I remember Curtis Cuffie. I probably saw him seven or eight times, while visiting New York. Mostly, it was around Cooper Square. He’d be building his wild constructions, often next to the chain link fence.
He made much of his art while he was homeless, living on the streets. Sometimes he could be a little scary. He’d seem to be angry or upset with you. You could tell he didn’t want to talk. Other times, he was a bit friendly. It was as if he remembered me or saw I was some sort of “fellow artist.”
Sometimes he had a boombox playing various sorts of music including country music, Johnny Cash etc.
The last time I saw him, I gave him a few photographs I’d taken of Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project. He seemed to enjoy that.
I saw a number of other things he made, that I didn’t get to photograph. Some amazing work! There are always amazing and innovative street artists around New York, but he was one of the best. I loved his artwork. It was great to be able to watch him work a bit or to encounter one of his pieces.
Sometimes, I’d see it a day later and it would be way different. Eventually, a lot of his street art ended up in the dump, carted away by the sanitation department!
2001 Exhibit at Intuit in Chicago:
Here’s more good information on Curtis Cuffie.
This is a photograph of him, below. All photos were taken by me, except for this portrait.