"When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money."
I first met Eileen when I was a substitute teacher in a painting class. I was immediately drawn to her for her adorableness, lack of pretension, and guile. Also, her endearing and self-deprecating insecurity. Here is a woman, I thought, who might even be more self-deprecating, insecure and cynical than I am. (Is this possible)? She was also very, very, funny All of these traits made for an immediate bond. Although probably nothing could have convinced her at the time, she was a very good artist.
Flash forward. Eileen shows up for a printmaking class I am now teaching. The years have brought with it more confidence, a developed talent and style, more biting sarcasm, and if that 's not enough - sharper wit. We made each other laugh - I loved her! I had been peripherally involved with a "sort of" gallery in the city called 'Contemporary Art Network', which used the acronym CAN. They had yearly group shows and because misery loves company, I convinced her to enter it with me. For each show title, the letters CAN had to be incorporated. I'm thinking Cannabis, Can Opening....., but no, this show was called 'Candlemas" !?? (was there one s or two - I forget). I immediately called Ei and said I was going to bail - I would not or could not be involved with a show called "Candlemas(s)". Dude, said Eileen - you will not leave me alone during the high holy days of Candlemas. What could I do? I was nothing if not loyal.
Come opening night. The lights could not have been dimmer - I guess they decided to save on electricity that night which led us into the predictable comments of - Oh, we should have brought our own candles.
Side anecdote: I had asked my son Ari to meet me at the opening. It was a very hot night in July. As luck would have it, my 'midtown direct' train was indirectly railed through Newark to the Path train from Hoboken, making me an hour late. I get a text from my thirty year old son demanding to know where I was because "this is a f..ing freak show and you're not even here!" Um, wasn't this scenario supposed to be the reverse?
Key Elements 1, monoprint Eileen Murray
This summer, Eileen had again signed up for printmaking. At this point, (mostly because of her job promotion and long working hours), I am reduced to begging and bribing with offers of money (I think I am now up to $1000) to sign up for the class. If she refuses I threaten to hold my breath until I pass out. She reminded me it was our one year anniversary of "Candlemas(s)" quickly adding..........."Let us bow our heads and