This is one of my favorites—simply for the tape marks and notes on the side. It’s amazing how the smallest details can hold so much weight. The yellowing, the whiteout, and the smudges—they all bring me back to his drawing table that sat in the middle of his studio apartment. The table was covered in scraps of paper, old letters from the cable company, pens and pencils, big, chunky erasers, ink stains, and notes written on the cardboard that covered parts of the table. When I was younger I would sit at this table, hard at work on my next masterpiece that was sure to impress the great Joe Simon. I would hold up my picture when I was done, eager for his approval, and he would smile and nod, his teeth clutching the cigar that stuck out of the side of his mouth.
Everything smelled like cigar smoke and I grew to love it. I would always ask to light his cigars for him, so often that he became worried that I had a fire fetish. To this day, the smell of cigar smoke and the yellowing of these sketches make me feel as though he is sitting right besides me…yelling at me to stop playing with the lighter.