Doug Barasch

Hildy applied for the Guggenheim Fellowship; and although she did not receive a fellowship, she was certainly deserving. Part of that application was a "narrative," a brief biography of sorts. Below are excerpts from that narrative. My mother, Helen Maze, late in life, gave birth to me on a snowy day in November. I am of Turkish, Russian and Austrian heritage. My mother, an exotic-looking woman with a palette of white hair and dark skin, was a classical pianist who received a scholarship to The Julliard School of Music, but was barred by her father from accepting admission because of the family’s difficult finances during the Depression. But throughout her life, my mother continued to pursue musical expression. Often her beautiful operatic whistling could be heard throughout our home. She shared with me, from a very young age, her love of the arts. I studied ballet beginning at age 5, began to play the piano at the age of 6, and later at the age of 9 even pursued acting. My father Eli, nicknamed Lucky by his younger brother, was a C.P.A and champion amateur golfer, a progressive thinker with eccentric tendencies, great kindness, and a dry sense of humor.... While attending an art class at Forest Hills High School I discovered I could draw and paint. But upon graduation, still interested in theater, I apprenticed at Williamstown Summer Theatre, then attended Emerson College in Boston for one year to continue my theater studies. I eventually transferred to Pratt Institute, where I earned a BFA focusing on graphic design. The teacher who most influenced and inspired me was the graphic designer Charles (Charlie) Goslin. He had more confidence in me than I had in myself, and his rigorous critiques of my work pushed me to think precisely, pay attention to detail, and to relax more without worrying about the result.... During my last semester at Pratt, I had the good fortune to work for Milton Glaser as his assistant during the celebrated launch of New York Magazine. While at Milton Glaser Inc., I was editor of the award winning Audience Magazine, a journal of short stories, poetry, essays, photography and art; and organized an installation at the World Trade Center, as well as designed a piece for the exhibition. In my spare time I did commercial design projects of collaged assemblages, constructions and installations made of found objects. I became a full-time commercial free-lance designer, making assemblages and constructions for The New York Times, various book publishers, music companies and magazines for about two years during the 1970s.... In 1984, I no longer wanted to struggle to maintain my increasingly expensive New York City loft. I decided instead to move from my beloved Tribeca apartment to East Hampton, New York, to be near the ocean while continuing my meditation practice and developing my painting. My desire was to merge formal meditation with daily life and making art, and to be able to communicate this to others.... Essentially I view my work as an evolving inquiry. I continue to live, make art, and to study the principles of Buddhist contemplative philosophy, a pursuit not unlike cleaning the dust off the windows in a house in order to see the world and oneself more clearly and precisely, with less aggression and with more equanimity, kindness and humor.