Pratt Institute, Brooklyn NY
Birmingham Southern College, B'ham, AL
I come from humble beginnings in the deep south. Having completed my BFA in Painting at Birmingham Southern College, I embarked on an MFA at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. I spent a year at Pratt before being hired as the personal assistant to the notable and infamous art historian and critic, Barbara Rose, whose seminal works on Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler are historic in and of themselves. Read “9th Street Women” by Mary Gabriel.
Barbara Rose, Art Historian
I began my job working for Barbara and her publication of the time, The Journal of Art. It was short lived as the publishers out of Italy pulled back on funding and sadly the magazine folded. I followed my co-workers and employers to a new chapter of life working with Katharine English at The Aperture Foundation (Aperture Magazine) where I was given a crash course in photography and had the amazing pleasure of meeting Mary Ellen Mark at an opening of her work many, many years ago as well as the inimitable Sally Mann. Limited edition books created by Aperture included such icons of photography as William Eggleston, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Edward Weston, Robert Mapplethorp, Sylvia Plachy, Sebastiao Salgado, Larry Fink, Randal Levenson, Melissa Springer, Joel Peter Witkin and Nan Goldin just to name a few.
Changing of the guard and budget cuts from the Aperture foundation led me to be an artist’s assistant first for the painter Paul Manes who became a mentor and longtime friend and then to John Alexander another Texas painter and finally to his wife at the time, Rosie Shuster. Rosie was not a painter but she appreciated art and was one of the founding members/writers for Saturday Night Live previously married to Lorne Michaels. I learned a lot from Rosie as a writer and a person and am grateful to her generosity and patience with me as a young person navigating NYC life at the time.
I was with Rosie when she was looking at downtown lofts to buy and the first World Trade Center bombing happened (1993). We had just been downtown and were making our way back to the West Village when the smoke appeared on the horizon. She decided to move back to L.A. about 18 months later and I began looking for other work - temping around the city while doing theater and painting. I embarked on a life in film and theater and freelanced for many, many years with production companies and ad agencies. I always return to painting.
Whit while working at Aperture Foundation