Four Hundred NYC Cab Drivers Nicknamed Me “MADMAN”

It’s true, I was. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, during the days when New York was metamorphosing from a broke and dangerous town to a rich and dangerous town, I drove the night shift for Metro Cab. We had four hundred drivers working there. I was making money in order to art supplies (well, actually to buy drugs and booze), while dreaming of an art career and failing to show up for some very big opportunities, most memorably Robert Miller personally inviting me to bring work to him at his now AAA-list gallery. I don’t even know if he’s alive, but the gallery sure is.

Night Driver selfportrait oil on linen 24 inch square 1985

Night Driver (SelfPortrait) 85o01 oil on linen 24 x 24 inches

As you can see, at least by the title, this painting is a self-portrait. It is a temporary insert, shot with my iPhone4, until I can shoot it properly with the high-end equipment and strobes that I usually use. I dug the piece out of my 93-year old Mom’s basement when I was visiting the other day. I drove my cab drunk, stoned and crazed. I also painted simultaneously while driving. Not oils, but rather pencil, ink or watercolor in special nearly square sketchbooks that I carried with me always. Now and again I will be posting more Views from a Yellow Cab which I have been scanning from those old notebooks.

This painting is a special form of realism; I am grateful that I have not had a drink or a self-prescribed drug in over 24 years. I’m in love with whom I have become; while my work may still be gut-wrenching at times, it is never such a clear view of the interior of Hell.

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