J. M. DeSantis

Hairy Hand Art Show 2013

There’s another lull in news this week as I continue to work on the Chadhiyana graphic novel. (I’m still writing the script and am now simultaneously working on a number of character designs.) That said, I was still busy this past weekend at a private art gathering held at the home of Secaucus, New Jersey (and formerly New York) resident artist Bobby “Hairy Hand” Travieso, and the experience was so interesting and unique that I felt it necessary to write a little something about it.

First of all, I haven’t known Mr. Hairy Hand for a very long time, so I was somewhat surprised to be invited to the private gathering, let alone to show my work. I met Bobby and his wife only a month and a half ago when I exhibited some work at the Paterson Art Walk this past May. However, Bobby and I hit it off right away (which is not hard to do if you know Bobby; he’s a very warm and sociable guy). As we spoke at PAW, he mentioned an idea he’d had some time ago: to invite a number of artists to a social gathering (like a barbecue or just for drinks and hors d’oeuvres) where the artists would bring and display their work as the backdrop for the event.

I thought it was a fantastic idea. I mean, after all, people have parties and get-togethers for all sorts of reasons (holidays, birthdays, sporting events, just-for-the-hell-of-it, etc) so why not have one where art was the theme? And better yet, why not a gathering where the art on display was that of the very attendees of the party? I was immediately intrigued and told him to add me to the list. Obviously I wasn’t the only one who found the idea intriguing because not only did the event boast a list of twelve artists (including Bobby and myself) and their friends, but The Jersey Journal ran an article about the event in their Friday, July 12th issue.

As for the event itself, I found the company to be welcoming and interesting and there was a lot of great artwork on display. I also had the chance to get to know Bobby and his work a little better and to see his wonderful home studio which I am so very jealous of (in the nicest way possible). It was a lot of fun. And how could it not be? After all, most everyone who attended is interested in art or are artists themselves, so there were no awkward silences or need to get to know one another better as we searched for conversation pieces. The conversation was all around us: the art. And, better yet, because it was a private affair, rather than a public exhibit, I found everyone was so much more relaxed and open to discussing and showing their art. There was no pressure, no need to make business contacts (although, I won’t say that didn’t happen), no sales to make or promotions, and best of all, there were no inflated egos. It was just a bunch of artists getting together the same way a group of baseball fans would on a game night, and that made it immensely enjoyable and quite unique.

My thanks to Julie Gadaleta, Robin Mitchell and Ibou Ndoye (all three whom I spent most of the time speaking with), also Andrea McKenna, Susan McCallen, Suz Protz, David Burke, Denise Keegan, Lucille Wright and Dell Sawaqid for sharing their wonderful stories, advice and artwork. And of course, my thanks to Bobby and Fran Travieso for opening their home to all of us and successfully organising such a great event. I’m hoping there will be many more of these (in fact, I’m hoping Mr. Travieso starts something of a trend here); I’d love to attend to more of them.

If you’re interested in seeing pictures from the gathering, visit Bobby Travieso’s website at hairyhand.net and click on the Backyard Art Show link. He’s uploaded a number of shots he took of the event (including a copy of The Jersey Journal article about the show, one of me talking with Robin Mitchell and one of me and my “friend”, Nadia). After all, there’s no reason why you should miss out, private event or not, and Bobby’s photos well capture the atmosphere of this past Saturday night. Cheers!

J. M. DeSantis

J. M. DeSantis is a writer and artist (Write-ist), best known as the creator of the Indian dark fantasy heroine, Chadhiyana (chadhiyana.com) and the humorous web-comic, Gentleman Cthulhu: Emeritus Moribus Monstrum (gentlemancthulhu.com). DeSantis has also authored a number of short fiction and artworks. Support his work through J. M.’s Patreon at patreon.com/jmdesantis.

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