected a few to take with us to the West Coast.
We're so, so happy and feel so strongly about these paintings.
Here's a sneak peak:
Meet Marcello, Estelle and Buck-Naked (aka Naked Pants, aka Tits Ahoy!)