Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Drawing, and what it led to

When I was a kid, I was always drawing or eating Pop's chocolate creations. I was lucky. Mom was creative, she had been a seamstress in Paris and Pop was a candy maker.

They encouraged me and were always letting me use the good paper bags to draw on. Mom pushed the brown bags, but Pop let me cut open the good white bags. He was a sport, a "levendes" as they say in Greece.

I went to drawing classes at the Brooklyn Museum and then to SIA, an Art high school in Manhattan. I then attended Pratt Institute where I met my wife who happened to come from an Epirote background, actually Northern Greece, actually Albanian, same religion, made things easier for both of us and especially the families.

Pop and Mom were very advanced, they let me study what I wanted to, and never insisted on me being a doctor or a lawyer. Pop did have one caveat, "if you become an Artist do not become a sissy".

So drawing, horses mostly, led to a job with an International Ad do something you love, it mostly works out. Never got to use my drawing of horses in any ads.

Coney Island then

Coney Island at that time was an amazing place. We lived 2 blocks from the boardwalk, it was only 1 block from Pop's store. The "magazi" was called the Paradise Luncheonette and Ice Cream Parlor. It was on Surf Ave. and we lived on Mermaid Ave. The other avenue in Coney Island was Neptune Ave. Great names, great avenues. The streets that connected them were uncreatively named by numbers 1 thru 40th street, We were between 16th and 15th Street.
This is obviously only interesting to me, but I did say it was going to be very one sided, didn't I?

My 2 sisters were very protective of me, since I was the youngest and the only boy, life was good.

The Beginning

I was born in Brooklyn. Not only Brooklyn, but Coney Island. You cannot get more Brooklyn than that. My parents were Greeks from Asia Minor. They ended up in the States after The Catastrophe. Mom via Paris, and Pop directly. Pop went to Paris to marry mom and they ended up in Coney Island where Pop had an ice-cream parlor; he made his own candies and ice cream. This was a perfect place for a kid to grow up; the excitement of Coney Island plus my own candy store. It couldn’t get any better. I had two older sisters and being the only boy in a Greek family, as well as the youngest, is probably as good as it gets.