My Moleskine : Horatio Baltz


A Critical Analysis

I got my first Moleskine as a promo type of thing from an old job I had in 1974.  It had that thin paper, you know?  It was graph paper too.  I wasn’t very familiar with the books and tried replacing my regular sketchbook with it.  But it didn’t work because the
paper was too thin.  It made me feel dirty and used so I ended up
burning it in order to heat up a can of refried beans on a camping trip
that disastrously went awry.


A few years later I saw my friend drawing in one that had the thick, nice paper.  The kind that makes a nice "snap" when you flick it between your fingers.  The lovely cream colored paper that makes me long for distant loves.   I never bought Moleskines because I was/am always broke so I simply couldn’t afford them.  Thanks to the pity of one of my dearest friends, I finally managed to get one of the pocket sized ones with nice, thick paper.  To be honest I was/am still intimidated by it.  Why would I want to spoil such pristine, virgin paper?  For awhile it just sat on my desk unused underneath my 100kg dumbbells and exotic trinkets I picked up in the Swiss Alps. I might have written my name in it, but that’s it.


This was also about the time I began drawing people on my subway commutes.  Instead of drawing in my sketchbook, I would covertly draw them on the newspaper I was reading.  They would just think I was doing the Suduko or Crossword Puzzle or apartment hunting or whatever.   They don’t notice that you’re maybe a little creepy.  This has saved me from lots of dirty looks and awkward train rides. Plus there’s no pressure in messing up a drawing on newsprint – it’s like a 50 cent sketchbook every morning.  The existing printed text and pictures make it like the sketch is already partly finished for you, you know? No pressure.


So I began starting sketches of people on newsprint, then bringing them into my Moleskine.  I could then set it aside and finish it in the solitude of my decrepit Queens apartment while listening to James Taylor and weeping mournfully.  The drawings end up being much more "polished" in comparison to my other sketchbooks.  The same with the photos too, I guess.  To me, a digital photograph doesn’t really "exist" until it’s printed.  Like it’s in some sort of purgatory, somewhere in outer space or hiding beneath your area rug.  So I like to print them out and put them in my Moleskine too.


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