Posted by pancho from ? (18.104.22.168) on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 at 9:46AM :
The project is taking shape. I'm going to modify the smaller Lamasu, the one Jackie lost her bals over, so we'll have two versions of the same model, two sizes. The big one will cost $2000, the smaller one $500.
At a discussion the other day in an underground bunker here in San Jose it was suggested that I should not have alienated certain people we have with money. In particular I should not have told Helen's two son's they weren't getting the Shumirum either...that I should have worked with them, kept them happy...same with the Jackster (how AWFUL could it have been to have bumped my uglies on her?!), not to mention Ramsey Sapper etc.
In the first place, I have never gotten on with rich people...have never known "my place". I went to New York in 1978 with the small gold sculpture of the Venus from Botticellis famous painting. It's in the picture gallery somewhere. Wore it in a leather bag around my neck. I'd spent the year before nearly going blind sculpting it in wax no less, with a tool the relative size of a shovel. Wax gets warm as you hold it under the light you need to see the details by...wearing a head piece with magnifying glasses attached. It's like sculpting elephant boogers.
I used the piece as a resume to get a job at a jewelry making plant on Broadway in Times Square. Got fired three days later cause it was obvious I had never done that sort of work before, but not before the boss told me if I ever needed a recommendation for guts, to call on him. There's more to the story but never mind.
Anyway...I went to foundries all around Manhattan, lying...that's what you have to do to get your first break...said I could do all kinds of work I'd never heard of. At one foundry I was befriended by an old time Italian sculptor, Dommenico Facci, who invited me to visit his studios in Greenwhich Village.
Used to go over there at night and sketch and watch him work, taught me all sorts of things. He played a great guitar and we'd sing and drink wine till all hours of the night. He got me my first job at a foundry and tried to be as helpful as he could be. Once he took me and my lady friend out to dinner, big fancy restaurant in Rockefeller Plaza...Joe Frazier was at the table next to us. I was as broke as I usually was...there with my ten year old son, on the lam from the cops cause I'd kidnapped him from an unhappy home in California.
Facci brought a woman with him, an old friend from the Bohemian days in the Village in the forties and fifties. She was a fellow artist, a painter but she'd inherited a small fortune a few years back. Her family owned the Love's restaurant chain and it was all hers now.
Bless old Facci, he knew the woman was crazy for jewelry and during the dinner, casually mentioned my gold Venus...which I produced from the bag around my neck. She liked it...she wanted to buy it. But before we got to that somehow the conversation came around to money and rich folk and I said something like I didn't care much for them...I remember the color rising in Facci's face and my lady friend kicked me...I think.
I didn't want to sell it anyway...belonged to yet another dear lady I'd made it for...course no one else at the table knew that.
Back to the bunker...the idea that I could get farther with these projects if I cozied up to the rich is something I've heard a lot. I wont do it because it goes against the spirit of the monuments. I would far rather get a dollar from 100,000 Assyrians than that amount from one. Helen was an exception because she was truly modest and wanted to help us all. It would be a hell of a lot easier to get one check from one person...but then the monument becomes a testament to one person's wallet and my ego. And we are all done a "favor" when we should be helping ourselves.
If it were to happen that way it would turn out the same as what I claim these leaders from hell want to achieve...like a Jackster then I would become a "star" of the community...everyone would point me out as the person who got THAT MUCH MONEY out of ONE PERSON. I would lead a life of leisure and comfort and you could all trot me out at conventions as a Super Star...the principle on which Jackie and the rest work to "benefit" us all.
No thank you...defeats the purpose. These monuments...our Heritage...has to be funded by all of us...as it needs support from all of us. We don't want to be a passle of slaves easily impressed by tin horn leaders and big shots. At least I don't want that for us. A Free People is our only hope, our only promise...the only way the Heritage will become strong from the inside out...not from on top down.
I am trying to build a foundation, not a fancy third floor bedroom. A foundation upon which others can build an actual structure. It does us no good to lay one of sand because its "easier" and hope to fool ourselves and others with something that might sparkle for a month then cave in at the first wind that blows by.
I'm not talking about fooling us. We've been tricked often enough and for long enough. If we can't pull it off the right way...why waste time.
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