Ezra Kohn

1. How and when you first met Harry Roseman - I first met Harry Roseman in September of 1983. I was a freshman art student at Vassar and Harry was my sculpture professor. Back then Harry was the only sculpture professor at Vassar. Classes were held in the old greenhouse sculpture studio, which has since been destroyed. I will always remember meeting Harry. We connected on so many levels from the beginning. Harry became the single most influential art professor I studied with at Vassar, and we remain friends to this day.

2. A statement about your work and/or a brief autobiographical statement - My father was a surgeon and a survivor of the Holocaust. He was born in 1930 in Warsaw, Poland and fled from the Nazis with his sister and parents in 1939. He and his family made their way across Russia, Kazakhstan and Iran, arriving in Israel in 1943. After completing medical school in Jerusalem, he left Israel for the United States in 1957.

My mother was born and raised in the Bronx. The daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, she went to Mt. Sinai Hospital Nursing School; survived two bouts of tuberculosis as a young woman; and spent five years in a sanatorium in Bedford Hills, New York. She met my father at work in Montefiore Hospital.

I was born in New York City in the fall of 1965. My father and mother had four of us and then moved the family when I was five from suburban New York City to a village in western New York State. I grew up in rural America in the 1970s and early ’80s. I am the son of a Jew and a gentile, a half-breed. I walked the line as a kid between various identities, and I still do. I spent the majority of my adult life struggling to survive as an artist in New York City, earning a living however I could, showing my artwork whenever I could. My wife and I got out of the city shortly after my daughter was born nine years ago. We packed up and moved to southern California, where there are far fewer cloudy days.

 

- October 26, 2013

 

"Mammoth," ink on cotton rag paper, 22 x 30 inches, 2004