Family Dinners And My Fading Family

First off let me start by saying that regular “Family Dinners” have never been a thing in my family, and by family I mean an aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and kids kind of thing. I know many of you reading this don’t have these type of dinners except for on holidays in your families either and thats kind of my point. Why not start.

When I was about eleven my friend invited me to his Family Dinner. I thought it would just be my friend his sister and parents. When I got off my bike and entered the house there was about 40 people milling about. Granted my friends family was from Italy and his mom told me that this was a small gathering and some people could not make it, I’d never been in a house with so many people at once. I attended these dinners quite often. Last year, I was invited again. It was less like dinner and more like a Garth Brooks concert in 1992. The place was sold out and it was standing room only, but still, not everyone showed up. Over the years the family grew with the kids now having kids as most families do. I wandered about for a few minutes with my own children and then my friends mom saw me and greeted me with open arms and commented about how fat I’ve become, she was very direct and very correct. Apparently they do this once a month. There was a time it was every Saturday but I guess people are busy,”This country doesn’t care about family time”an elderly Italian woman said to me commenting on her son having to work on the weekend. It had been years stacked upon years since I’d been in their home , but to them, I was welcome and I was “finally home”. As I was leaving my friends mom asked loudly over all the noise if I’d be coming back again, right then an anonymous voice yelled, “Magari!!”, and the crowd repeated the call. At the door my friend said, “That’s slang for ‘I hope so’, it really means maybe”.

Over the past few years I’ve started a “Pizza Friday”. For the first few times it was my daughters, my wife and I making individual pizzas and cooking them at home. It then grew into going out for pizza with my parents every Friday. This has been a regular thing now for about two years. A few times with a bit of help from my mom I wrangled a rag tag bunch of what’s left of my extended family into meeting up at a pizza place. I loved it. I don’t know many people on my father’s side of the family so I primarily grew up with the cousins on my mothers side. My mother had a brother and a sister. They both had 3 children, as did my mother. Of all those children only myself and one other cousin has had kids and I believe this is the problem.

My immediate family is growing, but my family as a whole is shrinking. Only the oldest and the youngest had children. I’m the youngest of all the brothers and cousins. Sometimes they talk about old times, I don’t remember them, I was too young. They used to play football in the street, I was too young. They used to hit baseballs at USD, I was too young. Trips to the beach, I was too young. I was too young all of the time. I might always be too young to them, but now I have my own family. My kids are too young for most things, but they’re not to young to eat and make memories. I want them to have memories of family. It may be a small family compared to others but it’s a family. I’m more than happy having pizza Friday with my parents every week but once a month I want it to be bigger. Bring friends, bring co-workers , just come. I want to start something that my kids will remember and hopefully continue. There’s been a few deaths in the family that hit hard but a family can’t just stop being a family.

Maybe it’s too late and maybe nobody will come, but like they yelled as I left my friends family dinner, MAGARI!

It’s Beeeeen soooooo Long

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I now realize I can’t post stuff on my blog and raise kids as well as create new work. I just don’t have the moments and it comes down to moments.  In reality I have the time as we all do, when you really want to find the time for something, you find it. So for now I’ll be posting new work whether it be a painting or sketch on here as fast as I can. So here’s a piece I did a bit ago. Soon We’ll be caught up on super new work.

Starting New 14x14This isn’t my favorite piece, but it’s mine. Like it or love it, I made it.





I Will Follow 14x14

I’ve had a song repeating itself in my head for the past few months and like most people I really don’t even know the words to it but it still keeps on playing.  When I pick up a pencil to sketch I start singing one line from the chorus before I begin. I don’t do it on purpose and before today I didn’t even realize that I was doing it . Today I grabbed a sheet of paper and a pencil and my 2yr old ran up and sang, “Venna for youuuuuu.” I truly didn’t understand what she meant but a minute or so after, and right before I put the pencil to the paper from my lips came the singing words, ” Vienna waits for you.” I finally took notice of  something I’ve been doing a lot. Hell it’s something I’ve been doing enough that my kid is equating me drawing with “Vienna”. The line of lyrics are from a song called Vienna by Billy Joel. I first heard the song in a movie my wife loves called 13 going on 30. She’s watched it a million times in front of me while I worked and every time that scene makes my ears perk up like a protective dog. That song just hit me when I first heard it, but why the fuck is it playing in my head all the time when even though I downloaded it ( which I don’t think its ever played on my iPod) I don’t really even know the lyrics to the song that well but it’s been on my brain for months. Here’s the lyrics below:
Slow down, you crazy child
You’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart, then tell me
Why are you still so afraid?

Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You’d better cool it off before you burn it out
You’ve got so much to do
And only so many hours in a day

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even
Get halfway through
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you

Slow down, you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight
Too bad but it’s the life you lead
You’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know
You can’t always see when you’re right. you’re right

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Slow down, you crazy child
And take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile
It’s all right, you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?
And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even get half through
Why don’t you realize, Vienna waits for you
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

I’ve recently been receiving a bunch of emails from collectors, galleries and people looking for commissions all of which are kind of asking, ” Where’s the new work? “. I’m making new  work. I’m just not making it as fast as I used to. I still get up everyday take a shower, get dressed, cook breakfast for my kid, go for a walk, then go work on something in the studio. The difference is I’m not just pumping out piece after piece, and the major difference is I’m enjoying taking my time. I might have 30 plus paintings just sitting around that I haven’t shown anyone and I certainly could use the money from those that are interested but I find myself for the first time in my career to not be rushing things. A successful artist and close friend of mine recently told me to that I needed to get those paintings out because people are interested, and that I have “an open window” that other artist sometimes never get, and that window will close someday.  I understand this is true and that my window is closing but I no longer feel like rushing. I’ve been rushing through this whole experience of being an artist and I want to truly enjoy the process of art making, good or bad. I don’t want to stay up late at night working on the second piece of the day, I want to enjoy my family and my craft. I don’t want it to, but if that window should close on me. Then let it close. Vienna waits for me.