right. OK. He called you, and he asked you to come out to California. Ok. Go ahead.
said, "Come out to California with
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.
out by myself. I came out here by myself. When I got out to California, I
said, "Steve, where are you in California?"
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.
I would have been really messed up if that RV had crashed and flipped over.
did you get it out?
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.
would have been a whole different story. No doubt.
can make a movie about this.
Diana: Then, what
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."
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?"
Hills, or somewhere near that, he said before he left NYC.
"No. She got us a place out in
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
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.
first studio was there?
The first studio was in Lancaster.
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.
were you renting it from?
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?
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."
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.
said, "Steve, I am heading back to the studio. I had enough."
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.
my God. hahaa
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
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.”
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.
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.
Do you remember the address?
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.
lived there for about three years?
We lived there for three years.
did you do the art? Did you do it in the building?
we did it in the studio we had, and we lived there too.
did the building look like?
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.
Bob: We built our own showers, too.
the landlord know you were doing that?
knew it. hahaa
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
you do your own art too?
didn't do much of my own art painting at the time.
did you do your own art?
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.
a question because we're speaking about the early '90s. Which kind of art was Steve
doing at that time?
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.
of the paintings I have seen of Steve's are from 1995 to 2010.
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
Diana: What was the art that Steve enjoyed doing the most? Was it superheroes?
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.
do you think was his favorite art?
don't know. He liked everything, but I think the favorite was Marilyn.
read somewhere that he liked doing collage art like Marilyn's Hollywood, mixed
with other icons.
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.
us about the Sinatra projects.
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?
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.
that about the same time that he did the Warner Bros. stores? How did that
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.
right. Tell us about how you got Warner Bros.
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.
ran the whole thing?
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.
Do you remember the paintings that he did for Warner Bros.? It was Muhammad Ali?
Yeah, that's right. That was for Warner Bros.
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.
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.
chronology is where Ali signed, "Muhammad Ali a.k.a. Cassius Clay."
how long was the art actually in the stores before they closed?
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.?
was very little art to come back. Steve paintings sold really well in the
Tell us now more about you. Tell
us when you found this place on Madison Ave.
New York, you went to Lancaster...
Alberto: From North Hollywood to...
Bob: Here in Hollywood on North Madison Ave.
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.
did it? You did it alone?
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.
designed it? Who designed the building?
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.
you have money to do this?
That's why we were able to do it.
started to really live by the art.
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.
paid for this building in full?
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
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.
my God. What was it?
And it will kill you dead!
is a chemical. Very strong.
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!
are living alone here, or Steve was living also here?
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.
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.
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
two are kind of playboys, right?
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.
He went in that house in Hollywood, and then because of the stroke he came back
Bob: Yeah, back here at the Art Studio, his real home.
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?
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
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?"
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.
just did his own thing?
Bob: Right. He did his own thing.
he was here, you were the guy that prepared food because you’re a great cook?
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.
you took care of each other?
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.
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?
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
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.
You wake up and you started the day, and he started to paint silkscreen?
would start painting or do whatever he needed to do that day, make phone calls,
or be at the printer overseeing a project.
about technical things? Where did you buy supplies?
usually did the ordering for supplies, or Steve went out sometimes to get what he needed.
Can you tell us a little bit more of these technical things? Which kind of
products were you buying and from which companies?
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.
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
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.
was in an analogic photo?
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.
Can I ask you something personal? I have seen here there are some paintings
that are not signed on the back. Why is that?
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?
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.
is the surname of Roger?
Pate, a.k.a: "the Rog Poge."
Alberto: Roger Pate. He is living now in Los Angeles?
He lives about three or four blocks from me.
meet him very often?
comes here very often?
you still friends?
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
Diana: Did you and Steve socialize after work?
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.