WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
As many of you know, child-rearing and midlife crisis can combine like a Greek play and an Italian opera. But in my case, it’s all been fun. Let’s start in 2007 when I first attended a First Friday in the downtown Canton arts district. There I saw a Canton that boomed with a long-absent vitality and sophistication. I wanted in, I wanted my family to participate. A year later, we started the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography and Tuscora Realty. Though 2008 wasn’t the best timing to start a real estate business, I listened for the voice of my father, who would say something about “good things” happening with “patience” and “waiting.”
WHAT’S ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
I am a very, very proud father of Nicole. Nothing fills me with more wonder than watching her bloom. She will conquer all obstacles with passion and grace to become a gifted and highly accomplished adult. She will have a depth of respect for wisdom and beauty that will exceed mine by a thousandfold.
WHAT IS ON YOUR MIND?
I’m excited about two new shows scheduled at the Saxton Gallery. “Synergaze,” opening this August, began last summer and was created by a community of photographers and artists. Consisting of portraits of volunteer First Friday participants, the show has an interesting twist: Sitters for portraits were paired with strangers, and were asked to engage in a complicated staring contest in which they were directed to empathetically engage, or understand, one another through purely visual means. Not to be outdone, we take our “Synergaze” roots from performance artist Marina Abromovic in a recent conceptual art piece of hers at Museum of Modern Art.
The second show — about which I am especially excited — also examines street photography. In 2009, Vivian Maier had set the street photography world on fire when John Maloof discovered more than 100,000 of her negatives in a Chicago storage locker. A private and enigmatic photographer, Vivian Maier died months before the discovery of her negatives, and was unknown at the time of her death.
With the revelation of this brilliant body of street photography, taken in New York and Chicago, Vivian Maier posthumously joins the ranks of Helen Levitt, Lisette Model and Diane Arbus. The gallery will host this show beginning in February 2014.
What: Taught writing at Cornell, 1986-1988; manager, Canton Classic Car Museum, 1989-2000; MB Operating Inc., board of directors, 1999-2006; Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography and Tuscora Realty Co., 2008 to present.
Education: Sandy Valley High School, 1974; Bowling Green State University, writing and art history, 1983; Cornell University, Master of Fine Arts, poetry, 1987.
Community boards: Indigo Ink Press, Canton Ballet, Canton Symphony.