A Pushy Robert Blake Pushes Me Into ArtThursday, January 19, 2012
|Photo by Tamio Wakayama
But with some years of reflection I have come to realize that Blake may have been one of the most important persons in my life. I first must accept that I am an artist. Some say I am. I prefer the safe epithet of commercial photographer, one who dabbles in the arts.
But it was later in 1989 that Blake called me up and said something like this, “Alex, there is a group show at the Exposure Gallery on Beatty Street called The Eye of Eros which features nudes. I have seen quite a few of yours on the walls of your darkroom. Why don’t you participate?” Somehow Blake was persuasive (he was very good at this) and I did enter the show and then proceeded to enter stuff in just about every group show they ever had for something like 12 or more years.
|Photo by Ed Olson
It was Blake who saw a side of my photography that I had never noticed. He gave me the chance to look at things under a new light. Suddenly I could go up to any wonderful looking woman on the street, or at a party, or on a bus and say, “I am an art photographer. I’m having a show at a local gallery soon. Would you be willing to pose for me undraped?” I never did get a no in all those years. “Blake, thank you.”
I did not have a one-man-show until 1993 but my first real show was one I shared with Blake in February 1990.
Because Blake had a most efficient and savvy wife, Patricia Canning. She did all the promotion of the show and since she catalogued and cut out all the clippings announcing and reviewing the show, Still/Water is the only show for which I have a thick file of information. The rest of the shows, and I had many, are mostly forgotten and not present in my files.
I was shocked that the day of the opening Blake had installed a video machine in the back which promoted his photographic services. Most of my friends were shocked, too. They thought it as an act by a crass opportunist. I will reserve judgment here as I really do not understand Americans. I am a Canadian.
But I will again and for the record write here, “Blake, thank you.” My life thanks to him has been a much richer one.