Steve Kaufman
The Official Website 

Bob Womack

On November 12, 2014, Diana Vachier and Alberto Panizzoli of Steve Kaufman Art Licensing LLC interviewed Robert Alexander Womack a.k.a. "RAW," who was Steve Kaufman’s friend and business partner. Bob and Steve worked side by side every day for more than 20 years. Through this interview we have documented some wonderful insights into the life of Steve Kaufman.  We also learned a lot about Bob Womack.

Diana:             We're going to start at the beginning. We would love to know, in detail, the first time you met Steve and how you connected.

Bob:                The first time I met Steve was in the fall of 1988, when I was living up in the Riverdale part of the Bronx, near the East River at the Century tower. On a cold winter morning on my way to work, my motorcycle wouldn't get started because it was like zero degrees out. And I heard this voice behind me as I'm tinkering with my motorcycle saying,
"Hey, your bike won't start, will it?"

                       "No. It won't." As I turned around to see who was talking to me, there was a tall guy with long hair, dressed in a heavy overcoat. And he said, "You live here?"

"Yeah,” I said.

He said, "Yeah. My partner lives here."
I said, "Who's your partner?"

He said, "Adam."
I said, "I know an Adam. Is it Adam Karen?"
He said, "Yeah. That's him."
I said, "Oh. Wow. I didn't know Adam lives here."
He said, "No. His girlfriend lives here. Adam stays here once in a while. Since you know Adam, we're going to have a party next week. Maybe you want to come?"
I said, "Sure. Why not?"

So Friday night or Saturday night, I went to the party.  They had food and drinks with a live band and lots of girls there. It was a great party that went on until late morning.  We hit it off from there, and decided to do some art projects together.

Diana:             Like what art projects?

Bob:                We first did a catalog for Antonovich Furs.

Diana:             They hired you to do some of the artwork?

Bob:                Yes.  Steve originally had been hired by Antonvich Furs and had done other projects in the past for them. He got me to help him to put the mechanical format for the fur catalog together.

Diana:             Do you still have that catalog?

Bob:                That was so long ago. I didn't remember whatever happened to that catalog. I didn't even know where my original workbook portfolio is right now, where I have samples of the work Steve and I had done.  It's somewhere around.  It's probably up in the loft somewhere in the studio. It's here somewhere.  One day I will have to look for it.

Diana:             Was it drawings or paintings?

Bob:                Neither. it was photos of women and a few men, but mostly women wearing some great looking top-of-the-line quality short and long fur coats.

Diana:             Steve was photographing?

Bob:                No. Steve got the photos from the fur company. He was putting a fall catalog together for them. Steve had worked in advertising agencies. He majored in advertising and fine arts.  He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. He was working for Andy Warhol for two to three years while going to school.  Steve was a real go-getter and had a good business sense. That’s what I liked about him, because he knew how to make things happen.

Diana:             What did you do there?

Bob:                Well, I worked with Steve only when he needed extra help.  I had a job working in an advertising agency too, called Wunderman Worldwide.  I worked as a freelance graphic artist at night at Morgan Stanley’s graphic department in midtown Manhattan. I worked with Steve sometimes on the weekends in his art studio. 

                       Steve and I also promoted some of the local clubs for about two years.  There were long lines to get into clubs we sponsored like Studio 54, the Limelight, and The Loft.

                       Sometimes I helped him with being security for Steve’s private parties. I worked at letting people in the parties, or walking them out to the street if they got out of control and were starting a fight or had too much to drink.  Steve’s parties were in his studio, which anyone could rent out, for things like bar mitzvahs, birthday or private parties. Steve's studio was on 29th or 30th Street, off 7th Avenue. He had a townhouse or brown stone building, a three-story building that had been vacant for years. He rented from a guy that did not follow city codes. It had no heat or hot water, just an empty building with electricity only. Steve had gotten him to rent it to him only if he did not give him any problems. This guy did not want to fix anything in the building. Steve liked it that way, and had no problem with the owner’s rules. “Just don’t burn the building down,” the man told him. We used all the floors. We rented the 2nd floor to about four to six artists to use. Steve also had a basketball court inside that we played often. The first floor was for parties and his art gallery space. The top studio was Steve’s studio.  Sometimes we had parties up there. Those were great, fun times then, and some not so fun times.

Diana:             He lived in there?

Bob:                No, he didn't live there. He only worked there. Maybe he'd sleep there if he did not want to travel home so late at night. He lived up in Riverdale in the Bronx, and had his own condo apartment.

Alberto:           Have you gone to Studio 54?

Bob:                Yeah. I’ve been to Studio 54. I worked with Steve on some club projects for a few years.

Alberto:           Tell us a little bit more about Studio 54.

Bob:                It was like no other nightclub. It was mainly for the stars and "the party night spot." But it was also known as "the coke spoon.”  If you know anything about the club owners, they were really into having celebrities and partying.  Celebrities like Mick Jagger, Madonna, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Grace Jones, Andy Warhol, Farrah Fawcett, Halston, Muhammad Ali, Truman Capote, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many more big name stars were known to have gone there.

Diana:             Well, that's not like any nightclub... That's a famous club.

Bob:                It was a famous club.  I only went there a few times, at Steve's request most of the time.  There were long lines to get into the club.  The owner's doormen picked whomever they wanted to come in. If you had some girls with you, it was easier for you to get in than just to be by yourself. Steve and I did a couple of events there. Sometimes I got to see some celebrities there. I never thought it was any big deal myself.

Diana:             What kind of events? How did you do that?

Bob:                Steve would promote a party there. We would make brochures, have fliers sent out and we would get a % of the door entrance charges. Steve worked it out somehow. He knew the owners there. I forgot their names. I am not so good with names, but remember faces better. You can look on the web now and find their names. They were famous because they had been in court on drug charges, were in the news and on TV in the late 70’s and 80’s.

Diana:             Rubell?

Bob:                Yeah. That was one of the owners. Steve knew those guys. He knew a lot of people.

Alberto:           Can you tell us something about what Steve told you about his life before you met, about working at the Warhol Factory, and what he was doing in the years before he met you?

Bob:                Before he met me, I really didn't get into a big story with Steve about his past knowing Warhol.  I know he worked for Andy Warhol. I knew he was doing the film screen and stuff like that for the screenprinting. That was Steve's job, because he was fast and very good at it.  Andy liked him because he was fast at cutting the film and putting it together for the process of making the silkscreens.  Andy would take it to another process to get the screens made for silk screening.

Diana:             Did he like working for Andy?

Bob:                Steve told me when he first started to work for him, that he did not know who Andy was because it was just a job.  Andy was not famous then, and he didn't hang out with him. He learned a lot from him, and worked hard for him. Sometimes Andy didn't pay him on time, or he would leave work early for the weekends and forget to pay Steve, which he wasn't too happy about.  But he said it was a great experience, and he had a good time working for Andy and learned a lot about silk screening prints.

Diana:             Did he realize at the time how important Andy was?

Bob:                No, he didn't. Steve was very young at the time, maybe 17 or 18 years old. He was working for Warhol for about two years, maybe a little more, I think. I don’t think Andy knew he would be famous in the art world either, or worldwide. I guess Andy loved what he did as an artist.  He was a people person to meet all the people that he did, creating his own style of painting.

Diana:             Was Warhol important at that time or was it later on?

Bob:                I think later on after he died he became very popular, just like many great artists when they die. That's when your popularity gets bigger. It's a shame to say. Andy was well known in the NYC artist community, and was always surrounded and connected with celebrities, parties, and events. I've seen Andy walking a few times on the Manhattan streets around 5th Avenue with store bags in his hands. Steve once told me that Andy did a lot of bartering with stores.

Alberto:           Did you meet Andy Warhol?

Bob:                No, I would just see him sometimes walking around the village.  I never walked up to him or introduced myself. I never thought he was famous or knew much about him.  I just knew of him from some of my artist friends at the time who had met him.

Alberto:           Have you ever been to The Factory of Andy Warhol?

Bob:                No. Not the Factory.  But I was at the Warhol Estate, back in 1998. There was an event there where they invited Steve to come for some kind of gathering.

Alberto:           Steve was going there?

Bob:                Steve worked at the Factory in the early years of Warhol, when he was alive.

Diana:             Steve didn't talk about it much to you? Was it an important part of his life at the time?

Bob:                Yes. I think it was an important part of his life, because Steve was proud of it and used that in promoting himself. I never thought about asking for more information about Warhol or what it was like working for him.  I was more about Steve and what we were about in the art world and the things we were doing. The Warhol Estate challenged Steve for saying that he worked for Andy Warhol.

Alberto:           How did he prove it?

Bob:                People knew that he worked there, and they proved it. So Steve got the paperwork for the Warhol Estate saying he has the right to say he worked with Warhol.

Alberto:           Ok. Are there any articles or anything about Steve working at the Factory or do you have stuff like that, photos or something?

Bob:                No. I don't have any photos or anything like that personally. Steve kept that kind of information.

Diana:             Steve told me he really didn't hang out with the Warhol crowd. After work, Steve would hang with his own friends.

Bob:                Right. Plus in that time, it's not like now with these smart phones. Today, you can record, take photographs and videos, edit on your phone, and Skype live all over the world. Back then, the beeper was the newest technology to receive messages and phone numbers coming in. Now, you can have the world in your pocket.

Alberto:           So you have a document that Steve worked for Andy Warhol.

Bob:                Yeah.

Diana:             Yes. It's from the courts and from the Warhol Foundation.

Bob:                Correct.

Diana:             I have a copy of it.

Bob:                Yeah. Very good Diana, because I cannot find it. It’s in one of my 15 file cabinets.

Alberto:           This is very important.

Diana:             Yes. I sent it to my lawyer when I started Steve Kaufman Art Licensing LLC to make sure all the paperwork was in order. All was correct.

Alberto:           Ok, let's go back to the beginning.

Bob:                Back in 1992, Steve called me up at work. I was working at Wunderman Cato Worldwide advertising agency, and he called me in the morning. I was at work, and he was flying on a plane from California back to New York. He called me, and he said,
"Hey, Bob. What are you doing?"
I said, "I'm working. What else?"
He said, "I'm thinking about moving out to California."

Diana:             You two hit it off right away?

Bob:                We connected right away as friends. I knew Adam a couple of years before I knew Steve. Adam and I worked at Morgan Stanley. I was never introduced or told by Adam that he was a partner of Steve's.  I was never told that he was doing fine art painting or Pop Art or anything like that. They decided to split up the partnership after they worked together on several things in L.A. One project they were doing was working at Spago’s, the restaurant on Sunset Blvd. They were doing a mural on Spago's wall. Adam spent his time at the beach with this new girl he met. He wanted to use his time as a vacation and not really as work. This left Steve in the sun working for three days to finish the mural by himself.

Alberto:           Spago's in Beverly Hills?

Bob:                Yeah. In Beverly Hills. Adam wanted to move onto other things, too. I think Steve said he wanted to be a nurse in a hospital.

                       Another time that Steve had told me about was that he was on the Howard Stern radio show in NYC. He told Howard that he was going to change the Hollywood sign to Howie-wood by dropping a canvas over it. This would be seen on a Los Angeles TV news station and be quite a sensation.                            

Diana:             The Hollywood sign?

Bob:                Yeah. Steve painted this huge canvas, and flew back out to Hollywood. He really wanted to change Hollywood to Howie-wood for Howard Stern. Before he could do it, he and his crew got busted by park rangers. They chased them off the hill. He didn't really get to throw that banner up on the Hollywood sign. That Hollywood sign is a huge sign, about 3-4 stories high. He didn't have a ladder or anything. If they would've been climbing up like that, they could have really gotten hurt bad or killed themselves, falling off of that sign.

Diana:             Ok. So Steve called you from the plane?

Bob:                Yeah. He called on the airplane phone, which back then was a big deal.  He said, "I'm flying to L.A., and I am going to start breaking down my studio. I'm going to move everything and ship it to California."
I said, "You got a place in California already?"

                       He said, "No. My girlfriend, she's going to be the one who's going to find us a place." He said he didn't know where she was going to find a place, but she lived out in California. In reality, she lived closer to San Francisco, but she would look for a place closer to Los Angeles.

Diana:             How did he meet her?

Bob:                Steve met her when he was visiting Bob Michealson in San Francisco in 1991. Bob had been a longtime friend, who was part of the Big Brother program for kids. Bob had been Steve's Big Brother in that program. Steve’s father died when he was young, about 7 or 8 years old. I think Steve met her at a night club or one of those hip trendy bars to meet girls. He said he found her just in time. She had just broken up with a no-good boyfriend and wanted to get away from him. She said he was stalking her. So Steve used his charms and got her to fly back to New York with him. I know a lot of Steve’s friends and ex-girlfriends were jealous of Steve having this new hot California blond there in the Bronx.

Dianna:           I knew he was seeing a girl in New York at that time.

Bob:                Yeah. She was a crazy girl, Steve said. She would cut his hair short on top when he was sleeping, saying he was going bald. Then she would feed him weight gain powder in the food she cooked. She tried to control him. She would tell him what kinds of friends he should have and to marry her because she could help run his business. Steve did not want a woman controlling his life, he said.

Diana:             Haha no kidding.

Bob:                Yeah.

Diana:             Yeah, I'm rather surprised. hahaaa

Bob:                Yeah. Steve had a girl he dated once that tried to kidnap him. He went to visit her in Arizona a few years after they had dated and broken up. She had called him to come out and visit her. He didn’t know she had this plan. She drew a gun on him when he got there. She was supposed to hold him until her boyfriend showed up so they could ransom him for his money. Steve got the gun from her, threw it in the trashcan outside the airport and left.

                       Then, there was one girl that he dated that gave herself a black eye with bruises. She called the cops on him and blamed Steve for it. Steve said his friend figured out this happened when Steve was out of town. So when she called the cops to say Steve did it, it was witnessed that Steve wasn’t even in town on the day she claimed it happened. Another girl that Steve dated for three months and then disappeared came back after 9 months and tried to claim that she was pregnant by Steve. She was trying to blackmail him. She was claiming the baby looked like Steve. Steve, however, had a vasectomy a few months before they even dated, so he knew he couldn’t be the father. He said if it’s my kid I’d be more than happy to break open a bottle of champagne and celebrate. It’s impossible, however. She broke down and said that she had dated a guy that had similar features like Steve and had hoped it was Steve’s. Steve showed her the paperwork and she left embarrassed. There are other stories, but let’s keep it on Steve the artist.

Diana:             Is she the one who shot him in the back?

Bob:                No. It was some girl he was seeing out in New Jersey while he lived in New York. He was young, about 18-20 years old. Her father had a shotgun that had buck shots. He got away with a few pellets in him. He always had some strange incident with these women. I don't know why. I don't know how he would find these wild crazy women, but they found him or he found them.

Diana:             He liked the drama.

Bob:                Yeah, he did. He was a drama fanatic, I think.

Diana:             He caused the drama. Then, he would sit back and watch it unfold. hahaaa

Bob:                Yeah. He did. He used to cause a little drama with me, too.

Diana:             All right. OK. He called you, and he asked you to come out to California. Ok. Go ahead.

Bob:                He said, "Come out to California with me."

                       I said, "I've always wanted to go to California. I don't really have any real reason to stay here anymore. I don't have a girlfriend anymore. I don't have a house. I don't have a condo. I'm renting. Yeah. When do you want me to head out to California?"

                       He said, "Get ready in like three to four weeks because I am going. My trucks are leaving today."

                       He kept bugging me, calling me up making sure I was coming. He had flown out a week earlier. He called me about three to four times a day.
"Are you still coming?"
"Yes. I am coming. I am trying to get things situated now." I had my mom's mobile home at the time. I had it parked in a U-Haul place ready to load up. Soon, I sold my car and motorcycle for dirt cheap.

Diana:             Where you were living?

Bob:                I was living at the Century Towers apartment complex in Riverdale. I
                       just loaded everything up. I got rid of a lot of stuff, gave stuff away,
                       and packed as much as I could in the RV and drove across the U.S.

Alberto:           You drove?

Bob:                Yes, out by myself. I came out here by myself. When I got out to California, I said, "Steve, where are you in California?"

Alberto:           How many days did it take? Five or six days?

Bob:                It took me like around six days to get out here. I almost didn't make it. One night. I think I was driving somewhere through the midwest. I remember there was a horrible storm. I'd stayed up that night to leave that bad storm behind, but it kept following me. I was so tired and sleepy, that I fell asleep behind the wheel. I drove right off the road into a ditch. I'm glad the RV didn't tilt over because it was loaded like crazy on the passenger's side in the rear. I had it really packed. It was real heavy on that side. Luckily the weight on the right side of the RV kept it level and from flipping over in the storm. It was a heavy wall of rain that night. It was terrible. I must have fallen asleep, and I woke up when I felt bumping and bucking from the wheels. It was one of the scariest times in my life.

Diana:             Oh my god.

Bob:                Yeah. I would have been really messed up if that RV had crashed and flipped over.

Dianna:           How did you get it out?

Bob:                Luckily when the shaking happened with the RV going off the road, it woke me up. I got it back up on the road again. With my wide eyes awake, I felt refreshed. After that, I got away from the storm and found a mall parking lot, pulled the vehicle around and went to sleep. I think I slept about four or five hours. Then, I got up and drove off again, praying to God that He was watching me. I have some sort of saint or guardian angel watching over me because I shouldn't have made it.

Diana:             This would be a whole different story.

Bob:                It would have been a whole different story. No doubt.

Alberto:           You can make a movie about this.

Diana:             Then, what have happened?

Bob:                I was driving up in high altitude over the mountains. The RV began to overheat, so I stopped and opened the hood about 4-5 inches. I didn’t see the hood come up after I started driving. A big gush of wind slammed the hood up near my windshield, almost causing an accident. I could not see the road for about two minutes coming down the mountainside, which was a small scare for me. I finally was able to pull over. I had eight more hours of driving left before arriving in Los Angeles. After all that, I called Steve up that morning in North Hollywood when I arrived.

                       I said, "Steve, where are you in LA?"
He said, "Oh, I'm in Lancaster."

Diana:             Lancaster?

Bob:                That’s what I said, "Lancaster? What is Lancaster, and where is Lancaster? I thought we were going to be somewhere closer in California to L.A. or near the beach?"

Diana:             Beverly Hills!

Bob:                Beverly Hills, or somewhere near that, he said before he left NYC.
"No. She got us a place out in Lancaster."

Alberto:           Where is it? Lancaster?

Bob:                It's up north, two hours away from L.A. and in the high desert.
                       Anyway, I think we lived there for a couple of years in Lancaster.
                       Steve had gotten a house in Palmdale for his girlfriend. She lived                                for four or five months before she decided to leave. She said her life
                       was too boring there, and Steve was always working.
                       We had outdoor art shows on the weekends to make some money.
                       We didn't have very much when we were starting out. It was getting
                        rough. After she left, Steve did not need the house. He moved into
                        the Studio and built a corner room made of cardboard to sleep.
                        We built a mid-size shower and had a toilet there, too. I had the RV
                        to cook our food. We had at least all the basic things to live then.

Alberto:            The first studio was there?

Bob:                 Yeah. The first studio was in Lancaster.

Alberto:            This was in the '90s?

Bob:                 In 1992 to 1994, we were in Lancaster. The studio was a little, small  building. We also rented the room next door. There was a train track that went through a few yards nearby. The city wanted that whole section there. They came to us and told us that we had a month or so to move out. Then, they told us they wanted all of our vehicles off the property first. If we didn't move the vehicles by the next week, they were going to tow it at our expense.

Diana:              Who were you renting it from?

Bob:                 We rented the building from a private individual who owned the building. It was like a garage building for fixing cars or anything with wheels.

Diana:             Like a hanger?

Bob:                Yeah. It was like a two-section building there. On the other side of the building was an Alcoholics Anonymous one-story building. We rented the other part of it. The city has told the landlord that he would be bought out for a certain amount of money. The owner wanted more money. The city had different ideas and basically said, "No, we're going to give you what you paid for it. We want your building. Whoever you have in there, they’ve got to go."

Diana:             Oh, boy.

Bob:                Yeah. Three or four months before that, in December, we went out on Steve's birthday. His birthday was on December 29th. He never really liked his birthday because he only got Christmas gifts. Haha. Anyway, one night we went out to this club that had a small pool table and a jukebox. A nice amount of people having were fun, and it was getting late, about midnight.

                       I said, "Steve, I am heading back to the studio. I had enough."

                      He said, "No, I am staying. I've got to find myself a birthday surprise." So he met this girl who was being harassed by some guy. He wanted to be her knight in shining armor to defend her. They got into a little confrontation. Steve wound up punching him and knocked him out. When the guy got up, Steve found out that he was an off duty cop. A New York City boy beats up a small town cop. This is not good for a New York City boy. That next morning, I said, "Where is Steve? He should have been back here already. He must have found that birthday surprise he’d been wanting." Steve didn't call until a couple of days later. He was arrested that night! They wanted to detain him for a few days before he could make that one call. I think it was about a week in jail before I knew to get the lawyer.

Alberto:           Oh my God. hahaa

Diana:             For beating up a cop!

Bob:                He was in jail. I had to find a way to get money to hire a lawyer to get him out of jail. I said, "Steve. How much is it? What’s it going to cost?" He said, "I don't have money to pay that, because it wasn't my fault." I said, "We got to get some money."
He said, "Bob, take the car and see if you can use it as a collateral and get us a lawyer." So, I got a female lawyer who somehow pissed off the judge. By this time, Steve was in jail about two weeks.
Steve finally said, "Get me another lawyer." The male lawyer didn't want the car as collateral. I finally got the money so we could hire him. We went to see the judge with the lawyer. By this point, he had been in jail one month. The lawyer said, "Ok. Mr. Womack. We see that you and Steve are from New York." Then the off duty police officer said that we came from New York to Lancaster to take their women. The lawyer said, "I think that you need to serve some time in our jail too.”

Diana:             What? The cop said that?

Bob:                That was crazy. It wound up that the lawyer I hired had said that I should serve some jail time, too. Luckily they had nothing on me because I wasn't even at the bar when Steve was arrested. Steve and I both looked at each other and said, "We got to get out of this town," plus they were kicking us off the property we were renting.  We paid some money on the bond and Steve went to court. He had to serve a few more month's time in jail doing community service. Almost every day after that, we came down to L.A. looking for a place to rent. Time was running out, so we found a place two weeks later in North Hollywood.

Alberto:           Which kind of outdoor shows did you do?

Bob:                We did them in the Parks and Outdoor Art show events. We figured since we were always going and doing things in Los Angeles, we should find a place closer to the Hollywood area. We found a place in North Hollywood where we could park the RV, cars, motorcycle, and trailer in a lot. We stayed another couple of years there.

Diana:             Where? Do you remember the address?

Bob:                Yeah. It was on Tujunga Ave. and Burbank Ave near the Honda Motorcycle shop.  This would be about three blocks north of the Honda Motorcycle dealer.

Diana:             You lived there for about three years?

Bob:                Yeah. We lived there for three years.

Diana:             Where did you do the art? Did you do it in the building?

Bob:                Yeah, we did it in the studio we had, and we lived there too.

Diana:             What did the building look like?

Bob:                It was just a one floor, elongated building. It was like a storefront building, but we turned it into a studio. The front part, we turned into our painting studio. The middle section was our office. The back lot section, which I had, was where my RV was parked in the back studio. Steve had built a little room with cardboard around for privacy. We built a new shower room next to the bathroom, plus we had an old refrigerator. All our cooking was done in the RV.

Diana:             The showers?

Bob:                We built our own showers, too.

Diana:             Did the landlord know you were doing that?

Bob:                Not really.

Diana:             I knew it. hahaa

Bob:                The landlord never showed up very much. If he did, everything was covered up. It was rough. When we did shows, we just made enough to cover the rent and get some food.

Diana:             Did you do your own art too?

Bob:                I didn't do much of my own art painting at the time.

Diana:             When did you do your own art?

Bob:                I had started doing some Native American Indian paintings for the outdoor art shows. There were quite a few people interested in American art at that time. Steve and I had an agreement that whomever has the most art sold, then that was the art we would do. My American Indian art never sold as well as Steve’s POP art. So that us how we decided for Steve to continue his POP art. Then Steve's work started getting better known. Steve got news that Martin Lawrence Gallery was looking for a new artist. They contacted Steve. That was when things started to move up for us.

Alberto:           You learned a lot from Steve?

Bob:                Yes, and Steve from me. We both learned from the experiences and the events.

Alberto:           Just a question because we're speaking about the early '90s. Which kind of art was Steve doing at that time?

Bob:                I think it was always Marilyn Monroe from the beginning. Clients always liked that style of art done for them and for their portraits. Steve also did a lot of comic art heroes. Clients love to have superheroes in their homes or apartments, such as Batman, Wolverine, Spiderman, Silver Surfer, Superman, or whatever their favorite hero was for them. Some even wanted their heads or faces on the body. Steve was happy to fulfill their fantasies for them.

Alberto:           Most of the paintings I have seen of Steve's are from 1995 to 2010.

Bob:                Yes, Feb 8, 2010 was the last day and one of the saddest for me.

Alberto:           Before, which kind of art was he doing?

Bob:                Superheroes. He loved painting superheroes. Then, when we were in North Hollywood, we hooked up with Martin Lawrence Gallery because they were looking for new artists. They found Steve. Steve went to the interview, and we got the contract with Martin Lawrence Gallery. He formed a style of art painting around the pop art. Paintings like the Marilyn series, the Napoleon series, the Einstein series, the James Dean series, the Mona Lisa series, Campbell’s soup series, Mozart state suites, American Gothic state I,II, III; and a Cigar series: Cohiba, Punch, Romeo Y Julieta, Churchill, and the Quatro Cubanos series as screenprint art.

Diana:             What was the art that Steve enjoyed doing the most? Was it superheroes?

Bob:                Well, he enjoyed all the art paintings that he created. Steve once told me, though, when a client comes, he knows that clients are seeing the paintings on his walls. They were more likely to buy those paintings on his walls. They thought that a particular art painting would be most likely Steve's favorite and would buy that one.

Diana:             What do you think was his favorite art?

Bob:                I don't know. He liked everything, but I think the favorite was Marilyn.

Alberto:           I read somewhere that he liked doing collage art like Marilyn's Hollywood, mixed with other icons.

Bob:                Well. He had many favorites. So why not put them all into one collage? I think having Marilyn added to a painting gives a variety of class to everyone and everything.

Diana:             Tell us about the Sinatra projects.

Bob:                Steve contacted Tina Sinatra’s lawyer in order to meet with her. He met with Tina and the lawyer to make this proposition to do Frank Sinatra’s portrait. He really liked and respected Mr. Sinatra a great deal. I know when Steve met with Tina Sinatra, that she gave him many photos of Frank Sinatra to go through to select the images he wanted to paint. We gave about half of the editions to Tina, of the suites. People loved them. They sold really well. They were awesome. Because of that, Mr. Sinatra was very happy with the editions done of him. He never had an artist willing to do a four-piece suite edition of him.

Alberto:           Did Steve love working with celebrities?

Bob:                I would say he enjoyed it... meeting, talking, and taking photos with them. He liked the photos for getting images and ideas. I took 90% of most of the pictures. Steve was busy talking to them, and he enjoyed it. I enjoyed meeting celebrities, too. We enjoyed connecting them to Steve's pop art style.

Diana:             Was that about the same time that he did the Warner Bros. stores? How did that work?

Bob:                Warner Brothers came after Martin Lawrence. Those were fun projects. We had comic heroes painted on canvas for their stores. Paintings like the Special 3-Suite Superman Diamond Crest. There were several background colors for the crest like yellow, blue, and red. Other paintings included the Batman Gotham painting, Tazmanian Devel 4-panel painting, the Bugs Bunny 4-panel painting, and Marvin the Martian 4–panel suite painting as well.

Diana:             All right. Tell us about how you got Warner Bros.

Bob:                I really didn't get into Steve's business side of the dealings. I was more of a facilitator. I did all the office work, payroll, and ordered supplies. Being a facilitator, I was his right hand man to get whatever needed to be done for the product material. Sometimes I would hire extra employees to build and stretch the canvas on the frames and get supplies. I would get supplies like lumber, trim, tacks, woodscrews, paint, and whatever was needed while we worked in the studio with the crew. If Steve was out of town for shows or meetings, I ran the studio.

Diana:             You ran the whole thing?

Bob:                Yes. I ran the show, and Steve did the business side of it. We did designs, films, silkscreens, whatever. My main job, though, was to make sure everything was there to do the job.

Diana:             OK. Do you remember the paintings that he did for Warner Bros.? It was Muhammad Ali?

Bob:                Ali? Yeah, that's right. That was for Warner Bros.

Diana:             The Warner Bros. characters and The Wizard of Oz?

Bob:                I think Warner Bros. had Steve do five or six different scenes from The Wizard of Oz like The Red Shoes, the Good Witch, the Bad Witch, the Yellow Brick Road, the Four meet Oz, Toto in Dorothy's Basket. They were quick sell-outs.

Diana:             What else?

Bob:                Geez. There were a number of things Steve did with Warner Bros. I remember a painting of Muhammad Ali's. We flew to Georgia WB Store where they had a tribute to Ali. He was signing the Limited Editions of the Olympic three-piece suite that Warner Bros. had of him at the tribute that Steve created for them. We met Ali at the Hilton Hotel near Universal Studios.

Diana:             Ok for Warner Bros. it was the Olympic suite series?

Bob:                This is to be distinguished from the Ali Chronicles, which Steve did. This was through the sports promoted called Sports Placement Services. This was where the paintings were of his Boxing Chronology and History. It was amazing to see Ali sign all those painted boxing gloves and the Olympic 3 limited edition suites despite his Parkinson's.

Diana:             The chronology is where Ali signed, "Muhammad Ali a.k.a. Cassius Clay."

Bob:                Correct.

Dianna:           Now, how long was the art actually in the stores before they closed?

Bob:                Two years or more. I never knew why Warner Bros. was closing most of their stores, because Steve’s paintings were selling very well in their stores. I think that the corporation itself was having issues.

Diana:             Did you guys get all the art back from Warner Bros.?

Bob:                There was very little art to come back. Steve paintings sold really well in the stores.

Diana:             OK. Tell us now more about you. Tell us when you found this place on Madison Ave.

Alberto:           From New York, you went to Lancaster...

Bob:                To North Hollywood.

Alberto:           From North Hollywood to...

Bob:                Here in Hollywood on North Madison Ave.

Alberto:           When?

Bob:                We bought it in 1995. This place was no way like it is now. The black driveway gate wasn't there. It was a chicken wire fence and this office building wasn't here. It was just this metal building with no wall. There was nothing inside but a ton of garbage to clear out. An open lot with more trash, and the back rear wall was also an open lot. This place was a storage unit for some store or Chinese restaurant that had a lot of rats running around. We had tons of trash here. We had to get rid of all that trash before cleaning up and beginning construction. We built a workspace for this studio, ran electric lighting, built a larger bathroom, a full kitchen, and built the two loft spaces since the high ceilings were high enough. We had to build this whole place from the inside out.

Alberto:           You did it? You did it alone?

Bob:                No. We hired a licensed electricians, a welder for all metal work, and carpenters for building the wood loft and the outside carport for the security of knowing it was done right. The sheet rock panels and insulation in the ceilings were done by me. The employees, because of the metal roof, would be roasting hot inside especially in the summer or 3/4 of the year, if we hadn't done that.

Diana:             Who designed it? Who designed the building?

Bob:                Well, Steve and I collaborated on what we wanted to do. But I was the one ordering and getting the job done. We insulated all the rooms from the front all the way to the back, because we knew in the summer time it would get hot. Each year we always constructed something new, and we did it. Most people get confused where they are when they come here, especially when they go in one room out to another. It's unique.

Alberto:           Did you have money to do this?

Bob:                Yeah. That's why we were able to do it.

Alberto:           You started to really live by the art.

Bob:                Yes, it is easy to live where you work. Especially being two single guys not being married or having any kids. We never had to explain why we had to leave out of town to do a show, or go to Amsterdam in the Netherlands every Christmas. We left for Mexico 3-4 times a week because we had an art studio down there, too.

Diana:             You paid for this building in full?

Bob:                Yes, paid it in full because we figured renting was crazy. When you're renting, the landlord... they’re always raising the rent every year. Then we thought, “We don't need to rent. Let's find our own building." We need to find a place somewhere near Hollywood. We were looking all over downtown Los Angeles. We traveled all over L.A. to find a place. By luck, Steve found this place. It was perfect, even though some of our friends were telling us that it was a dump because the neighborhood had a rundown look. Also because the neighborhood had gang members that used the property as a hang out. All that changed when we moved in.

                       We even offered the gang members jobs because Steve felt that having them working for us would help get some off them of the street. We would give them a chance to get out of the gangs, because they needed a job. It would help clean up the neighborhood. Then, the word got around that we were two cool guys from New York and not to mess with us. We had kids knocking on the door every day, more then we needed, and there were a lot of them. We saw the future in this place.

                       We were happy living here, and we were working to fix it. My RV, our cars and motorcycles were secure behind doors, safe and off the street. We had room for our drying racks. Then, it came to selling my RV because we needed the extra space. So we bought these two mid-size storage containers and stacked one on top of the other. I got this welder friend of mine to cut a 4-foot circle inside to the other container, and made a spiral staircase winding around down to the livingroom. The top level was a bedroom with a closet and two sliding glass windows to have daylight. Downstairs, I made a steel bar with a liquor and wine rack, put in a widescreen TV and a reclining 3-seated couch. It had inset ceiling lights, and installed air conditioning on both floors. Then it was time to sell my RV, in which I'd had a lot of fun.

                       I liked the freedom of partying on the Freeway with my lady friends and parking anywhere along the ocean, desert, mountain, or forest camp grounds -- anywhere. What fun that was! Wish I could have kept it now. Well, my RV refrigerator almost killed me at that time, too. Haha. The refrigerator in the RV had this smell like ammonia. I was thinking, "I don't have an ammonia bottle open.” So I'm looking at all the cabinets and all around, "Where’s that smell coming from? Oh. It's the refrigerator." To be sure it was coming from the refrigerator, I was going to take a sniff of it, but something in my mind said, "Bob, don't take the big sniff. Take a little sniff." I took a very small little sniff. My eyes got big, and I couldn’t breathe in or out. It seemed like every opening in my body closed up and I started to panic, changing colors in my face. All I could do was tell myself to calm down, calm down, calm down. Then I started to breathe a little and a little more, while splashing water on my face. One of the guys called 911. By the time the paramedics arrived, I had recovered from that peril and sent them away. That was a close call to death.

Diana:             Oh my God. What was it?

Bob:                Freon. And it will kill you dead!

Diana:             Freon is a chemical. Very strong.

Bob:                Freon keeps your refrigerator cold, your house air conditioner cool, and your car cool. You never, ever want to sniff or breathe Freon -- It’s instant death!

Diana:             Oh geez.

Alberto:           You are living alone here, or Steve was living also here?

Bob:                Steve was living here, too. Then he bought that house in the Hollywood Hills. Before that he was living in the front part of the studio on North Madison.

                       Steve had it very simple. His bed had Marilyn Monroe painted on the headboard and footboards. He had double open glass doors with a heavy curtain that led to the patio area, which was under construction. That crazy door that let too much cold air in during the wintertime. He said girls wanted to sleep much closer to him because of that. There was the reason, and it worked.

                       He had a film editing bay in his bedroom, where we did our editing for different film projects. Our film company was called “Bulldog Productions.” The logo was a bulldog head with an eye patch on one eye, and smoking a cigar. When Steve moved out of the room into his new house, I moved into the room and added wood floors, modified it, and built stairs to go up into a loft for my bed. I took out the bar in the storage container downstairs, put in my big stereo system at the bottom of the loft bed, and added a total of six speakers, with four speakers in the walls with mood lights that added ambience. It was, and is, a small nightclub that has a working bar full of drinks with mixers. I also installed an indoor swing and a fireman pole to slide down from the loft bed. This put the ladies in the right mood for a long night of enjoyment and fun.  I also put the hot tub in the front patio section with outdoor seating and nighttime ambient light with lots of grapevines covering the top.

Diana:             It's unbelievable. Creative.

Alberto:           So, Steve was living in the front, and you were living in the back?

Bob:                Yes, until he moved into his Hollywood Hills house in 2004. I moved into the front and made all those changes.

Alberto:           So you both had privacy?

Bob:                Yes, his bedroom was in the front. Mine was in the back, and the rest of the studio was our offices, art painting studio, and a conference room for meetings.

Alberto:           You two are kind of playboys, right?

Bob:                Never thought of it that way. But we did have some fun adventures, plus Steve did have some hot stripper girlfriends who had friends. Steve was a member of the Playboy Mansion party list. He knew Hugh Hefner personally. Steve had some great parties here and there. We worked hard, and the parties were a bonus.

Alberto:           So Steve moved into the Hollywood Hills house in 2004?

Bob:                Yes, Steve lived there until 2009, when he had a stroke. It was very hard for him to live there anymore. There were too many stairs to climb to get into that big house. So first he tried to rent the Hollywood Hills five bedroom house to a group of girls. The only problem was he wanted to live there, too.  That group of girls quickly moved out. Steve then moved out so he could rent it. and moved back into the art studio. In order to make the back apartment container larger for him, we extended the bedroom and added a big bathroom with a shower. I built a balcony over the first container. This would be for a sitting area. I turned the downstairs into a walk-in closet for his clothing and other items that he had in the Hollywood Hills house. The deck made it easy to relax and recuperate. He didn't use the deck for any relaxation, though.  He was always working. Steve’s new apartment container accommodated his stroke, and he was happy to be there with his work.

Alberto:           OK. He went in that house in Hollywood, and then because of the stroke he came back here?

Bob:                Yeah, back here at the Art Studio, his real home.

Alberto:           Did he like it here, or did he want to stay there in that house?

Bob:                Steve originally had bought that Hollywood Hills home for his girlfriend.  He would have liked to stay in that house if that woman he had loved, had loved him back.  She lied to him, though. She didn't tell him that she had a husband and a child in Canada. She was only here to find fame. She led him on for two years, dating him. She did Playboy shoots, but didn't make the cover. He bought that house as a surprise after he had been seeing her for two years. He thought they were going to get married. She finally broke down and told Steve the truth. Steve really died of a broken heart.

Alberto:           Very sad. He was not able to stay in that house because he was sick?

Bob:                Yeah. Plus, it was a lot of climbing. It's like climbing hills. We had to climb up. Once you drove up the hill to his house, then you had to walk all the way up these stairs that get up to the house on the court. Once you got up to that house, you had to walk up another set of stairs to get up into the living section.

Diana:             He lived there by himself. He lived there from 2004 to 2008?

Bob:                Well, he really lived there for a couple of years then rented it out.

Diana:             Then, in 2009, he started getting really sick. That's when he said, "OK. Rent it out to the girls?"

Bob:                He wanted to sell the house too, but then the economy went bad. He couldn't sell it for what he paid and put into the house. The downfall was when he built an extra room onto the house, but he didn't get a permit for it. He didn't like permits. Haha. So that cost him a lot of money to build the extra room, and in the end he had to tear it down and fix the repair.

Diana:             He just did his own thing?

Bob:                Right. He did his own thing.

Alberto:           When he was here, you were the guy that prepared food because you’re a great cook?

Bob:                Yeah. That's why I've got two refrigerators in here. One was for all the liquids and greens, or whatever. The other refrigerator was for leftovers from dinner. That was the refrigerator Steve always went to. Haha.

Alberto:           So you took care of each other?

Bob:                Yes, we always looked out for each other. I was basically the cook. Steve didn’t cook that much, because he didn’t know how to cook. He said his mother could not cook. For example, spaghetti was basically ketchup on the pasta. She was a single mom that had to work to provide for her three kids at the time, and making food wasn't her strong point.

Alberto:           Can you tell me how it was? An average day that Steve and you would wake up here? At what time you make breakfast and start working? How was the average day in the studio here?

Bob:                Steve always got up first. He got up like 7-8am. I got up like about 9 or 10. It depended on what the day consisted of, or what I had to do. It depended on where I had to go or what I had to do that day. If it was an easy day, then I would sleep in a little longer, but I was basically a night person. I stay up late at night.

Alberto:           Steve too?

Bob:                Steve stayed up, but not late. He stayed up until about 10 or 11. That was basically his time, unless he was working on a project or something, and then he would stay up later or even all night painting. As for me, it’s like about 1, 2, 3 in the morning when I go to bed.

Alberto:           OK. You wake up and you started the day, and he started to paint silkscreen?

Bob:                He would start painting or do whatever he needed to do that day, make phone calls, or be at the printer overseeing a project.

Alberto:           What about technical things? Where did you buy supplies?

Bob:                I usually did the ordering for supplies, or Steve went out sometimes to get what he needed.

Alberto:           OK. Can you tell us a little bit more of these technical things? Which kind of products were you buying and from which companies?

Bob:                I can't give you a company name, but when we would buy stuff, we bought pretty much in bulk loads. We bought paint by gallong and we would buy 5-12 canvas rolls 100 each, 52 to 72-inches wide. I ordered big boxes of paint brushes, because most of those we used would not clean with dry paint on it. They are given away at art shows.

Alberto:           OK. For example, if Steve liked an image of Marilyn, he’d say, "I want this to paint.” It would be photographed, and the silkscreens made. Nothing digital?

Bob:                He would always use a photograph to work from. He would buy the licensing rights to use the photograph. Then, he would make a negative film of it and cut up the film to make the design he wanted. Then, he would take it and reshoot it as one piece of film for the silkscreen process.

Alberto:           This was in an analogic photo?

Bob:                Right.

Alberto:           OK. Thank you for explaining the process because this takes a long time to make all these layers and lining up the pixels.

Bob:                It takes a long times especially when there are editions being made because you have to wait for each process. You have to wait for the canvas to dry in order to go back and lay the other overlay over it. You could put many overlays depending on how many colors are involved. It can be a very tricky and time-consuming process.

Alberto:           There are paintings that you have, for example, the Coca-Cola, the Dollar, the Marilym where it seems you may have many screens for a composite painting, is that right?

Bob:                Right. That's it.

Alberto:           OK. Then, finish the silscreen process. He takes it and he hand painted it.              

Bob:                He used graphic ink to touch up the silkscreen print look with or without embellishments.

Alberto:           OK. Did you ever assist him with painting?

Bob:                Yes, whatever was needed, I did.  I did the things out of the studio, making deliveries or picking up things like supplies. I worked in the studio and helped paint, also. We were a great team.

                       Steve was an employees of the gang kids that we had. They would do anything for Steve if he asked. Steve had some street savvy. He learned from the street, knew some mob figures and some bad gang members in the Bronx. He had to fight in and out of school to show that he was known as the crazy white boy that was not to be pushed around by them or anyone. So the gang kids bonded with him more, because Steve told them he had been in jail when he was younger and not having a father around.

Alberto:           OK. Can I ask you something personal? I have seen here there are some paintings that are not signed on the back. Why is that?

Bob:                Many times, Steve didn’t sign the full edition until they were being sent to a gallery or sold to individuals. We had some kids who stole small paintings from us, but only a few. We tightened the security and did things like a policy of no big bags. All bags or backpacks would sit in the office until their shift was over. We had a huge amount of kids coming and going from our studio. There were not many paintings that were not signed by Steve.

Alberto:           Did anyone else work here with you, besides you and Steve and the kids?

Bob:                Yeah. Roger. I think Roger entered the picture like a year after I did in '89. Roger was a messenger in New York. He worked for this messenger company. They called him a foot messenger, which was a person that traveled all over the five boroughs. He made deliveries to Steve’s studio in NYC. He knew a lot of places that other messengers did not know. Steve asked him if he wanted a job working for him. He asked if he could draw or paint. Roger said he painted and drew a  little. Steve said to call his boss and tell him to quit. Roger said, “Ok, and when do I start?” because he was planning on quitting anyway.

                       Roger has been with us ever since, and was an artist himself. He worked with us as one of Steve’s trusted assistants for many years. He is a good worker and friend.

Alberto:           What is the surname of Roger?

Bob:                Roger Pate, a.k.a: "the Rog Poge."

Alberto:           Roger Pate. He is living now in Los Angeles?

Bob:                Yeah. He lives about three or four blocks from me.

Alberto:           You meet him very often?

Bob:                Yeah.

Alberto:           He comes here very often?

Bob:                Yeah.

Alberto:           Are you still friends?

Bob:                Yeah. Roger works for me here and there. He helps me out when I need help. He helps me organize and ship art out, and he’s very good with things that are needed here.

Diana:             Did you and Steve socialize after work?

Bob:                Yeah. We socialized every day, but basically on some weekends I was never around here. I was always on my motorcycle with girlfriends, looking for adventure. Steve did his thing with girlfriends too, on his Harley or SUV. He enjoyed his time on weekends, but if on the weekend we needed to work or travel to Las Vegas or Mexico, we would go. Anywhere that we needed to go, we did because art makes travel, and it is what we did and enjoyed.

Alberto:           Speaking about motorcycles, there is big thing that happened with Fidel Castro.

Bob:                Yeah.

Alberto:           Can you tell us about that?

Bob:                Steve did a cigar edition for Martin Lawrence Galleries in their heydays. We enjoyed smoking Cohiba cigars, and were getting three or four cigars when we went to Mexico. We did not buy boxes because they were illegal to bring to the U.S.  Steve had this custom made, 1500 rigid frame Harley with a fat rear tire, low to the ground, and very loud and fast. He painted the tank and fenders like the Cohiba cigar label. He powder-coated the frame bright yellow. The bike looked killer! Anyway, Steve met this guy who had been flying to Cuba, knew Fidel Castro, and could he get Fidel to sign the tank. Steve packaged half of the tank, and shipped it to Cuba. A month later we got it back, and a few weeks later, the IRS came here and audited him with questions about Cuba.

Alberto:           You cannot get the Cohiba cigars here?

Bob:                No, we could not. We got them in Mexico or in Canada. When we bought Cohiba in Mexico, we only got one ot two for ourselves. Anything more, and the customs agents at the borders would take them from us..

Alberto:           Steve was smoking Cohiba?

Bob:                Yes, he smoked once in a while. He wasn't a real smoker, but he liked having a good cigar.

Alberto:           You were going to Amsterdam often?

Bob:                Yes, we used to go each Christmas for aobut eight years. Steve had a gallery showing there, and somehow they came up with an idea for Steve to do a boxing event at the gallery.
Steve said, "OK. I will do a boxing event."
He went by himself to Amsterdam. He said when he got there, his art was hanging all over the gallery walls. There was a boxing ring in the center of the gallery. He saw about 12 to 15 guys lined up to box him. Steve was 35 years old at the time. He looked around and said, "Wow. 15 guys. I don't know if I am going to box 15 guys."

Alberto:           To fight?

Bob:                Yeah, a boxing event. Steve said, "Wow." Then, the champion heavyweight of Amsterdam came in. Steve said, "I will fight him! I don't want to fight the other little guys. I want to fight that guy. Then he will have to fight the other guys." He got in the ring with the champion of Amsterdam.
I have a picture of that. Anyway, he boxed with Steve and punched him, and Steve punched him back. Steve suffered a low blow from the champ, which was an accident. Steve then gave him a head butt. The gallery stopped the fight because someone was going to get hurt. It started to get too real. It was supposed to be just a promotion fro Steve's art in the gallery and not a real fight. With the commotion from the crowd, it was not so funny being there, since no one was cheering for him either. The article was in the Amsterdam paper, but I never got to read it.

Alberto:           It was connected with the art exhibition?

Bob:                Yeah. The art exhibition.

Alberto:           How?

Bob:                I don't know why he got into doing a boxing event or saying that he would box all the boxers in Amsterdam. Steve was always open to crazy suggestions and things like that. It was all fun and excitement for him. He loved that!

Alberto:           Steve and you liked Amsterdam?

Bob:                Yeah, we liked the red light zone, the museums and the country, the gallery shows, and just having a lot of fun there.

Alberto:           Spending a lot of money?

Bob:                Yeah. Well, we make pretty good money with the gallery there, but also because we just went there for the fun.

Alberto:           OK. Let's talk about Cohiba cigars and Fidel Castro.

Bob:                Steve thought if it was possible and if he painted a motorcycle with
                       Cohiba cigar images, maybe Fidel Castro would sign it. So, we
                       designed the bike, painted it, took the tank off, put it in a box,
                       and shipped it to Cuba. We got the tank back. Months later, the                        IRS called.  
Diana:             Castro signed it right away?

Bob:                It took a while to get it back. Yes, Fidel Castro signed it. He didn't used the oil pens that we sent. He used some regular Sharpies. He signed it on the dark part of the cigar instead of the bright side. Then, Steve got a call from the IRS for doing business with Cuba.

Diana:             Was there a money exchange?

Bob:                No. There was no money exchange.

Diana:             What happened?

Bob:                Everything was OK. Nothing happened. He was like, “They thought maybe we were doing something like a drug transaction.” There was no money exchanged with one another. Steve went on to do a series of paintings of the Cohiba cigar. People loved them. We didn’t realize how many cigar smokers and fans of Cohiba there were. Steve really enjoyed painting the cigars.

Alberto:           What year approximately?

Diana:             I would say 1997.

Bob:                1997?

Diana:             It was before 9/11.                    

Bob:                That's right. It was before 09/11.

Diana:             OK. Tell us about the motorcycle that you guys did, that would ride around the Dodger's stadium?

Bob:                It was through a sports placement agency. They had some connection 
                      with the Dodger owner. They really liked the bike Steve painted, so                            they made a deal that, at the opening of the games, Steve would ride                         the Harley Fatboy around the stadium. They had the motorcycle
                      displayed inside the concession are. Steve often painted his                       motorcycles, mainly tanks and fenders. 

Diana:             You never offered those pieces for sale?

Bob:                No.

Diana:             OK. Let's discuss "Give Kids a Break." How did that all begin?

Bob:                Well, it began because Steve loved kids. It was one of Steve's charities to help the inner city kids to learn a skill. Growing up the way Steve did, he didn't really have a father. He didn't have someone to look up to, because I think his father also had heart problems. His Mom worked to secure her family and to pay the bills.

Diana:             She was an accountant, right?

Bob:                Yes. She was an accountant.

Diana:             How was Steve's relationship with his family? How did they feel about you?

Bob:                They liked me. They had no problems with me. I had no problems with them at all. We all got along well. I know Steve spoke with his mother very often on the phone. When we went to New York to do shows, we'd stay at his mom's apartment. She lived in Florida during the winter.

Alberto:           Their house was in the Bronx?

Bob:                Yeah. In the Bronx, Riverdale.

Alberto:           Is it true that Steve’s Mom once met Picasso?

Bob:                Yes, that’s what Steve told me also, a long time ago.

Alberto:           I have seen some photos that Steve had taken if him with other artists. I saw that there are some photos with LeRoy Neiman, which was one of the most famous contemporary artists in the United States.

Bob:                That's true.

Alberto:           I saw one photo with Robert Rauschenberg, and maybe there are others? Did you meet them?

Bob:                I met LeRoy Neiman a few times when we were at the Centaur Gallery, and at the Paris Hotel when there was an event exhibition in 2007. I never met Rauchenberg.

Alberto:           I have met a few artists that knew Steve. I met Burton Morris, who is another pop artist.

Bob:                I got to meet other artists at the International Art Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The artists would run into each other at this major exhibition. That’s where Steve would meet and talk with the other great artists.

Alberto:           You had many programs for kids?

Bob:                Yes. We had lots of people that we hired when we were in North Hollywood, even the homeless. Steve used to have this basketball and hoop for kids to play after school. On Halloween, he would buy all of this candy and hand it out to the kids at the elementary school across the street.

Diana:             Steve would put up signs all around the street that if you went to school, you get a basketball or something like that.

Bob:                Yeah. He did stuff like that, and it was fun. The kids loved it.

Diana:             If you went to school, you got a basketball. The basketball hoop was outside. Steve and Bob would give out basketballs, so kids would line up and they would all get a basketball and play.

Alberto:           That is great. Do you want to stay here and continue running the studio?

Bob:                Yes, absolutely. This place is great. It is Steve and me. We built this place together and worked side-by-side for over 20 years. But I worry that the city may want to enlarge the school next door and force me out.

Diana:             This is a historical place. You and a great artist built this, lived and worked here, and helped thousands of kids move on to a better life.

Alberto:           Yes, this is history here, especially where we can tell the story. We prove that this is a kind of thing that you cannot touch.

Diana:             What would you say were your happiest times for you and Steve working together? What years, and what was going on?

Bob:                I don't know. It was all good. Steve loved to paint. I enjoyed running this place. It was all was good and great times, until he started getting sick. Then, things started to slow down. We had known each other since he was 27 and I was 31. When he started to slow down from a heart attach, he was 44.

Diana:             He had another heart attack in 2000.

Bob:                Yes, but Steve's real problems began with his stroke when he was 46. He had some heart problems. We went to the hospital in Las Vegas after he said he didn't feel so good. He said, "My whole right side feels numb." I said, "That doesn't sound right, man. Let me get dressed, and we will go to the hospital." By the time I said that, he collapsed. I had to hold him up and rush him to the hospital. He stayed in there for a few days.

Diana:             Was it a heart attack?

Bob:                No. It was almost a heart attack. It wasn't quite a heart attack. It was a minor stroke.

Diana:             Is that why he didn't work for about six months?

Bob:                Yeah. Again, things got bad for him. He didn't like being in the hospital. One time, he was recuperating from another small stroke here in Hollywood where I had taken him. He was in there a few days, and he was trying to get out. The nurse said, "Squeeze my fingers,” to see if he had any strength. He squeezed so hard that he hurt the nurse. The doctor said, "You could have hurt her!” Steve said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. I am sorry.” Steve felt real bad about that. They let him out that day. He didn't want to stay there.

Alberto:           Which, in your opinion, were the best years when you saw Steve working? What were his happiest and best years?

Bob:                Many times. Martin Lawrence, Warner Bros. Then, Sinatra, and Ali, John Travolta, Oscar De La Hoya, and many more fun events and times, all the way until the end. He loved to paint. That’s what made him happiest.

Alberto:           Who are Steve’s biggest collectors? The Marilyns, Sinatra, the Money paintings? Is there a certain subject that sold more than others?

Bob:                If you were a collector of classic art, you would want his paintings of Beethoven, Shakespeare, Rembrandt, and Mozart. You want them. If you collected celebrity art, you would want his celebrity paintings of Marilyn, James Dean, and Elvis. Then, there was his religious art, city scenes, and money paintings. He painted so many different things so everyone would find a Kaufman they wanted. He had so many different styles that appealed to so many different people.

Alberto:           What do you mean so many different styles? At the end, he would always silkscreen.

Diana:             Different styles meaning he worked from Marilyn Monroe, to Mickey Mouse, to Shakespeare.

Alberto:           OK, because I would like to be more specific about how to show who Steve was to collectors. He was doing comics at the beginning, because he was working for some companies like Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and Stan Lee.

Bob:                Yes, that's true. Stan Lee is Marvel Comics. For DC Comics we did Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and superheroes like that. Working with Stan Lee was great fun, and he has a great personality. He is like a kid himself, with lots of energy. Steve and I went out to dinner with him and his wife some time back.

Diana:             OK. Tell us about Stan Lee.

Bob:                I think Steve called and met him at his office in Beverly Hills, and he introduced himself. They then worked together on some projects. Steve painted Stan Lee and Spiderman together, and some other of Stan’s superhero characters. Stan Lee has also been here at this studio, to sign some some comic books for the kids working here. They were so amazed, to having an icon like Stan signing his comic books for them. He also signed Steve's Super Hero paintings of Stan Lee's characters, which was part of a business deal.

Alberto:           Stan Lee signed it all by hand?

Bob:                Live and in person!

Alberto:                  He was signing them with gold pen, and some in sharpies?

Bob:                  Yeah. He was signing the front cover of the comics.

Alberto:               Why did Steve always sign on the back?

Bob:                  I don't know why Steve did that. Steve said, "The art is what you want to see. Not the artist's signature."

Alberto:             He signed on the back, SAK. It's really a nickname he got from Warhol.

Bob:                  SAK is the first letters in his name.

Alberto:                  Yeah. Steve Alan Kaufman.

Bob:                  That’s Right.

Alberto:                  He got this name from Warhol?

Bob:                  Yeah, SAK. It’s also his nickname.

Alberto:                  OK. At the beginning, he was signing also as Steve Kaufman...

Bob:                  At the beginning, he used to sign as Steve Kaufman, but I don't know why he went to SAK.

Alberto:                  Is there is a particular way he put it on the back? For example, he’d sell one painting. He signed it here, and would give it out. He just signed it here, there, whatever? Sometimes I see he signed his paintings 2 times. Why?

Bob:                  Sometimes he's signing two times just because people want to see him sign it again.

Alberto:                  You are the kind of guy that knows Steve the most, so you can understand if it's a real signature of Steve’s, or if somebody signed his name. His signature looks like it changed sometimes, the way it is signed.

Bob:                  Yeah. It changed a little when he got sick.

Alberto:                  Can you tell us a little bit more about this, because this is a very important thing to explain to people who are interested.

Bob:                  With each stroke, it changed him in his facial looks. His hair color faded from black to white. It changed his way of walking, and he need a cane. His voice changed. He changed a lot. But that’s what happens with strokes. But he kept his smile, no matter what. He just wanted to paint. That was his life. That was Steve.

Diana:                  Ok. How about, a day in the life?

Bob:                  A day in the life? It's just an average day to me and Steve. Basically, it's just greeting the guys in the morning who come in, and give them the work. He’d sometimes buy them all lunch. If supplies need to be ordered, or things need to be done, I would get it and bring it to them. Or order it, or go buy it, whatever it is. Do paperwork, and whatever it was that made the day pass.

Diana:                  How about the kids? How did it evolve into such a big program?

Bob:                  Well, Steve loved helping these kids, and they needed somebody to look up to. Something like a big brother who gave you a job, and try to help in some way.

Diana:                  How did it all start? The idea of hiring these kids, and when did it start? Did it start with one kid, two kids?

Bob:                  It started with one kid, then two kids, and three. There were a lot of kids in the summertime. They had nothing to do. Steve knew they had nothing to do, and they wanted to make money. What he would do is hire a kid, and then all of a sudden the word would get around from one kid to another. This kid would tell that kid, and that kid would tell that kid. Now all of a sudden, they'll be knocking on the door looking for a job. These kids were mostly part of gangs. Some not. They just wanted a job. Giving those jobs kept them busy, and they made money and stayed out of trouble. Sometimes their parents or parole officers would ask Steve to give them jobs.

Diana:                  How did you both keep all these kids under control?

Bob:                  There was nothing to control. If you did something wrong or if a fight started, we'd break the fight up. Whoever started it, you go home. Sometime Steve was always shouting in a bad mood to give then the ideal to be good because you may get fired or something like that. If they stole, or was making trouble or playing around, some would get fired. “You've got to go.” When Steve fired them, he'd never let them stay away long, or he’d say come back in a week. “OK, you can come back.” Sometimes he'd get in the mood, and he'd get pissed off with them, and he'd fire the whole crew. “All right, everybody out.” Then, they'd come back the next day sometimes.

Alberto:                  They were afraid of Steve?

Bob:                  Well, I guess they were a little afraid. He was a big guy. Steve was what, 6'7" and weighing close to about 230-280. He was a pretty big guy to look up to. Plus Steve was already shouting, growling, arghhhh, making noise, always shouting loud noises and stuff like that. I used to tell Steve, why are you shouting so much? You've got high blood pressure. Why are you doing that? “It makes me feel better.” No, it's not going to make you feel better. It's only going to make it worse. Try to be calm with yourself. Then he'd get upset with me sometimes. “What are you, my mother?” “No, I'm not your mother, I'm not your father, either. I'm your friend.”

Diana:                  You have to tell some of those stories when you two had a fight and what he would do to your bikes.

Bob:                  Haha. If we had a fight, he'd go to kick my car, and kicked a dent in it. The next day I would go to a body shop and get it fixed. “OK, the company paid for it.” Steve would kick it some more. Then he stopped, knowing it will cost him more. Haha.

Alberto:                  Did you both decide the subjects Steve would paint? Today I do Dali, today I do Rembrandt, and today I do Mozart. Was it only Steve, or it both of you?

Bob:                  It was his decision, or maybe there was a client consignment piece he would do. He would do whatever that was most interesting to him at the time.

Alberto:                  So it was his idea?

Bob:                  Yes.

Alberto:                  So when he has an idea, he comes to you and says, “Bob, I need now...”

Bob:                  Whatever he needs, product-wise. If we need more canvas to order, more paint to order, more brushes, or whatever it is.

Alberto:                  You were taking care of all this stuff.

Bob:                  Pretty much, yes. Most of the time Steve would go out and pick up stuff, whatever he needs himself. I picked up the bulk of whatever he would need.

Alberto:                  You ever give him some advice, to make some subjects, something that you were thinking?

Bob:                  Basically it's all his idea. Or he had thought of it already.

Alberto:                  If you met him in 1988, does this mean that for 22 years you were always together?

Bob:                  Pretty much, yeah, definitely we were. We lived together. We lived where we worked. When he came here, even though when we first came to Lancaster he had a girlfriend, so he had a house that he was renting. But he was always at the studio every day. He never really missed a day, unless some days he had to go with her or something like that. I was in charge of the studio.

Alberto:                  He was a workaholic.

Bob:                  Yeah, he was a workaholic, an around the clock workaholic.

Alberto:                  He loved Harley Davidson before you, or you loved Harley Davidson before?

Bob:                  He loved Harley Davidson, Harleys. Me, I like BMWs, Hondas, and Suzuki.

Alberto:                  You both were addicted to cars and motorcycles.

Bob:                  Yes.

Alberto:                  He liked it?

Bob:                  Yeah, he loved it, definitely. We used to do motorcycle events, and stuff like that.

Alberto:                  He painted Ferrari. He painted Mercedes, Mustang...

Bob:                  Yeah, we even had a BMW car. I forget what series that BMW CSI was. He painted the car into the Joker mobile. Yeah, that was one of the cars that I had used, to try to sell to get Steve out of jail a long time ago.

Alberto:                  He painted the car?

Bob:                  Yes, we called it the Joker. The villain in Batman. We painted the car, just for the fun of it. It got a lot of people noticing it.

Diana:                  Why don't you talk about “Bulldog Productions?”

Bob:                  Bulldog Productions? That bulldog logo on the door?

Diana:                  Yeah. The movie, everything.

Bob:                  Bulldog Productions is the production company we created to film the “Kill 'Em” movie. It was something from Steve's childhood past, that he kind of knew a character that was like a mafia kind of character. He put it together into a movie. This movie was about a guy that was a loan shark, and he'd lend people money. If you can't pay the money back on time, of course he's got to hurt you, to show other people that if you borrow money from him and don’t pay back on time, you're going to get hurt. You're going to lose a finger or get beat up real bad, or whatever like that. Whatever the story is, you're going to get beat up or hurt or killed if you can't pay. Steve kind of liked that kind of character in movies, and he played it himself as a small kid to adult.

Diana:                  You had a lot of roles in that movie?

Bob:                  Yeah, I think I had like three or four parts in that movie.

Alberto:                  Was Steve happy with the movie?

Bob:                  He liked it.

Diana:                  Yeah, he had fun with it.

Bob:                  Yeah, he did.

Diana:                  The movie was in the computer. He shipped the entire computer to me to bring to my tech guy because I used to be a video editor. We needed to transfer it onto DVD. It was such an old computer, that we needed someone who really knew how to use this old computer to transfer it out without corrupting the files. Of course the minute it was transferred, I was dying to see it.

Alberto:             Well?!?

Diana:                  It was so campy! Fun to watch, really something!!!

Bob:                  Right. I think I have a copy of it.

Diana:                  You do have a copy of it. Yeah, I made copies. Steve had called me anxiously because he hadn't seen it for years since it was first filmed.

Alberto:             What year was it done?

Bob:                  In 2000... No. It was 1998 when we built a jail for the movie. And an electric chair that really works! We used it in part of the movie scenes.

Diana:                  Yeah, with the electric chair. Haha!. Steve hadn't seen the movie in many years. His vision and memory of it was very different from what it really was. He called me, and he said to me, “Well?!?” I told him it was very campy, like the type of movie they would show at midnight at the small movie houses, like a Rocky Horror type of thing, very campy and silly. He said, “Send me copies right away!” When Steve saw it, he calls me up and he says, “Well I saw the movie.” I said, “Yeah, so what did you think about it?” He says, “It sucks.” I laughed and said, “No it doesn't. It's OK.” He said, “No, it sucks.” Haha. We had a good laugh about it, but I think it’s a fun movie.

Alberto:                  This is the only movie he has done?

Bob:                  Before “Kill Em,” I was in a low budget movie called “Bloodshed and Emeralds,” before Steve did his movie.

Diana:                  Was it Bulldog Productions? Or was that your own?

Bob:                  No, this was an Annie Cochran movie. She did it in about 2006. She passed away in 2010.

Diana:                  Oh wow.

Bob:                  I think I've got a copy of that, too.

Diana:                  It was shot while you guys were all together? Was Steve in it, and you?

Bob:                  Steve had a part in it, but he decided not to do it anymore. So they had to get a new actor to replace him. Annie had him as a Cardinal in a church in it.

Diana:                  A Cardinal? Hahaaaaaa

Alberto:             “Kill Em.” So for many years, it was just in the computer?

Diana:                  Yeah. It was edited in the computer 12 years. No, more than that, in 1998. Then in 2008, Steve shipped me the entire computer. The computer was so old, they didn't know how to export the movie out of it.

Alberto:                  Is it well done?

Diana:                  It looks like...

Bob:                  Campy.

Diana:                  Campy. It looks like it was, amateurs. The camera work was good, and the quality was decent. They were amateur actors, but it was fun for everyone involved. The girls he hired were. It depended on the size of their breasts. Haha.

Alberto:             After “Kill 'Em,” what happened? The production company just ended?

Bob:                  It ended. Yeah, pretty much. Because painting was what we were good at, and the movie was something Steve had in his mind to do, since we were in Hollywood. Also, it wasn't making any money for us, and we didn't know how to promote it or put it in any kind of festival, or get someone to promote it for us. Steve got his dream of being a movie director, and was done with it -- Because it took a lot of time and money to hire people to play the part, and not everyone could do it for free, for months, to finish.

Diana:                  It was fun, right, and you had a great time.

Bob:                  Yeah, it was fun. And it was a lot of work, too. Steve got to his fulfill his dreams, and that was it. He made something that he wanted to do, and it was done, and that was it. Now to get back to realization, and do art. That's what happened with that.

Diana:                  Is that the only thing that you guys did differently than painting, was the film?

Bob:                  Yeah. That was the only thing different, other than rent an art studio in Mexico as a business. We planned on becoming land owners with a ranch someday, but that won’t happen now...

Alberto:                  You were traveling always with him around the world?

Bob:                  Yeah. We traveled a lot together.

Alberto:                  Where have you been? Amsterdam….

Bob:                  England, Scotland, Japan. Switzerland, Amsterdam, Germany. Steve had also been to Paris.

Diana:                  Ireland.

Bob:                  Ireland, all over the U.S., Canada, and Hawaii.

Alberto:                  Always for a show?

Bob:                  Correct. Nothing for the fun of it. It's basically for doing shows.

Alberto:                  In Japan, how was it, because I see a lot of art that has a lot of movement in Japan. Does it mean you went there very often?

Bob:                  I was only there once with Steve. Steve had been there about five times or something like that, maybe six times.

Alberto:                  Did Steve have a lot of friends there, a lot of collectors? Why did he decide on Japan?

Bob:                  Well, Martin Lawrence Galleries flew Steve there first, for a couple of shows. He had some connection, they loved his art, and we did some shows there. It was good, but the gallery… They still owe us some paintings that they still have there. They have not paid or finished paying.

Diana:                  They sold them?

Bob:                  They sold them, but they never really paid Steve off very much on that.

Diana:                  What happened was, when he went there, he brought paintings with him. And they sold them, and he was paid because he was there. Then when he came back, they ordered more paintings. Steve shipped them the paintings, but they never paid. They never paid him. That's the problem when you're dealing internationally with consignments. That's a big problem, sometimes.

Alberto:                  How about Steve stories with girls. Did he have many girlfriends? Did he change girlfriends often?

Bob:                  No, they changed with him very often. Steve was happy to stick with one girl, but they got crazy after a while. Actually, they wanted Steve to spend on them, splurge on them, buy this, buy that, and do this and all that. When Steve stopped doing it, they didn't want to stay. Then, they want to go. Also, he worked so many hours, and they wanted to see him more and do more things like travel everywhere. But his life was painting, and he spent much of his time doing that.

Alberto:                  Was he very generous?

Bob:                  Yeah, he was generous with them. Give them paintings; buy them stuff. They all had other plans of their own. He was generous to everyone. He was like that. He would give you anything.

Alberto:                  Did you ever go out as couples, like you and your girlfriend?

Bob:                  Yes, very few times. We did a couple times, at an event we were at together or dinner out. A few times, we go out and have dinner and partying, but like I said, basically on the weekends I was pretty much always gone. He was always doing his thing on the weekend too, if we were not out doing shows or out of town.

Alberto:                  During the weekend you completely stopped work?

Bob:                  Yeah. It depends on what needs to be done. If something needed to be done on the weekend, I stayed and worked. If not, I'm gone for the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and back on Monday. But Steve liked drama and always found kookie girls. He met some at the Playboy mansion, and he dated some playmates. One time, he was driving with this girlfriend, and she had a fight with Steve. So she slides back to the car door, and starts kicking him in the head. So he'd have to pull over to stop her from kicking him. Throwing his computer at him, saying, “I'm pregnant. You've got to pay,” but she's was not pregnant. But he loved some drama. Haha.

Diana:                  So what were some of the highlight events for the two of you?

Bob:                  I've been with Mohammad Ali when we went to Atlanta, Georgia. We did a signing and stuff like that with Warner Brothers. That was a fun event. It was in 1997? Somewhere around there. Like I said, I should have been documenting stuff, writing stuff in books, and making notations of stuff like that. But I never did. I don't know why. I just took it as part of the deal. What would happen this week, the next would be different. Here at the studio, no two days were ever the same. It was always different, even though the same environment, but the situation was always different within. People came by, or the kids would act up. No two days were the same. Or, I might find myself driving off somewhere. I'd have to go down to Mexico, Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, or wherever I had to go. It was kind of an adventure each day. What's going to happen next? That was the fun part about it, and that's what I liked a lot about it.

Alberto:                  So you have a very interesting life, because you also loved what you do and have done.

Bob:                  Yeah, I do. I wouldn't trade it for the world. It was fun. It was great. I just wished I had a way of stopping Steve from doing what he did, leaving that night to go to Colorado for a show. With the cold weather and thin air. It was too dangerous for him, because he was sick when he drove off and did not look well at all.

Diana:                  Why don't you tell us about that?

Bob:                  Steve was recuperating from a bad stroke that took almost all his voice away, and could barely walk, and he insisted on going. He would say, “I’m not just going to sit in a wheelchair and just sit!” I could have watched his back. Steve always watched my back, When Steve was sick, I needed to be with him to make sure he was all right. And going on that trip was not good, but he went anyway, and when he made his mind up that was it. When he gets there to Vail, Colorado… Steve, he enjoyed food. He loved eating new things. When Steve got there from the flight, he's usually hungry. But he says, “No, I'm not feeling good. I'm going to my room, and I'll see you in the morning,” to his salesman. By his account, the salesman says, “OK, I'll wake you up. I'll see you at about eight or nine o'clock in the morning, and we'll go have breakfast” But the salesman doesn’t go till about ten o'clock or something like that, and knocks on the door, and no answer. The door is locked, so they couldn't open the door, because Steve had a bolt on it. They had to tear down the door. Steve had died.

Alberto:                  Do you think if you were there, you could have done something?

Bob:                  Of course, I would have done something. The last time when Steve had that problem, I was there to help him. I'm the one who took him to the hospital. Steve wasn't that person who liked hospitals that much. You really had to drag him, pull him, and hit him in the head to get him there. He died trying to get to the door, and he couldn't. I told Steve I should go, but he said it wasn’t necessary. If I went, it would have been different because I know it was so unlike Steve not having a meal. So when Steve said, “I don't feel good. I'm going to my room,” that's the first sign that something is very wrong.

Diana:                  This is just too sad. Very sad.

Alberto:               Why did Steve’s estate take so long to close? Were there many problems?

Bob:                    Whenever a famous person dies, or anyone with large assets, there are always problems. It’s just the way it is. The Executor of the estate was Eric Yamamoto. He had a tough job, but he did very well. I’m just so happy it’s over… Finally.

Diana:                What would you want people to know about you?

Bob:                  What do I want people to know about me? That I was Steve's closest friend, and he was a good, kind hearted person who would give the shirt off his back, and had been known to do that. We were a team. We went through so much together, and had many great times… the things we did, and the people we met. We would fight, argue to make a point, laugh, work together, and shared everything.

Alberto:                  What would you be doing if you had not met Steve in the Bronx that day?

Bob:                  I would probably still be working in advertising, or had my own small company. Or maybe I would have put 100% into acting or doing commercial voice overs at a radio station, but I never had time to do these things. Money was needed to do those things, and my rent and auto, electric, phone bills, etc. always came first. I may have found a night job, so I could find the daytime acting job and taking acting classes. Doing things like that, which takes a lot of time to balance in your life, even though I tried twice here. Two separate times I got into 2 motorcycle accidents that gave me a broken leg and arm going to an interview that I did not make it to. I am still trying to go for part of that dream, but with all that’s been going on in my life… Go figure!

Diana:                  You went to the Fashion Institute of Technology, in Manhattan.

Bob:                  Yeah, I did some broadcasting in a school in-house thing.

Diana:                  You voice is amazing. You have a real broadcaster’s voice.

Bob:                  I turn it on sometime, when I want. Haha

Alberto:                  What changed for you these past four years since Steve died? Do you feel alone now here?

Bob:                  Yeah, I feel alone without having Steve around. Once you grown close to a person, you're like one. You're there for each other. He was like a brother. That's what it was. After Steve died, that's when I decided to create my own paintings, too. Do my own artwork. I've been doing that to keep busy, while the Estate got things settled. I tried to organize all the paintings in the studio the way I have it now. A lot has changed. I'm still trying to promote myself, which I'm doing now, to get my own artwork out there. I'm an artist, and I want to lead my own art path now.

Alberto:                  You're using the same technique as Steve?

Bob:                  I don’t think so. I guess when you've grown so much with a person, a little may rub off. I understand most of his procedure, and I'm trying to create my own style through it all. When I look at my art, I see that my art is different from Steve’s style, and I feel there will be no problems down the road to a new future.

Diana:                  Yes, you definitely have your own style.

Bob:                  Good.

Alberto:                  Yeah. I have seen things on the internet about you.

Bob:                  Oh, you did. Good. I do have my own website.

Alberto:                  Yeah, I know. I have seen it. It’s excellent.

Diana:                  When you think of your future, where do you see yourself? Where do you want to be?

Bob:                  I want to be a known artist myself, in the art field. I don't know if I'll still be here at this same location, because I don't know what the future holds with me right now.

Alberto:                  This is where Steve painted. And now it's run by you, who built it with him. A historical site. You have to make this like a museum.

Bob:                  Right, but I don't know if that can happen. Maybe?

Alberto:                  Why not?

Bob:                  It's a growing area. This area is growing a lot, and a lot of people moving into this area. It's becoming a very popular place. And if the worst happens, I will move to Las Vegas. Big businesses are moving out now. The movie world is moving out to shoot in Canada or wherever; they're moving for cheaper regulations to film. Hollywood is losing the movie industry starlight now. Vegas would be kind of great spot for me to move.

Diana:                  You'd have to get a really big place for everything.

Bob:                  I know. I will have to get a property 20 miles outside of the city with 10-15 acres of land to build on. I won't be close to the city, because I want to be away from the city and have a ranch and try to get my charity organized, fixed, and running.

Alberto:                  Do you want that? Or if you can stay here, would you stay here?

Bob:                  If I could stay here, I would like stay here. If it doesn't come to that, I will move this business. It will take me about six months to move out of here. I can't believe all the things we have collected over the years in the building. It will take me awhile to move and settle into a new place. Steve and I have put 20 years into this place.

Diana:                  In wrapping up, is there anything that you want us to include that we haven't talked about, that you want people to know about you, or how you want people to see you?

Bob:                  People see me as Steve's long time friend over the years that we've been together. Never really been separated because of the business or from each other, ever. We always worked together. We traveled together. We did a lot of things together. Shows, benefits, adventures. We did a lot together. There's no one that I know, with I or Steve, who we had in our life that were closer friends than we were. He had people as associates and friends, but when it comes down to close friends, it was always Steve and I.

Diana:                  He always referred to you as his brother, always. The first conversation I ever had with him, he told me that.

Bob:                  Yeah. It was like, “You're my brother from another mother.” That's what he was. I miss that guy a lot, but I have all the memories of him in my head.

Diana:                 Thanks so much. It was great to do this, and you telling your story.

Alberto:             For me, this was amazing. I never met Steve, so hearing your stories were great. Thanks so much.

Bob:                    My pleasure. I just wish Steve was still here.