Drawing, 2012, by Fred Hatt
As the calendar rolls over, I looked back through my photos from the year 2012, to remember what I saw and did and made, and I chose some images that stick with me – images that haven’t previously appeared on Drawing Life.
Northampton Tree, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Early in 2012, I made several short trips, visiting my brother Frank in Western Massachusetts, my friends April and Paul in Connecticut, and my friend Alex in upstate New York, giving me a chance to experience quieter, more open environments than my usual habitat of urban hustle and bustle. (In the photo above you can see Frank in profile in the lower left corner.)
Goshen Morning, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
I love to look at trees in the winter, when their elaborate branching networks are exposed. Branching patterns are among the fundamental organic forms, seen not just in trees but also in blood vessels and nerves, in lightning, in river deltas, in anything that involves permeating flow.
Fallen Tree in Winter Stream, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Look at the branching toes of an emu, and watch how the huge bird moves, contemplating its kinship to its ancient ancestors, the dinosaurs.
Emu Foot, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Look at the nobility of this strong animal, an alpaca, with its enormous crystalline eyes.
Alpaca, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Here’s another mammalian profile – mine – in a self-portrait photo taken in one of the projection booths at the Museum of Modern Art. I work as a freelance film projectionist, a proud member of the Projectionists’ Union Local 306.
Fred in the booth, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
I live in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn. The neighborhood has recently seen a huge influx of hipsters and yuppies, but the old traditions are still maintained – like the tradition of throwing one’s sneakers to hang from the overhead wiring.
Shoes on the Wire, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Religious displays and holiday symbols are shown everywhere, an expression of identity, values, and sentiment.
Saint and Savior, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
“Ghost Bikes“, painted white and bedecked with flowers, are placed as monuments to bicyclists killed by drivers by the friends of the deceased. This one has a plaque above it (not shown here) that indicates it has been there since 2005.
Ghost Bike, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Often my eye is captured by simple street scenes. For a fleeting moment, the arrangement of colors and elements become something wonderful. A ready camera and quick reflexes can sometimes grab one of those moments for more leisurely aesthetic contemplation.
Girl and Flowers, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Houston Street at Night, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
“If you see something, say something” is the slogan in public service advertisements encouraging citizens to report suspicious things to authorities. Big city people see so many odd things all the time they get pretty blasé – it’s all just “something, something.” At least that’s how it appears in these partially stripped-away stickers on the stair risers.
Something Something, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
I went to a party on the rooftop of some friends who live on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, and I was able to take two shots showing the skyline of Lower Manhattan behind that of Downtown Brooklyn, in the afternoon and at twilight.
View from Flatbush Avenue, by Day and by Dusk, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Later I went to the one-year birthday party for the twins of my friends Yuliya and Yevgeniy (portrait drawings of the twins are at the bottom of this post). They were staying at a friend’s place on a placid, mirrorlike lake.
Mirror Lake, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
In June I came back from work late one evening to see a house in my neighborhood engulfed in flames.
House Fire, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Firefighters in Smoke, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Later in the summer I visited my parents in the town in Oklahoma where I grew up. I went to look at the house I lived in when I was in my 20’s, and found it like this, a charred shell. I don’t know the story behind this.
Burned House on East Maple, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
In the middle of the summer I went to Sirius Rising, a festival in Western New York where I have long taught workshops and done art and body painting. I found this extravagant caterpillar crawling across my painting drop cloth.
Horned Caterpillar, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Here’s one of my body paintings from the festival.
Flaming Rose, 2012, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt
And here’s a sketch of the branches of the crabapple tree under which I sat to paint on people.
Foliage, 2012, by Fred Hatt
Later in the summer, my friend the dancer Kristin Hatleberg had been granted studio time in the city to pursue a project with dancers exploring different ways of capturing the experience of movement, through words, through photography and video, and through drawing, and then responding to those other media again through movement. Just my type of thing!
Fred Drawing Kristin Dancing, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt (tripod and intervalometer)
In the fall I visited Alex in the Catskills again. We went to Kaaterskill Falls and took pictures of the waterfalls, of people and dogs playing in the falls, and of each other.
Alex with Camera, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Fred with Camera, 2012, photo by Alex Kahan
I also found some beautiful things to photograph on a trip to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, with my friend Corinna and her little daughter Autumn.
Red, Black and Green, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Lotus Leaves, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
This fall was the season of Hurricane Sandy, a gigantic “superstorm” that wrecked the East coastline of the U.S. with surging flood waters. I took this picture of a tree in my neighborhood as it was being whipped by Sandy’s turbulent winds.
Storm Winds, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
My own neighborhood suffered no severe damage, but the next morning most of the leaves of the trees were on the ground.
After the Storm, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Things like wooden fences were down too. Lower Manhattan had no electricity for most of a week and many low-lying areas (including many parts of the city full of artists’ studios and art galleries) were flooded. I was lucky to live on slightly higher ground.
Broken Fence, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Here’s the house on my block that burned in June (see pictures above). The wrecked frame of the house had been shrouded in a blue tarp. Sandy shredded that tarp up pretty good.
Tattered Tarp on Burned House, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Many Subway lines were flooded. Transit Authority workers put in a heroic effort to get the trains back running as quickly as possible after the storm, because public transit really is the essential life blood of the city. For about a week, I had to walk a mile to catch an alternative train into Manhattan, because my local line under the river was submerged. The alternative line crosses the Williamsburg Bridge, and waiting for the train I captured this urban sunset vision.
Williamsburg Bridge Trains, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
The hurricane was followed a few days later by a nor’easter, an autumn lashing of wet snow and cold rain. I took this picture with on-camera flash, so the snowflakes near the camera look like big, out-of-focus white blobs.
Wet Snow, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt
Much of my artwork from 2012 has already appeared on Drawing Life. I noticed in looking through my images from the year that I did a lot of body painting and some light painting photography this year – enough to warrant their own posts some time soon. As the new year comes in, I think it’s appropriate to finish this post with an image from “Gaia Rebirth“, a collaborative performance by a collective of musicians and dancers called the Artist Dream Family, for which I did some blacklight body painting early in December. May 2013 be a year of rebirth and renewal for us all!
Gaia Rebirth, 2012, performance by the Artist Dream Family, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt
The dancers seen in this photo are, from left to right, Pia Monique Murray, Goussy Celestin, and Zen Marie Holmes.