I decided to go to the Peter Max talk at the last minute, and thought I would catch his lecture on the big screen they set up on the ground floor. I arrived a few minutes before the lecture began to a museum packed with people. It was wonderful to see so many people of all different ages turn out for an event at the art museum.
The auditorium was filled to capacity, and the overflow crowd either watched the lecture on the screen or simply continued socializing.
Max did not use a prepared speech, but simply entertained questions from the audience for the full hour. This can be a tricky proposition, but he is obviously an old pro at this, and the audience had no shortage of questions. Unfortunately, either the sound system or the acoustics downstairs made it bit difficult to hear him unless you were sitting very close. Lots of people did, and what I heard revealed someone who is congenial, affable, a great raconteur and in general someone you would love to have at your dinner party.
He gave some practical advice – Get lots of paper and just draw a lot. It doesn’t matter what you draw. Draw figure 8’s over and over. Then turn the paper upside down and draw it another way. It will train your muscles. That this held faint echoes of the movie “The Karate Kid” in no way negates the soundness of the advice-in either case, actually. He pointed out that if you worry about making each drawing or painting perfect, you will never get what you want. “Just keep painting over and over and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.” Good practical advice.He also mentioned that he paints using lots of movement and is often surprised by how his finished works turn out.
He also talked about his charity work. “I always say yes” and discovered that he gives to 1250 charities a year. The audience seemed enthralled with him, and as I said, he proved thoroughly charming.
Mainly the evening for many seemed to be about having a lovely time meeting friends, eating food and enjoying the wonderful atmosphere. It was a great evening, and showed how El Pasoans, of all ages, seem to be looking for some event where they can enjoy each others company without the pressure of a bar scene and with the possibility of enjoying conversation in an enjoyable setting.-david sokolec