Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Warhol Memories - Essay from 2001



We met met on a crisp warm day September 1981 in Fort Collins, Colorado. I was an art student and bicycle racer. Andy was my hero. I found him almost by himself signing Komiko Powers posters in a CSU campus schoolroom. I plopped down right next to him and asked if I could help. I told him Craig Scott set me. It was a lucky moment, Bob and Chris were running around the school hunting for babe sightings. He touched my hand and told me to stay with him to and "we’ll find Chris". I shot many rolls of film in the first hour. Finishing the signage stack we went looking Chris. Found everyone. Bob and….and Fred.. Fred, Bob and I sat out in front of the art building and smoked a joint. Bob was cruising me. Andy toured his show with some well dressed people, we smoked pot . They told me to come back to the "Inn". Racing over there I was pulled over by the police …I told him in panic …I’ve been summonds to Andy Warhol! he let me go without a ticket. I screeched into there stay. Almost like a hello he was probing further now. Andy asked me for ideas for photos for his book America. I showed my recent bloody scrapes on my legs from a crash bicycle racing. I had to pull my shorts up to show him the injuries all the way up to my hip; He shot a whole roll in the parking lot of the motel. He liked other ideas too. We were standing there e shooting and several important people drove in …I think John Powers and the head of the school. He ran from them, We ran like children and hid in the motel room…now there…I was a slut..sort of. Bob told me Andy needed to take a nap… Andy then had the opening and the book signing. I stood in line for him to sign. I was a wonderful moment when it was my turn for the signature he signed dozens of pages choosing his favorite portraits. Then drew a money symbol with a penis in the blank inside cover. I then handed him my issue of the Kimiko Poster and he signed it to Craig Scott and me.…Craig the person that told me to go early and find Andy. Craig was to closeted to visit. Craig who Chris Makos found at Uncle Charlie’s in the village. Craig was cruising during time off while at the National Championships bicycle races in NY State. Craig who is now dead from aids is how I met Andy. i will alsways be thankful for that The next month I was on the masthead and payroll of Interview while crash learning the hierarchy and cast of his universe. Fred, Bob, Chris, Rupert, Bidgid, Pat, Edmond, Lucy all came into my life. It was a most exciting time.

The other day I found the recordings of many of our phone conversations. They are sort of meaning less because Andy taped everything with his mother ..but they are mine ..the phone ringing at the the factory Briid answering. And Andy taking the call…long talks of our projects ..he was always very very excited with lines like "oh that is sooo greeeat" Once he was painting with Jean Michel I interviewed him ..Dumb questions like what was Eddie really like; He changed the subject and in jested at telling a wild tale of our relationship. We were flirting. He said to tell the story of dinner with Mick Jagger and how we crossed swords in the urinal at the Odeon. How how Mic gave me his number to go bicycle riding. he reminded me of the party the host could careless Warhol and Mic were there. and how Mic gave me a big piece of hash in exchange for a joint Peter and Chris had given me earlier.Someday i will print the pictures of that evening.

When first visiting the Factory in the early 1980s and seeing Andy's dizzy celebrity life style I was appalled and my romantic bubble burst. Everyone was uptight. It seemed to my young eyes Andy was not an artist any more because others made the mechanical art for him, a seemingly endless conveyer belt of work was being manufactured flooding the market. Effortless portraits were 25k and up, and he seemed tired of it all. Brigid and Pat were inventive scribes for his books. One time when leaving to lunch Fred Hughes begged Andy to discuss colors for an important portrait ready to be screened, "just make it arty" he whined and left. That was my first year in NYC. Upon spending more time in Andy world my respect soon reversed back to him being a super hero again. The genius and the title Factory became clear. His many explorations such as modeling, Andy Warhol TV, computers, the paintings for DIA and working with Jean Michel, Clemente all masterful. His sense of humor dark but true.

I made a lot of photographs of Andy really laughing and smiling, not cloaked. These I consider rare. A few others are in the Warhol Diaries. The Diaries, my account of a snowmobile accident below the Maroon Bells in Aspen is much different than his description of Jon Gould trying to kill him. I had zoomed past Andy and Jon dragging my hand in the snow. This caused snow to cover Jon’s goggles; he lost control crashing off a cliff with Andy falling off the back. Stunned thinking I had just killed the "Prince of Pop Art" I ran to the edge and down to help ending up instead taking pictures of Andy laughing in glee. We all went back to Jane Holtzers pad for a meal of Mexican TV dinners and ice cream on heated glazed donuts.

We took Andy to the over crowded Aspen Airport early. a lear jet several yards away fired its engines sending a aluminum latter flying like a leaf nearly taking us out. I then went back to Janes pad and had it all to my self for three days..I filled my car with hundreds of pounds of food they ahd left and lived off if it for months back at my studio in Denver.

Often I photographed Andy’s hands. Andy loved to hold hands. Holding his hand while walking or in a car are some of the most cherished moments I have. Once we walked past an alley and stopped to look a jumbled stack of boxes. They were beautiful with the evening light streaming across them. Andy signed several making them his. Holding hands while singing loud along with "Lets get Physical" by Olivia Newton John, rocking a little bright yellow econo rental Toyota in LA traffic. Stopping at a Calvin Klein poster so he could put his hand on the crouch of the underwear model. His hands holding money, his hands touching rare Navajo blankets or jewelry before purchase, his hands holding a hotdog at Danny’s Dogs on Melrose where none of the kids there knew who he was, his hands holding the beloved Minox camera or Big Shot Polaroid. Holding hands into the door of openings and parties was grand.

The things Andy was noticeably not good at:
Being behind, being early, getting a tan, spelling, skiing, drinking, being alone, keeping a secret, repairing things, letting workers vacation, paying workers well, paying for the meal when some one with more money was present, not worrying about his skin, not being envious, being old, going to hospitals.

After his death I left NY because he is whom I made my art for.

Mark Sink

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