Its taken more than a year for me to get around to sending paintings to all the lovely people who filled out the Survey of Johnstown Habitus. Yesterday I received returned mail from my recent batch of paintings. It was addressed to The Carney who lived in Texas. This is the first returned mail to The Habitorium, since I've moved to Johnstown PA. The UNDELIVERABLE painting was returned to sender and the addressee's name is circled.
The Carney visited me at VoMA during the 2018 Ethnic Festival. I was taking a Survey of Johnstown Habitus to get a little closer to the people who hold this town dear. He was a tall man with dreaded hair and rather tattered clothing. The Carney was three sheets to the wind.
Of course, drinking at Ethnic Fest is nothing new and there were plenty of folks who'd ambled in from across the street. Ace's sets up their beer garden in the parking lot, directly across Chestnut Street from VoMA's front doors. People came in all kinds of lit up and we had fun talking about why they were there. Some filled out a survey completely while others didn't want to give me their mailing addresses. One passive aggressive woman left me her email address after troubling the language of the survey. For every painting that is mailed, there are four more surveys completed without mailing addresses. The Habitorium brings out the best and worst in people.
The Carney was warm and forthcoming, like any other Roma I've ever met. He told me he was in town for the Ferndale fair and would be rolling out soon. We talked about hiking in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania. He was shocked by how steep the mountains are in Johnstown and was thrilled by the Inclined Plane. We chatted as he filled out his survey, until his beer ran out. He gave me a hug, smelling of damp wool, beer and pachouli.