On this sunny April morning, local artist Jorge Luis Codero had set up his easel right outside of his studio on DeGraw Street. Most passers-by expected him to be painting the Carroll Gardens street scene in front of him, but, to their surprise, he was working on a Tuscan scene, evoked from memory. "This is part of a series called 'Lived Experiences' "he tells me. "When I was young, I traveled to many places, to Paris, Florence and Sienna." Those long ago experiences are his inspiration now.
Jorge was born in Carroll Gardens. His family still lives in a brownstone on Sackett Street. He left the neighborhood when he was 19 to attend Parsons School of Design in Manhattan. Later, he spent time at the Paris branch of Parsons. Travels through Italy followed, but then he settled down to a 'white picket fence' life in the suburbs.
He moved back to Carroll Gardens nine years ago. He "feels like Odysseus in the Odyssey," coming home after many years away, he tells me.
He currently teaches at High School For Art And Design on Second Avenue at 57th Street and seems to truly enjoy this new chapter in his life.
It turns out that Jorge and I went to Parsons at the same time in the early 80's, though we did not know each other back then. Standing on DeGraw Street, we exchanged stories about our time there, our lives, our children and the neighborhood.
As I am leaving, he tells me to stop at Enoteca on Court Street to see one of his completed paintings, which the eatery's owner has purchased from him. You can see the photo of it above.
Thanks, Jorge! It was a pleasure meeting you. I'll be sure to stop by again for a chat.
And thanks to David at Enoteca, for taking the photo of Jose's painting.