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Edward Ching is playful. Playful with paint, line, color, positioning, impasto, overlap and playful in how it’s applied – thickly being a plus. Yes, it’s impressionistic – but there are no sunflowers & scenic stuff here. (For that try the entirely painted current movie Loving Vincent. It made me wonder, where did he learn these tricks? are they tricks? It’s the same feeling I have with magicians: “How did he do that?” Perhaps it’s due to his bridging two very different art traditions. In any case, when it comes to painting this kind of questioning really doesn’t matter.
Ching paints New York, the city. In this hard, cold, atomic universe he creates on canvas of movement, songs of color, and sculptures of light – all seemingly celebrating life’s playfulness. Period. End of story. His scenarios in paint connect with the breath of life, the rhythms of living, and the play that is life’s essence. You can really get this when you go to the seven YouTubes of him going at it – in Washington Square Park, Union Square, Brooklyn and the Village. (https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=edward+ching) His overall art is at his website, artist, http://www.edwardvisualart.com/corneliastreetcafe.html. And it has a whole section, Creating Art – where he does just that.
It makes sense then that his show is at the Cornelia Street Cafe through June. The opening was that of a painter’s painter. Other paint pals were in attendance – even a chalk street,Hans Honschar.

It makes even more sense that the film maker, Michael Jacobsohn, has done a documentary filming him – for this quintessential New York street artist actually “performs” painting works in NYC public spaces such as Grand Central, Union Square, and Washington Square.

As you know from my posts here I feel it’s extraordinarily important to show people the actual process of painting a painting. There is a natural beginning – middle – and end in doing a painting: washes, color, blocking, figures, lines, detail.

Let us remember: 70 million boomers are about to be liberated from paid work. But then what? In my practice helping people in a similar situation – suddenly disabled in mid-life – I found that art can replace work very well indeed. It’s important for people to realize that art offers a potentially rich future – without performance reviews – and it makes entrepreneurs out of everyone it touches.

Jacobsohn has also done a documentary on the street artist James Garland, Imaginary Distance. This is not just any documentary.  Michael tracked this deliberately-homeless born-again Christian artist for a year. The film is now being submitted to film festivals around the world.

Jacobsohn created two “art” films in the 60’s or 70’s, before his 30 year career at ABC. He talks about the Lower East Side art scene during the 60’s in this perceptive early interview: https://youtu.be/zqrWz0PGI3Y. I found this interview particularly relevant since I’d lived on the LES in the mid ’60s on a block where 3/4 of the buildings were abandoned, settled by squatters – and often by artists. Now that was a cauldron for New York City art – uniquely so! A few years after I was there another street artist, Basquiat, and his crowd settled into the LES. See the 1996 biographical film, Basquiat, with David Bowie playing Andy Warhol wearing Warhol’s own wigs – or in increasing accuracy Jean-Michel Basquiat the radiant child 2009 and the documentary La Stanza/Boom for Real: the late teen age years of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Now Michael has done a documentary about this other New York City obsessed street artist, Ching. It will be shown at New York’s Cornelia St Cafe on June 23rd at 2pm (where the show of paintings continues through June).

In fact Jacobsohn has also curated a first-Saturday-of-the-month afternoon (2pm) film series “Meet the Makers Matinee” series for this summer. It starts with a documentary about Erroll Garner on June 2, and continues with indie shorts July 7 and short films by the inestimable Lower East Side Girls Club on August 4th. (The $10 entrance fee includes a drink.)

The Cafe is an intersection of visual and video art – a true village oasis. Its owner, Robin Hirsch, has hosted this faithful welcome wagon for New York artists and those who love them for decades. See the documentaries which have been done about this hub of artistic life in the village: Gordon Skinner’s 30th Anniversary Video & Sharon Kaufman’s 35th Anniversary Tribute.

Robin’s an artist too – of course – author of Last Dance at the Hotel Kempinski (“one of the best books ever written on the long arm of the Holocaust”  Jewish Book News and FEG: Stupid Poems for Intelligent Children (“searingly smart and challenging”, New York Times). This Cafe is truly an intersection and art and pleasure – and this new documentary series is not to be missed.