Riding home late last night on the train after taiko this past Thursday, I happened to fall into conversation with a father- son duo looking for directions.
A boy, a 5 year old wearing a matching blue and white color-blocked windbreaker refused to sit down by himself on a train seat and was standing with his dad. He’d been swinging himself around a hand-pole for three stops now. I was sitting down and having nothing else to look at, made eye contact and threw him a grin. That was what did it. Now he was grinning ear to ear, every revolution around the pole swinging him closer and closer to me, and every time with his smile to make sure I’d been looking. I started talking to his father who I found out was on the wrong train for mistakenly boarding this express car and he told me about their day exploring Rockefeller center and snacking on honey roasted peanuts. By this time, the little boy was sitting on the seat next to me, taking up far too much room for a tiny person and noisily pointing at the train tracks visible from the window. As the train passed Hunter’s Point station PS1 MoMA opened into view above ground, I pointed out some colorful pictures on the buildings for him to look at: The 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, an outdoor urban arts movement by guerrilla artists who took four buildings in Long Island City and turned it into a virtual graffiti museum .
How could I know that the dad came from a family of photographers? As I discovered after hurriedly looking up their names on my blackberry after the two got off the train, it turns out his mom is the famed graffiti photographer of the 70’s and 80’s, Martha Cooper! We spent the rest of the train ride talking about photography and art that means something, that isn’t just art for the sake of art but also has a purpose. Martha Cooper is now a photojournalist for National Geographic specializing in art and anthropology. She is everything I’ve ever wanted to be and lived the life I’ve always wanted for myself.
Check it out.
… I think I may have new inspiration for life…