Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The People Game

When I was a kid my father and I played a game. We looked at people on the subway and made up stories about where they came from, what they did for a living, and whether they were happily married. We called it The People Game. As a Broadway producer I continued playing The People Game. I watched actors audition and tried to imagine them as one of the characters in a play. Now I am playing The People Game as an artist. I paint people in restaurants, concerts, theaters, markets, parties and casinos. While I am painting a story emerges.

When I played The People Game on the subway I never found out if the story I made up was true. If I picked the wrong actor when I played The People Game on Broadway I lost money. Playing The People Game as an artist is less dangerous than Broadway. And best of all the stories are true.


Some paintings take a few hours and some take a few days. I have been locked in mortal combat with Cap Day for six weeks and the end is not yet in sight. This painting which portrays the agonies and ecstasies of spectators at Yankee Stadium is the largest vertical canvas I have done. The spectators appeared on their own out of nowhere without much effort on my part. Making decisions about colors has been the problem. Red and yellow are prominent but there is also green which reminds us of what the game is played on and of course blue, the color of the Yankee caps which have just been handed out. Whenever I change one small bit of color there is a ripple effect on the rest of the painting which has to be attended to.

I am hoping Cap Day will be finished in time for The World Series. It won’t matter if the Yankees win or lose. The agonies and ecstasies look the same.