Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Saturday, I packed lunch for two, a computer and Wags into Waldo and drove out to Andre’s space to spend the day there completing some work, while he worked. I’ve done this before and on those occasions, Andre worked on a sculpture, but this Saturday he worked on a client’s motorcycle.

There are three motorcycles in various states of assembly in the loft; they belong to client’s for whom Andre is building the bike for. The arrangement is that the Andre estimates the cost up front and the owner makes a payment for the next part of the project and Andre will work on the bike till the money runs out. It’s all a bit haphazard as the progress payments aren’t regular; they come when the owner has saved it up. Two of the owners sent money this week and Andre is happy as the motorcycle work pays the bills and the art work by and large is his spending money.

But I believe he’s happy for another reason. As I observed him working Saturday, I noticed that his demeanor and attitude was different than when he was working on a sculpture and I realized that his passion isn’t sculpture, but building the motorcycles. When sculpting he was often frustrated and at times avoided the work and came over to talk or schnog with me, but when he worked on the motorcycle it was if I wasn’t there. I’d hear him humming and whistling, punctuated with epitaphs, but after pondering the problem he’d go back to humming.

Last week I was browsing the Etsy blog, saw this video and thought that this could be Andre in twenty-five or thirty years sitting in his shop, pontificating about life surrounded by dozens of motorcycles; content.

Handmade Portraits: Liberty Vintage Motorcycles from Etsy on Vimeo.

I told him my observation and it didn’t surprise him. Maybe others had mentioned it or he recognized it himself. As we’ve gotten to know each other I’ve seen how invested he is in being an artist. It has been his dream since he was a child and he is having difficulty not only thinking of giving that up, but even considering the transfer of his talents and abilities to something considered prosaic.



Blogger J said...

I guess you better start wearing black leather jackets

8:44 PM  
Anonymous jo said...

I loved that. Loved it. I understand it completely, especially the 'did I ever think when I was younger' part.
I also agree with what he says about no one knowing how to repair, manufacture or work with our hands anymore. There is a guy you want to sit down and have a drink with.
In my mind building motorcycles (or cars) or keeping them running is an art.
I hope he finds his peace with that as well.

1:23 PM  

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