Paul Spina was an artist of the highest order. He was classically trained in drawing; still lifes; portraiture; oils and pastels. He told me that. He said before you branch out, you have to know the basics. He was astounded by the number of his students that “couldn’t draw their way out of a paper bag.”
We would have lively conversations together about art, politics – especially politics. He was active, involved and engaged. That’s the Paul Spina I knew.
The disappearance of Etan Patz – a child from his neighborhood – consumed him a bit. He would always talk about it when I was with him.
I got the sense he had a love hate relationship with a lot of people – family included. He was always good to me though.
He told me about the Good & Plenty candy and the Good & Fruity artwork he was famous for. The best times were the times he got to spend with Nunzi, his Dad, sharing candy at the movies.
That aside, his artwork is ironic, humorous, somewhat controversial – and that’s the way he liked it!
Rest in peace Uncle Paul. He would probably tell me to get out of town. But, that was Uncle Paul.