I guess you could call this a collaboration between my father and me. It's also officially the first sculpture I ever sold.
I had a baseball. When I was 22, I moved back in with my parents (didn't we all?) and while I was there, I set up a shop in their basement and made a lot of art. I also played a lot of pool. One of the things I did was to unravel a baseball all the way to its core and stick it in a gallon jug I bought.
My dad loved it and said I should call it “Home run” and put a sticker on it that said as such. Of course he was right, and I asked him to make the label. My dad's handwriting always amazed me. He could be scratchy, utilitarian, or calligraphic. When I was 9, they put me in a remedial handwriting class in school because my handwriting was so crappy. It didn't help. My dad always said to “draw” the letters, rather than write them. I've never gotten it.
I've actually done typeface design. I can see how his calligraphic line is perfect, having both a fidelity to character and to personality. It's almost victorian in its perfection. I just can't, for the life of me, imitate it or even replicate it. My father’s fidelity to the perfect line continues to astonish me.
In 1987, my father, my sister Kate, and I had a show called “Three Savages” in my cooperative gallery, “Points of Departure” in New York. It felt like a great culmination for the three of us to show our work together. My father was such a huge presence, such a huge influence on both my sister and I. It felt like an important moment in time.
I put this piece in that show and it sold opening night to the Lee Lorenz, longtime cartoonist, art editor of the New Yorker, and one of my father's best friends. I'll bet he still has it.
My father and I had another show together, at the Callan McJunkin Gallery in my dad's hometown of Charleston, West Virginia, in 1992.