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August 2, 1971 Letter to Shirley (1127) from Rockmore (638 Royal, NO) accompanying "Scrapbook Collection" May-August 1971 -

Dear Shirley

            Well - here (under separate cover) is Scrap-Book no. 1 - more to follow if I’m not dead - once I get really into a book for you they go very fast but getting into them is difficult - a little like putting your hand over the eye and pinning it anywhere -

            Anyway, you can see this series is a partial-to-complete departure from the rest of my work, but still Rockmore -

            I am getting ready for a show at Bryant and he is going to eventually publish the big art book on my work which should be the big career step for me finally! -

            Many of the images in this Scrap-Book No. 1 - will re-appear in oil and large canvases later in a sense they are the first true studies for me - I am exhausted by this book though but I love it in its outrageous way! -

            The next 2 ½ years will be totally devoted to this series and I see the fact that -  I am “exhuming” forgotten data from 100 yrs ago and transforming it into Art today - as a manifesto against the emptyness of Art today - Humor can only enter permissibly through shock which is not true Humor -  

            This has been a very trying period for me but now I think things are looking up -

            Unfortunately these images work up easier and more rapidly on small papers than large canvases so I will have to re-align my approach on them but it will be done -

            When you answer this please send to 638 Royal as I am leaving N.Y. in 2 days for N.O. - my sister was worried about me so she flew in from San Francisco to spend a week of talk - it helped - we are very close - I quit drinking and not smoking - without health there is not work - and then in N.O. my girl Riva who is very fine (but as expected we fight a bit) and my 72 year old assistant Robert Paige, O.M. for Old Man, I found him on the street a few months ago. O.M is under salary with me and is painting some borders for a specific group of the S.B. series - 

            I want 2 great years!  I am in my prime creative years - the next 15 or so - after that - back to instinct -

            Take care - you old friend

                                                                        As ever


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