Monday, March 23, 2009

Get the Lewis Greenberg picture

Was it all that long ago? A couple of years since I sat on the couch with artist Lewis Greenberg--at his home and with a pad of paper I remember struggling to find confidence in my ability to "get the picture" that day. Which is all that Lewis is trying to get people to do, by the way. He is an artist after all. Soon Lewis will be dealing with some of the things from the past, such as the littering arrest that was issued in Ballwin. But he will also embark on something new, a documentary will be made by The Learning Channel (TLC) with a little help from some of us who care enough to look out for one of the more interesting and miss-understood people in our community.

Lewis would like to invite anyone who is interested in this event to join him at County Court #36 at 1:00 PM Tuesday, April 7th. TLC will be there documenting the event, as will a host of other media. Come see how this plays out and support a fellow active living enthusiast.

One really needs stop and "take in" Lewis's place to truly embark on the journey of appreciation, inside and outside of his home in Ballwin. I like his art it is meticulously displayed throughout his yard and gardens on the exterior, every square inch of the interior. Lewis is a cyclist too and I found this to be an interesting combination when deciding to interview him as part of the inaugural Ralph Account articles. I must say that it was action when I hit the front door, where incidentally, a vintage Pfoodman sticker was prominently displayed amongst thousands of others, just a smidgen over chin high.

Once inside I remember scribbling words to describe the numerous topics of circle speak, the anger, the contemptuous nature of things in his world, and the naysayers, the people he is in conflict with, relating to his art. I was indeed embarking on something. You can read the original story here.

So a couple of years ago I wrote about Lewis, got inside his head a bit and tried to provide what has turned out to be a kind of role play public relations thing--that which relates to our friendship now has overtones like: "Don't you really mean...?" type of advocacy. Since Lewis's mind runs full throttle and rampant, I feel the need to extract some of the things that I feel he would want extracted and put them in to perspective, then feed it back to him. I am good at perspective, that is what I do in business, perspective and vision, it is basically all that I am good at.

And I care about the old guy. He is a very loyal and warm human being, a friend. I suppose I was able to capture a thing or too about Lewis that originally got the trust thing going and the result has been a friendship that works both ways. It is odd this way and that is fine. I feel that most of us are odd in our own way so what is the big deal? For Lewis it is a way life is, for me it is liberating to embrace such a concept, study him, become inspired by him. I think more people should embark on Lewis Greenberg types of things, for reasons that have something to do with authenticity. Are we not all a little phony? Are we not all a little less than honest when it comes to who we are and what we really think? Not Lewis, he tells it like it is and the result is his art, politics and all.

For housekeeping's sake, I have a couple of rules. First is that I don't try and exploit him even though the temptation sometimes overcomes me, nor do I try and change him, for fear of losing his respect.

Lewis and his art:

Each day a 24 hour spanned section of canvass. Filled-in, touched up, shaded, unfolding each and every day by mere existence of his day-to-day functionality.
He adds to the masterpiece each morning upon awakening and (never in the same day does he go to sleep) upon awakening begins his medication. I might say that it is likely for the purpose of providing dilution to the imagery and influence in his head and for the average bloke to try and comprehend. To an outsider, you might think he makes no sense in a 10 minute conversation, you may not think his art is all that meaningful either. To "take it all in" offers a better understanding of his cause: the Holocaust, the conventionally disabled (as well as the un-conventionally disabled as we put it), and the rights of his first amendment. I try to help others can get the picture.

I wrote about Lewis a couple of years ago and it gave me lift and inspiration to do a little more writing. I began to write a lot because of the story and the way it made me feel. I was delighted that it helped him become a little more "understood" and that people reached out to him in a positive manor. I took the time to get inside his head a bit providing a "what he really means is this" perspective for others to relate. I was able to capture a thing or too about Lewis and the result has been a friendship and cultural experience in the process--that which is a work in progress, inspired by his take on anger, love, hate, spiritualism and history.

If you would like to offer your thoughts on Lewis and become part of the documentary, show up in court, TLC will be there as will lots of other reporters. I would say it will be interesting to say the least.

Contact me if you have questions.


JOGA said...

Lewis used to stop into TC in Richmond Heights, where i was turning wrenches.. he would come in just to shoot the breeze with me.. cuz he considered me a friend.

Its been about 5-6 years but i can still see his chompers... always chompin at the bit...

Louis a crazy man! A piece of Art, no doubt!

Next time you see him tell him Joe from TC says Hello.

Been a bunch of years since i've seen you too ralph.. glad i found your blog.

Be Well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the kind words about my father, Ralph!

Ralph Pfremmer said...

Thanks for checking in! Alone, the most significant gesture of the day. Bravo to you.

James Fawcett said...

Greenberg was my high school art teacher all four years. I've seen him around at Big Shark, and at REI, here and there since then. He's a great guy.

Last time I saw him was a few years back, and man he was different than when I had him in high school.

He's a crazy dude, but I respect and like him a lot.

Anonymous said...

I just met Lewis Greenberg at Walmart. I work there and he was shopping there one night. I was on my way to take a much needed break from the boredom of my job as a sales associate in the clothing department when, there in all his colorful glory, stood this guy wearing at least 2 hats, some neon green goggles, biker clothing (at first I thought he was wearing tights but now that I realize he's a bicyclist, it makes more sense), a very colorful T shirt and a long trench coat. I was instantly intriguued. I mean, we see all kinds of folks at Wally World (see and so I stopped to have a chat. I'm glad I did. This is one interesting chap with a story to tell. He wants to tell his story too and isn't the least bit shy about expressing his opinions. Eccentric, yes! Fascinating, yes indeed! I have not made the trip to see his artwoork yet, but I plan to and soon. I feel that this is a man who may be misunderstood because people far too often try to "fit" into some kind of box so that others will accept them. I used to do that, but not anymore. The older I get and the more "life" I experience, the more I want to be myself, like it or not, and so that is why I relate to this man. I asked to take his picture. My first intention for doing this was to submit the photo to the People of Walmart website. But now I have no plans to do that. I don't want to exploit Lewis Greenberg, but I would love to get to know him and his art better. Nice to meet you, Mr. Greenberg. God Bless YOU!

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