My stepfather’s best friend is the first actual artist that I ever knew. We called him Lenny the Hat mostly because my step dad also had a friend with one arm who was also named Lenny that we called Lenny the Hook. It was a bit confusing at first because both Lenny’s wore hats most of the time.
Lenny the Hat was like superman to my young mind…a real estate broker by day and an award winning artist by night. He explained to me once that it was necessary to have a day job and be successful in that but to also use my creativity after hours as an outlet both for release, creation and Evolution…those weren’t his words, just my interpretation of the conversation that we had.
His art was like food for me. He created these fantastic surreal art pieces with so many different layers of composition. I was very much into Dali (as most high school rebels are, I guess) and other surrealists. Their distorted version of reality was how I viewed my own…the grotesque imaging of the world around them seemed fierce and harsh.
Lenny used mostly pointillism to create his designs. He showed me how intricate a canvas was able to become with a patient hand and how much you can say just by grouping dots together.
Most of the pieces that he had given to my stepfather (and therefore most of what I was able to experience, this is pre-internet) contained graphic sexual imagery. Maybe this was why I loved it so much, because it seemed like something that I wasn’t supposed to look at or understand…but I still stared at the hidden genitalia for much longer then my mom and step father realized. He positioned the figures in his paintings into contorted versions of the human form. I was completely fascinated at how someone could make something as crude and dangerous as sex seem so fluid and natural and, at the same time, so disturbing. He was able to say and compress so many different ideas into each one of the works that I saw.
My favorite piece of his in my step dad’s collection was called, “The Rape of Polyetheline”. Click on the image so that you can fully grasp all of the detail. Also, have a rousing game of Count the Penises if you’d like.
After a battle with disease inside his his body, Lenny the Hat passed away on February 26th in a hospital in New Jersey. My step father and mother are both devastated to have lost a friend.
I can probably count on two hands the number of times that I was around Lenny…but this is definitely one of those times in my life where I’m going to regret not opening my mouth about how much a person’s existence affected my own life.
I never told him that his art and his life was part of the reason that I feel comfortable with being a professional in my cubicle as well as being an Erotic Artist and Writer here on the wilds of the Internet…Even if I had known that I would never see him again when I saw him this past fall, I’m not sure that I would have had the balls to say anything to him.
It’s just an awkward conversation to have with a person, I guess.
But now he knows.
And now you guys know too.
Please check out Lenny’s award winning art works by visiting his website, LLPArt.com.
Rest in peace Mr. the Hat.
My family as well as your own will miss you forever.