Carl Atteniese Jr. is a first class artist, draftsman, painter, photographer, poet, and writer. I studied with him at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and was continually impressed with his ability to create great art instantaneously and with minimal materials.
We would be on the street or in a field, and suddenly–1-2-3, he would assemble sticks here, sand there, a close-up shot was framed, and a brilliant photo or drawing was born. Or he would write a moving, insightful poem on a napkin over dessert. This is not to imply he had no rigor and that everything was off the cuff. During the years that I’ve known Mr. Atteniese, and that is 18 years, I have never known him to stop working on his art, or to stop thinking or moving.
He is constantly in motion, both mentally and physically, thinking four things at once, all interesting and original, and speaking about the most profound subjects while also commenting on what others are saying; all the while writing or drawing. If a few days went by without seeing my friend Mr. Atteniese, I could always be sure that more writing, more ideas, more visual art would be ready for my inspection and edification. In addition, Mr. Atteniese was ravenous for new cultural and geographical vistas and took his art around the world, writing and painting wherever he went and sharing it with an ever-increasing base of friends and admirers.
I would say he is a modern-day Renaissance Man and also a character type from the 19th century; the traveling world citizen and artist, such as Mozart was in Italy, or Brahms was, in Vienna. Always his new trips and friendships would yield more art and writing and would inspire us to await his return to see and hear his version of the world, always riveting, always fresh, always important.
As a teacher, musician and author, I value music, art, and books to increase the dimensions of my thinking and allow me to see a mountain or cafe or a city in a completely new way. In the same way, Carl is certainly a crucial figure in my and other writers’ development and continuing education.
To be a writer and artist; a poet and citizen of world cultures in modern times, is a problematic endeavor. We demand specialization; we demand instant results; we demand answers, and we demand a summary of one’s life and work in less than 30 seconds. I reject this, and I value Carl’s approach to life and art as an antidote to such a mentality.
Carl is a living example of the importance of beautiful questions that are formed at the same time as the answer; goals that exist when we are born and that are developed and reach the fruition of their genius as we progress and live.
When the internet came on the scene (for me it was a few years later than for others), I realized at once that Carl was born to breathe and live in this medium. Its international implications, cultural reach and visual and textual media are Carl’s mastered forms.
I cannot think of a single person I would prefer to Carl as a webmaster if I were to run a website on culture, teaching, art and/or writing. It is with a heart full of joy at remembering all my experiences with Carl that I recommend him to the skies. I consider it an honor to know this man and a gift to be able to recommend him.
I thank you.
Robert M. Diefendorf
Small Miracles Foundation Founder and CEO
Author of Release The Butterfly
Music Teacher, Princeton and Hong Kong