This past summer, you likely saw the artist Terry Galmitz sitting near various East Village institutions, sketch pad in hand. Starting tomorrow, SB D Gallery will feature his illustrations in a show titled "My East Village."
According to the show's description: "The places which have been precious parts of his life are revisited and illustrated in Terry's own voice, much with his charming wit. Some places are already in the history, some are about to become, and some will hopefully stand for another few decades."
Galmitz turns 64 on Monday. Aside from some traveling, he has lived in the East Village his entire life.
I caught up with him by phone yesterday afternoon at the gallery for a few quick questions.
How did this show come about?
This is something that I've wanted to do for a long time. So this year, I decided to do it. My wife gave me a little folding chair. I took that big pad and sat across the street from some places; some places a little closer. I just sat there. I tried to do two or three places a day. I spent the whole summer sitting somewhere in the East Village. It was just a personal thing that I really wanted to do. I didn't have any deep philosophical thing behind it. I love architecture, especially the old places. I did two places that are long gone. CBGB and the Fillmore East from photos. They were so much part of the Village when they were here.
You've lived here for nearly 64 years. What has stayed the same about the East Village through the generations?
The people who live here have stayed the same, kind of. It's still an artists' neighborhood. Artists, musicians, writers. I had a lot of artist friends who lived in Soho back in the 1970s. I wanted to get a loft there myself. It was cheap. They've all been thrown out. I guess they went to Brooklyn. I'm glad that didn't happen to me. I love being in the city.
Was there one place that closed through the years that was particularly upsetting to you?
Back in 1971, when the Fillmore East closed. I was a young rock-n-roll-going person. I went, 'Oh my God, the Fillmore is leaving.'
A few people I know say the Second Avenue Deli....
Oh, yeah — the Second Avenue Deli. And Ratner's.
What do you think about some of the new buildings in the neighborhood?
Oh, I wonder about it. I don't really like it. I have yet to see a new building that I like. But what do I know? Seems to be a lot of it going up. Some of it is really horrible, actually.
Portrait of the artist.
The SB D Gallery is located at 125 E. Fourth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. His work will be up through Dec. 29. Details here.