Essay by Victor Morgado

Free Spirit Holidays

I understand well how Jean Michel Basquiat felt on that Christmas Eve in the house of his art dealer in Zurich. The art dealer and his family were shock to realized that Jean Michel would rather stay in his room listening to music and writing on such holiday.

Not many people would understand that, that behavior was typical folklore of the east Village New York of the 60s-80s..I do not know not know how it is these days, but that is how it was back in the days.

Richie Havens depicts the spirit in his memoire, when he says that there was no point to walk above 14 street, the frontier with the straight world. In those days, the Bohemian quarters spread from Houston st to 14 street; and from the lower east side and the Puerto Rican tenements to the west Village and the gay community.

Washington Park right in the middle, like a head quarters, where the folk singers would sing their souls and other free spirits roamed breathing deeply the air of freedom

I recall my first Christmas in Paris, 1983. The Keller family, my hosts, gathered for their Christmas dinner, and I opted to stay in rue de Tolbiac, 15 minutes away, painting and listening to some jazz tapes..I smoked and drank good wine and painted three canvases.

The Keller family were so typically open minded Parisians. Ready to understand my choice. Their understanding of personal choices was an echo of the Jean Paul Sartre’s existential views of the human condition and Paris was the muse of that Philosophy.

When I finished drinking and smoking and painting I walked down the Rue de Patay with my three canvases still wet, my pants smeared with colors and entered the dining room of ┬áthe Keller family already seated finishing their meal. Welcomed with their usual approving smile, I offered them the canvases for Christmas, which they proudly displayed on their walls that very same evening….