One day I was sitting in my 6th floor walk-up. I didn't have much room, but I had great windows, bright light and enormous views of the city. My wall space was covered, no cluttered, with artwork, and I wondered, "Why doesn't anyone do art for windows?"
Of course, people do--or did--for centuries: churches have always featured stunning and intricate stained glass. But homes and humble abodes were another story. The problem was that stained glass is a heavy medium that requires technology and extreme heat. I had to improvise something on a smaller scale, with greater fire safety.
I had no formal art training. Few of my peers did. Art was not a serious subject in any of the public schools I attended until my senior year, when I had a cool teacher named Mr. Simes. By then, it was late to teach me technique. But there was mischief in Mr. Simes' tired eyes to match his wooly moustache and subversive sense of fun, which prompted him to ask me to emcee a major school event.
Needing to speak in a medium other than words, I discovered art by using scissors, not a brush. It is creation by destruction. From collage on paper, I experimented with other media, eventually refining a technique to affix gells and poymer resins to glass, a process I titled PLASTIGLAS.
The fate of PLASTIGLAS in the art world was obscured by three factors: indifference, rejection, and equivocal acceptance that downshifted to rejection. First, I showed several pieces of PLASTIGLAS at a neighborhood alfresco art show in Fort Tryon Park and won first prize for originality, but never received a certificate or ribbon to certify the honor.
Later, with slides in hand, I introduced PLASTIGLAS to major galleries. Ivan Karp of the OK Harris Gallery dismissed me for practical reasons: he could not insure glass. When I told Mary Boone, then of the Castelli Gallery, that windows need adornment more than walls, the woman who exhibited the doodles of Basquiat, disagreed. Colors, she said, are ruined by direct light.
The Mussavi Gallery, whose motto was "Art is Oxygen" (they did not hand out oxygen tanks at their openings, but they should have), took one piece of PLASTIGLAS under consignment, but at the opening I looked for it everywhere, only to find it serving as a door-stop.
Later, I rescued six-paned windows when they were replaced by ugly, cost-effective metal framed ones. I turned these mullioned frames into PLASTIGLAS sixtychs, which provide optimal privacy and beauty on the inside. When the interior is illuminated at night, these PLASTIGLAS windows are iridescent beacons to night strollers gazing at a starless sky.