ImageMy roommate in art school, Judy LaBrasca took this photograph of me. A headache caused me to lie down. I had drawn the blinds, she said. Giving this picture a silent film star quality.

Judy and I were in Philadelphia’s Roosevelt Hotel together. On the ninth floor. At 23rd and Walnut. A grim corner. We painted the walls of our nine by twelve foot bathroom with Chinese Red enamel. The pale green toilet, sink and tub were just the right hue to interact with the Chinese Red. And my friend Bill Cohen ruined the aesthetic by drawing a peace sign on the light fixture. A by-product of Bill’s education: no appreciation of the color interaction.

My roommate and I had been collecting metal bottle caps. I think Judy started it. Soon we had so many, we dumped the bottle caps all over the floor. We placed our black throw rugs over them. A sign outside the bathroom door said “Before Entering, Put On Shoes.”

Behind the closed door, while our visitors were in the bathroom, we could hear the slushing of metal being plowed through. A heavy but slightly tinny sound. After all, the bottle caps were at least four inches deep! When not stepping on the rugs, which protected a person’s feet from tipping, one had to get footing by stepping on the floor and pushing the bottle caps in the direction one wanted to go! Kind of like walking through snow. But not on snow.

Art school, I am learning, is a very different sort of education. This suddenly is on my mind because our daughter just went off to college yesterday! What I lack in critical thinking from not having had a liberal arts education (such as my daughter and Bill Cohen), I make up for in creativity.

All those hours of life drawing, design and constructing modular pieces that “worked!” 
These classes went into the young art student’s brain in ways still waiting to be revealed.

Judy LaBrasca is now and has always been an artist. She lives in Maine. I am sure she, like I am, is tired of the bottle caps and doesn’t decorate with them anymore. I cannot speak for her usage of that wonderful color combination. I still have deep respect.

And while it may seem like I am trashing Bill Cohen, he received a degree from the University of Pennsylvania and then went on to law school in Boston. He has his own successful law practice in Pennsylvania.


Copyright 2014   Hollis Hildebrand-Mills   All rights reserved.