Car next to 111 North 10th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

December 2000

I have to admit that I thought this car was abandoned. It was next to my studio and hadn’t moved for months. It was covered with parking tickets. I just couldn’t resist. The painting was based on a landscape painting of Zealand by Johan Lundbye.

Of course, I got caught by the car’s owner, who turned out to be a movie director called Peter Mattei who lives in my building. But he really liked the painting, so it was OK. Maybe I knew that it was his car, but I’m just not sure. He’d left the car behind while he was working on a movie. At that point, the “No Parking” signs on our street were missing, so we didn’t have to move our cars. Now we have new “No Parking” signs and have to move our cars every day, even though we don’t seem to get much in the way of street cleaning.

Later, I saw the car on the street with a sign that said, “Original painting by Ellen Harvey, as seen in The New York Times: $800 (car included).” I’m not sure who bought it and Peter doesn’t remember. I gave Peter a photograph of his car as a souvenir. Recently, someone pulled down one of our new “No Parking” signs to the excitement of all the car owners in our building.