Before art I was a copywriter in advertising.

My earliest art pieces had images and words. Not dissimilar to the headlines and visuals I created in advertisements for BMW, UPS, and Club Med. Only this time the joy was of my choosing. The client was me.

To give myself a clear runway for writing I began using the painting’s frames. I usually started on the top in the left corner and worked my way clockwise till there was no more frame to write. It was very permanent writing and an exhilarating act of creation. I wrote as I painted. No copy editor or client needed for approval.

It was the beginning of my love of painting things.

Bronx Born, Long Island Raised

I was born in the Bronx, raised on Long Island, and graduated Emory University in Atlanta. Parsons, School of Visual Arts, and The Art Students League of New York followed with studies in graphics, advertising, and arts.

Advertising, Dance, Art

For years I stood on the sidelines of dance floors and watched others. Eventually I broke that barrier. Dance became my personal time. My joy. Freedom, creativity, and fitness combined.

At that time Manhattan had massive dance sanctuaries for guys like me who got their workouts moving on floors, in space, to music. It was luck. The Sound Factory and Roseland Ballroom were my local stomping grounds.

Sunday morning sports for me was dance. My round of 18 was a music driven marathon of movement.  

I’d arrive fresh at 6am and stay for hours till closing, noon, or so. People were finishing up their nights as i was beginning my day. And it was always a moment of hope when I arrived. The DJs were our maestros. Would the music be good? Would there be someone who’s dance spoke to me? Would I get my workout in? It was athletics and sweatiness, endurance and aesthetics.

The last hours when my body hummed on all cylinders and the floor was near empty were my favorite. The ability to move and the room to do it in. As weekly workouts go it served me well.

Today there are far more great golf courses in the world than there are great dance floors. Good to get outdoors, but I miss the wide open indoors too.

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Art From Repurposed Materials

I get joy from creating art using repurposed materials. As I’ve said many times, “I like to paint things.” My work’s been called American ArtCraft. It is of the earth for sure.

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Raw Tobacco Stick copy

The tobacco stick, above, is a perfect example. When I first saw them stacked in a barn I had to be told what they were. Hand hewn wood sticks 1″ by 52″, pointed at both ends…used to tie tobacco leaves for drying in specially ventilated barns. The first time I lifted one was transportive. These things are astounding to hold. Evocative, regal, solid. To me they were abandoned marvels ready for second lives. It was clear I was going to paint them.

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I brought six back to NYC from Kentucky and gave them a go. I approached each on their own. Their slenderness was a thrill and challenge.

One of those original six is now back at the farm: the Daffodil Stick.

Artifact To Art

When I introduced my painted tobacco sticks into the arts community in 2012, the BBC Greenwich Village Crafts & Fine Art Festival awarded them Most Successful Use of Recycled Materials.

The Male Quadrant

Within my many explorations as an artist, one line of inquiry has prevailed preeminently. It’s a focus in the area I call the male quadrant.

My question yet answered: As Males, what have we learned? What can we pass along to ourselves and sons. 

Vast, and little explored, the male quadrant has been a rich coordinate for me. I’m currently building a website for male conversation and education. And I’ve explored it in my art. Here are some pieces, from 2001 to 2012:  1) What Do Men Not Have? painted the weekend before 9/11, 2001, 2) The Hug, painted on glass, 2004, and 3) painted ties, 2007.  Human Husbandry in the Male Quadrant, 2005, for it’s explicitness, and for putting myself in the picture, hair and all, my Self-Portrait, 2012 too. For more visit my Males Gallery.

Career Notes

My careers have included being a two time Clio Award winning creative in advertising, producing TV commercials, being a website builder, being an artist, being an extra pair of hands, and a listening counselor.

From My Collection

There is adoration at the heart of all the work I do. Perhaps it’s flat out gratitude. For so long, art has been for me a private haven, a path to express appreciation, ask questions, codify observations, and a means to share joy and to connect.

I hope that the pleasure of owning my art will be for you as enlivening an experience as it has been for me.

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Two months before shutdown I got to dance. 

 

In January 2020 I got to dance. It had been a personally dry dance decade for me prior. To dance, seeing the continuity of my earlier years alive and brought to the now of dancing at this event, was thrilling and reassuring. You never know if you still have it in you unless you check every now and then.

The event was held before isolation and quarantine and social distancing. Covid-19 had not yet checked into our consciousnesses.

It was the annual event Body & Soul’s Sunday night Martin Luther King Jr. weekend dance in Brooklyn.

I hadn’t known of the event prior to Bobby Shaw posting pics in 2019. I immediately put an alert in my calendar for 2020. Bought my ticket as soon as they were available. Now this was to a warehouse in a place I’d never been. It was outside Manhattan. This was new for me. 

I was a Body & Soul fan when they were in Tribeca, within walking distance of my apartment. They had a late afternoon opening on Sundays and that suited me perfectly. 6-9pm were my hours. Anybody who was on the empty floor when the first needle dropped was a devote to dance and the luck of Body & Soul Sundays.

The music was always a mix of Soul, Latin and World. Three DJs, the original guys behind B&S, helmed the event, rotating selections as they pass control of the turntable between themselves. Many times to thrilling ends.

The Sunday event was held in a huge warehouse with endless floor. Old and young, every gender and color, every rhythmic proclivity, shared the luck of that moment and that place. At times it was like being pumped pure oxygen. Everything encouraged dance.

Was there from 6:30 to 9:30pm. Danced half of it. Had four prime dancing moments where I moved beautifully. My body was functioning. My dance had returned to say hello to me. It was there. And I was grateful.

I hadn’t danced in a very long while, had knee surgery the year before. Testing it on that floor I was sound. The music gave us all rise. I was fluid and counterpoint and a whole bunch of me out there. And it’s all shared, mixed with others around you, also enjoying. Others fuel you. I hope I did that for others too. 

Thanks to Bob P, my adventuring dance friend, for taking the subway/bus/walk with me to and from the venue. And mostly Bob P, thank you for wanting to stay longer. It was your will and want to stay that caused me to pause. And that pause opened up more. More music, more dance, more meeting folks, more energy.

A few days afterwards he and I agreed to make the B&S MLK dance an annual get together. A pilgrimage of sorts. To life that dance brings.

Am sad dance is unable to return, for now. No mass group events at least. Hmmph. The gathering, beat, pulses playing, athleticism. I am grateful for my one dance and will give it my best to be fit for when it returns. Here’s hoping.

Love,

Evan

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Evan Silberman ART