Tim Folzenlogen

"We are what we experience. Experience something new and become someone different."

Day Two – Upper West Side – 114th Street   Broadway

It was a cool and overcast day.

I decided to go to the Upper West Side, as that is where the façade shot of the Seinfeld restaurant is located. It somehow seemed appropriate.

I set up across the street from Columbia University.

It was a far friendlier and more interested crowd here. I probably gave away 100 or so cards.

Rather than set up along a sidewalk wall, I set up perpendicular to it, so that the people walking down the street could see my presentation head-on as they approached.

I’d watch to see who focused on my painting, read my words, and then I’d flash them a card.

I swear I get high doing this.

I try to figure out each face, and say just the right thing if we make eye contact.

I just love these people so much.

May 13, 2003

Day Three – Upper West Side – 114th Street & Broadway

Since I had such a nice time here the day before, I thought I’d try this same spot again.

My plan for this entire project, which I’m thinking to call “The Seinfeld Diaries”, is to visit ten different neighborhoods, three times each - and to stay for three or four hours each time and place.

The people were very friendly here.

There are many ways that one could view my Seinfeld Project, depending on how you want to look at it. One way of seeing it, is as a career failure. People are so conscious of labels.

When I showed at M B Modern (which was a gallery of considerable recognition and respect) it affected the way that some people, lots of people, related to me. It was like I got painted with the same respect, due to the association.

Later, if I told those same people that I’m now showing in coffee shops – some of those people would see this as being less respectable (though I never had any qualms about it – and in many ways I prefer showing there) and so that too would be reflected in how they saw me.

For these same people, the street is lower still.

I think that this is how most in Chelsea saw me – as that world is all about money and prestige.

So much of the major gallery scene, seems to me, is about power structures – the intention of which is to intimidate the masses into buying into their concept of value, without questioning it all too much. It’s kind of an anti-thought environment (unless you are willing to stay within their clearly defined lines).

“The wrapper is so big, expensive, and beautiful – the work MUST be important. Mustn't it?”

So I was aware of this as I planned my project. That’s why I was very conscious of my own presentation. I made my briefcase as sincerely as I make my paintings. A lot of thought went into that card.

I see my showing on the street as being a very sophisticated statement in itself. It’s kind of the opposite of what big money galleries do.

Rather than try to intimidate – I come from the bottom. I feel comfortable sitting low – looking up at them looking down at me.

They see sincerity, good painting, clever card, and a nice presentation - warm and friendly.

Rather than trying to intimidate them into not thinking – my project challenges them to do just that. My project challenges them to trust their own eyes, mind, and heart.

Can they recognize substance without the labels?

Or, possibly, have they been lulled into believing that labels are what substance is. Lulled into believing - because they forgot they are allowed to question such things.

So the people up Columbia University way, seems to me, they were more hip to thinking outside the box than the Chelsea crowd. It was like lots of them tipped their hat in passing – recognized my being there; doing this, as being a potentially savvy move.

One gentleman, in particular, said something that I’ve always wanted to hear, but sometimes thought that I never would.

When I told him about my 150 essays on my web site, he asked me what they were about? I told him they are about everything. “You name it, and I’ll bet I wrote an essay about it.”

“How to change the world” he said.

I told him that that is exactly what all the essays are about.

He hung around to hear about my early life experiences, and about what I feel to be my destiny.

He rolled with it.

He promised he’d read my essays and share his response with me.

May 14, 2003