In a spittle of sacrilegious rage my mercurial American friend David Schoffman destroyed his beautifully appointed southern California studio.
Its rich northern light and 14 ft. ceilings provided the perfect theater for David's diabolical imagination.
It was there, just a spliff's toss from the madcap carny riot of Venice Beach where Schoffman produced some of his most seminal works. Many of his notorious short films were made there. Three of his five weddings took place in his large printmaking space where on each occasion his four dazzling skylights glazed the ill-fated couple with cruel radiant and prescient indifference.
The place was a shrine to folly, a tabernacle of foolishness and a toxic repository of stoic miscalculation. The grandeur of the place mocked David's futile diurnal dalliances with greatness.
He's now reduced to a vanquished carapace of his former self. He's taken to sleeping all day and driving his 1969 Chevrolet Impala all night long down the gaudy, desolate boulevards of Los Angeles. To David these not-so-mean streets are a perfect metaphor echoing a once formidable ego now vacated and lampooned.
He drives well below the speed limit listening to spy novel audiobooks on his tinny cassette player and whenever an interesting image cuts across his windshield he snaps a quick picture on his cell-phone.
These morose confections are now the subject of an unlikely exhibition at Gallerie Nuitcroisière on rue Piat in Bellville. To us Parisians these scenes of wide dim streets wedged between cordons of filifera palms are as foreign as space travel. There is nothing even remotely like it in all of Europe and the fact that the show is taking place on the eve of what is shaping up to be one of our severest winters adds an extra element of aloof exoticism to the work.
Schoffman's studio has since been reduced to rubble.
The rumor is that this former shrine to Bohemia is slated to become a medical marijuana emporium complete with a hemp spa and a cannabis bakery.
David lives in a cozy one-bedroom apartment in Encino and has no plans to resume his painting any time soon.
He just put a new engine in the Impala and bought a brand new Canon D810 SLR and a DJI Phantom 2 Vision drone with a custom tripod for his camera.
Why not? His new works are insanely popular with collectors and he needs to crank out inventory.
He calls it "monetizing his melancholy."