Archive for the art school Category

Memories of Dave / Art School

Posted in art school, jim coleman, personal histories with tags , , on June 25, 2013 by jimcolemanmusic

1979 – 1981: Hartford Connecticut

I can’t fucking remember Dave’s last name. I really wish I could. I wonder what the hell he is doing now. He could be an extremely successful car salesman. He could be an actor or he could be in politics. I lived in Hartford CT for 2 years (1979-1981) and Dave was a close friend, along with my roommate Seth. It was Seth who motivated me to go in to Hartford Art School, which totally changed my life. These images are examples of my early work there.

This first image is of my first outdoor sculpture. This was really aesthetically based, these wings that framed a walking path by the art school.

sculpture contact

These drawings were the start of ideas, which led to my first performance. I was looking at ways of using these lockers in a performance. I ended up placing 2 lockers side by side (with about 2 feet between them) in a common area, where people would sit and take breaks. In one locker was a dismembered female mannequin. I was in the other locker, in a 3-piece business suit. This performance started at 9 AM. People could open the lockers and do whatever they wanted to, but there would be no response from me. I would remain completely detached, an object. This affected people in interesting unforeseen ways. I remember one girl getting so pissed at me, she was just kicking the locker as hard as she could right at my head. So I stayed in there, prone, until 12 Noon. I then got out, walked to a table in the room and sat at the chair there. A woman in a maid’s outfit served me a double martini, which I drank over the next hour. I then re-entered the locker at 1 PM and stayed in until 5 PM, at which point the performance was complete.

locker in the earth

Anyway, back to Dave.

Dave was without question the class clown. Always high, always laughing, always funny to the point of pain. He could take anything, any source, and run miles and miles with it, way past the point of decency, way past the point of logic and sense. He would daily take us on journeys, in which none of us knew where we were going, but we went, trusting that Dave would ultimately return us to the world as we knew it, with our sides aching from laughing so much.

We’re all familiar with the comic art form of prank phone calls. Dave was not only a master of this, but he was a pioneer. He would call up McDonalds and, speaking in extremely broken English, with a mid eastern inflection, attempt to make reservations for his family of 13.  He would not let the poor associate off the phone, he would work his way up to the manager. He could keep these calls going for 30 minutes easy.

Dave would make blind phone calls and just start insulting people. Repeatedly, he would get people so worked up that they would agree to meet late at night at some shopping mall parking lot to fight it out, man to man. The goal was to get 2 or more people to agree to meet up at the same place to fight. It was a huge missed opportunity that we never actually showed up and watched from a distance, but we would inevitably end up too stoned.

Another favorite call of Dave’s would be the “man on the edge” call. This one worked best when a woman answered the phone. He would come off as an individual on the verge of suicide. These poor people would want to help so badly. And Dave just had that gift of being able to wrap almost anybody in to his reality, whatever that happened to be at the moment. He was just completely convincing, whatever persona he took on was his reality.

Snapshot memories:

–       Dave showed up at my apartment one winter’s night during a snowstorm after parking his car. I looked down a few minutes after his arrival and noticed that he was barefoot. When I pointed this out, he was surprised. He had just walked almost a mile through the snow, barefoot, and didn’t even realize it

–       One night at 2 AM, I got a call from Dave. He was quite excited: “Jim, get over here right now! Bring your camera!” I threw on some clothes and ran over to find him and our friend Seth covered from head to toe in shaving cream. No explanation, but they did want to capture the moment.

–       One night we were in Dave’s car. He sped through a parking lot area that had a guard in it, the car fishtailing. I saw the guard writing something down. Assuming he had made note of Dave’s license plate, I urged Dave to talk to the guard, so he would not be reported. He actually convinced this guard that he was cleaning the “gunk” out of his carburetor

–       Drug memory #1 with Dave. Thai stick. Lying down on a bed, listening to Pink Floyd. I felt that I was really lying in a field, watching a grid of Turtles flying past me in the sky.

–       We had weird drugs back then. Actual Thai stick. Hash oil that people would drop in to their eyes, or paint on to cigarettes or joints. Fresh Mushrooms. Liquid LSD, also dropped in the eyes. Dave made bongs. I recall one he made out of numerous tennis ball cans, about 7 feet high. It took 2 or 3 people to work it, and would only yield smoke after doing about 5 hits. One thing we used to do was to take a bong hit while a helper would put 2 whippets in to a plastic bag. Then, you would exhale the bong hit in to the plastic bag and then breath the bagged whippet air in and out, in and out. You would end up in a very very different place. Once while doing this, we were listening to the Doors, while the TV was playing a Liberace concert. The music and visuals ran in perfect sync, each cut was right on the beat, each accent in the music had corresponding visuals.

–       Another disparate non Dave memory arises from this. But this was from the same time. My long time friend and co-conspirator Clay Ketter (google him please) were high and driving in the wee hours of the morning (well past midnight). It was rainy, extremely foggy. The radio was stuck in between stations, it seemed to be picking up about 8 stations at once. But I heard a voice cut through this static and mix of noise, talk and music. It was speaking to me. Or to us. And I know this sounds like typical clichéd auditory hallucinatory shit due to drugs and lack of sleep, but it felt true, genuine, real. I was tempted to just drop it, but couldn’t. I looked over at Clay and asked if he was hearing this. And he was. I luckily never got in to closing the shades and freaking out about all the undercover government agents in front of my house. But that doesn’t mean that they weren’t there!