Finkler said he then went to a school for deaf
children, a camp for deaf children and had a wonderful speech therapist.
But, he never learned to sign, using American Sign Language.
Sun City Sun
March 16, 2010
Reed, a Sun City Hilton Head resident shows off
the artistic abilities
of her brother, Joe Finkler, especially-now that the two have
collaborated on a book of his sketches.
The little book is the first of what both hope will be many more publications. It's the perfect gift for hairstylists, people who need hairstylists, and people who spend a lot of time with their hairstylists.
Times - February 15, 2010
Upon walking into
Finkler's in-home art studio on West Saugerties Road, there is the
immediate sense that math and science play an important role in his art.
Thousands of tiny, colorful squares
and geometrical shapes
lined the wal1s paintings large
and small, seeming to hint at a mathematical language not readily
that he had always been fascinated by science and physics.
'''The parallelogram is the key to understanding
perspective," he said, motioning to a particular group of paintings
on the wall, created in cubist style and bold colors.
In contrast to
these colorful canvases
his new book is full with dozens of black
and white illustrations of women with wild hair updos, bouffants, afros —
with captions reading
"wired for fun" and "gone with the wind."
was living in Florida, I couldn't believe how much money was spent in
hair salons," he said. "I find it very interesting women's
obsession with appearance."
In its, clean
and sleek black and white layout, the book seemed to be a total
departure from the abstract pieces on the walls of the studio, which
were bursting with colorful, psychedelic designs."
Finkler spoke about his artistic influences, impressionist painters
like Monet and Cezanne, who he said had an uncanny ability to balance
harmony and tension - and
Philip Guston, his abstract impressionist hero, who lived in Woodstock
in the latter part of his life.
can't go any further than that," he said, gushing with reverence.
Other influences on his work include existentialist philosophers like
Karl Popper, Jean-Paul Sartreand Bertrand Russell, and writers like
Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, he was able to study with the unique
perspective of a person shut out from the petty sounds of the society
It is perhaps
in this regard that
Finkler's perspective is most influenced. Finkler has been 95
percent deaf since age one, though it wasn't discovered until he was
six years old. When he was about three, his mother took him to see a
young doctor where the family lived in Manhattan -
none other than famous
writer and pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock.
"I peed on-him," Finkler said. The young doctor, who was
only in his early 30s at the time, couldn't figure out what was the
matter with the boy, who was thought, at the time to be
his disability was revealed, he was given an I.Q. test, on which he
scored above average, and was sent to a school for the deaf on the East
Side. There he met a teacher who, he said, "saved his life."
It wouldn't be until the age of twelve that his words would
be understood by others. During this time, he developed his non-verbal
communication skills through art, some of which he remembers decorating
the windows of his school, along Fifth Avenue.
Finkler's life grew to reflect the changing times around him. From 1967 to 1969 he dove headfirst into the counter culture of Haight-Ashbury. He spent two years on the road, "dropped out" as he called it, followed by a move. back to Manhattan; Monticello, and then Florida, until 1984,when he moved to Woodstock and setup an art studio on Lower Byrdcliffe.
"I've painted almost every day since then" he said.
Finkler started to make a living as a house painter, and though he found comfort in being part of an artistic community, it was not all a bed of roses. In the winter of 1997, he found himself homeless and without a place to make or store his art. A story was published about it on the front page of the Woodstock Times. Later, Finkler was able to purchase his home on West Saugerties Road, where paintings, sketches, ink washes and watercolors now fill every nook and cranny.
Over the years, Finkler delved into the study of Shamanism and Buddhism, which, he said helped him to, let go of his ego, allowing him to release himself from an attachment to material success. This has led to greater enjoyment in making art, he said, not just for its own sake, but to make fun, and to help answer questions - some trivial and some not.
Referring to one of his larger-than-life paintings, with a center that seemed to fold in on itself, he posed a question that he often tries to address. "How does the creation of physicality occur? " he asked. "It just doesn't happen by itself."
Indeed, the prolific artist, now in his 70s, is working on a book set of illustrations including A Book for Heads, Do You Know Your Own Mind? Aspects of the Mind - a humorous series on human psychology - and Robots, the Mechanical State of Being. Finkler will also be showing his work at an art opening in April at Back Stage Studios in Kingston, NY.