NEW NEW YORK: Michael Pitt

By Jessica Glick

The rain beat down, the reverberating thuds sounded like bullets on the subway window. I saw multicolored pains of glass and graffiti telling me to “do more” when I suddenly realized I was in Brooklyn. I exited on the northwest corner of the street and hoped my way would reveal itself. A man in a faded purple sweater looked at me with a disconcerting glare. He slowly approached and offered his help. I thanked him and then headed to my destination.

He exited his house smoking a cigarette. I followed him next door to his studio. Once inside, I sat down on the couch and he at the computer. He searched for a song from his forthcoming album. Having already recorded demos with musicians Christopher Hoffman, Matt Kilmer, and Von Merrick, he hopes to put out the EP soon. This endeavor is a departure from Pagoda, a band with whom he’s played for several years. Trying to avoid the inevitability of being a solo artist, he reached the conclusion that it is not only difficult but also extremely expensive for musicians in New York City to keep a group together. Although he says he will continue to record with his former band members as long as they are willing, he realizes it’s time to go his own way.

A train passed on the nearby subway tracks and my eyes darted to the window to watch it go. I noticed his artwork, which was placed against the wall like an alter. Junk art, as he referred to it, is something he started as a child. He rose from his seat and said that his father, a former mechanic, would bring him to work and place him in the junkyard. Unaware of what he was doing, he would take car parts and put them together. Later on, he realized that he was creating art. Now, he uses a variety of materials including wood, photographs, and found objects, to construct his pieces.

Returning to his computer, he played one of his ‘video sketch pads’. Recorded on his iPhone, he taped himself creating artwork. Narrated by the sound of his guitar, these recordings show his process at an accelerated speed. Intended to illustrate his frustrations with how long things take and his interest in imperfections, he has created a collection of videos using his own music as their soundtracks.

Curious where his artistic priority levels lie, he says that creating, regardless of the medium, is what’s most important to him. With a fascination in renaissance people, he is interested in the artist that explores different means of expression. Living in Brooklyn for 16 years now, he finds that New York’s diverse culture has facilitated the development of his work. Although he does not consider himself a part of the varied communities that have overtaken parts of his neighborhood, he does, with some reservations, identify as an artist…

-Jessica Glick

Jessica Glick is a photographer, writer, and music lover. She developed an interest in photography while working at various Lower East Side music venues. Jessica started photographing local musician and has now expanded her work to include fine art and fashion. In addition to photography, Jessica has been writing since she was a child. Attempting to combine her writings with her photo work, she created an ongoing portrait/story series called VAGABOND.

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