Ken and I met while we were in college. We were both part of a summer program financed by the City of New York that provided creative jobs for art students during July and August.
I was working on a mural in Chinatown and Ken was working on one in Hell's Kitchen. There was a Lower East Side loft that served as an office. That is where we first met. We were immediate friends. He was always so agreeable and easy going, it was impossible not to love him. I sublet a 4 floor walk up in a tenement building where we would often repair to when the day's work was over. There we would dine on a pound of spaghetti with tomato sauce straight from the can with a sprinkle of oregano left by the tenant who was on an archeological dig in Israel and a VERY cheap bottle of wine. Somehow the meal was exquisite.
Ken and I would enjoy our Bohemian days together often going to any free cultural event within walking distance. We didn't want to spend our "hard earned cash" on the subway. I remember once we walked from E 9th on the East Side to Lincoln Center to hear an outdoor concert. After we both graduated and started careers, I a fashion designer, he a professional photographer/artist, we kept in touch. He came to my wedding and the three of us became fast friends.
I was able to hire Ken on many occasions to photograph models or do photography shoots for the hang tags on my garments. I worked for a large company so I was able to have him flown down to Florida to take photos of the fashion on models and we would have a great time, especially when the day's work was over and we got to dine in a luxuriant restaurant paid for by my company. He would usually spend a day of two at the hotel, usually the Doral Country Club in Miami.
My husband, Joseph and I purchased Ken's work, a poster for an art show in Spain, two early beautiful black and whites and a later photographic print. I was his translator when he needed to communicate with the art gallery in Barcelona, since I spoke Spanish. I remember calling Spain from a phone booth during lunch time. He was truly grateful.
It has been so difficult to see him during his birthday celebrations. It was painful to see him suffer. I will always cherish my time with Ken and will always treasure my memories. I will carry with me always the way he looked when he smiled, with a glint in his eye and his soft laughter. He was such a dear and gentle soul.
PS I will post photographs of his work in a new post.