This is about Peter Neufeld’s cat, his house, and his art. One could not make up a more daring, creative, against-the-current life than that which Neufeld has led.
This is Peter. He is a most young 80-something. He has lived an extraordinary life, pure and true. I asked him about his secret for longevity and vitality. “I never had a job.” Good answer!
While we are introducing ourselves, let’s meet Tashi.
She is an ambassador to the neighborhood.
Tashi likes it when Peter brushes her. She is a good cat.
And we must meet Briana Kaufman.
Her photograph is on Neufeld’s desk.
In the front room there is a wall of photographs from her memorial service. She died three years ago. She and Neufeld were soul mates, confidantes, companions, kindred souls.
It is impossible to ignore her continued presence in the house.
Back to Peter’s house.
The front of Peter’s house is a jungle – passion fruit, apples, guavas, Andean peppers, cherry tomatoes, echium wildpreti (“Tower of Jewels”), nasturtiums, pears, an orange tree, avocado trees, a banana tree, bamboo, and more. A lush barrier of beauty and food.
Art peeks out, including this Mark Bulwinkle tile.
Walking around the house you come to the backyard. More jungle! More peace! A very restful spot.
Under the overhang of the back porch is a tiki bar. I am all about tiki bars. And – check out the Bulwinkle piece fronting the bar.
As you get to the back yard, there is this lovely Mark Bulwinkle print celebrating Briana. This photo is affected by glare. It is too wonderful an image to have glare. Mark Bulwinkle sent me a studio shot of the piece.
Neufeld’s older son Peter Brutus made this piece.
The ethnic art is ubiquitous, outside the house and inside. Peter and Briana bought pieces at yard sales and flea markets over the years.
Up the back steps is the back porch.
The bees are new. Neufeld grows spinach and arugala on the back porch. Lots of fresh food.
From this website: “This carved, wooden mask represents the mythical creature known in Bali as Banaspati Raja, meaning ‘King of the Forest’ also called the Barong Ket. Lion-like masks are the most common type, but Barong can take on the features of a number of different animals, including wild boar, dog, deer, and tiger, individually or in composite form.”
The first room inside the house is the kitchen.
Briana made and assembled the art on the right panel.
This is an artistic rendition of the 1927 Graham Brothers Dodge truck that he bought for $50 .
This is the truck:
From the kitchen to the rest of the house – the main event in the main arena.
To be clear – all of these photos were taken before the pandemic. No masks. The pandemic and the federal government’s botching of its response could not have been margined in these innocent day.
The rooms exude comfort and creativity and possibility and peace. There is indigenous art picked up at yard sales as well as a few pieces that Neufeld’s father brought back from postings abroad, art made by Neufeld, art made by Briana, art made by younger son Bear.
Most but not all of Neufeld’s art is made from flatware. The painting below is an exception to that rule.
Neufeld made this painting when he was 19. His ability to paint enhanced his time in the armed services.
Let’s get a little linear here. Sorry! We will start with Peter’s recycled metal art.
The room is filled with art and assemblages made by Briana.
Briana made the people, Bear made the bird.
Briana’s woman on the left, Peter’s horse, Bear’s bird.
Peter’s cow, Briana’s people,a Christina French felt piece.
Peter’s work on the left, Briana’s on the right.
Anna Redsand in her tribute to Briana wrote of the “literally thousands of finds from flea markets.” Here are some:
This piece came from Neufeld’s father’s travels.
When I saw this telephone I knew what I was seeing.
A few years ago I visited the late Laurel Skye in Arcada. I posted about her and her fantastic art here. This is indeed a Laurel Skye phone. Today I publish this biography of Skye which I prepared a couple years ago and didn’t publish until now.
Now – the bathroom, seen while respecting the issue of privacy that is attached to bathrooms.
And while we are invading privacy, let’s take a quick look at Neufeld’s bedroom.
I have left Neufeld’s stained glass work for the end of this post.
Stained glass rocked my now-lapsed Episcopalian boyhood soul. Late fall afternoons, choir practice about to start, I wandered the Church of the Redeemer, feeling the light of the stained glass windows lift my spirit.
So it is with the stained windows that Neufeld has made..
You will agree, I believe, that Neufeld’s stained glass is beyond marvelous?
This photo sums up my time in Neufeld’s home.
His art radiates. Light finds it. And from the darkness I observe, or, as I like to think of it, I participate through the act of observing.
When I am in Neufeld’s home I feel peace and light and hope and comfort. I am happy to be there. I feel life. All that I believe is validated, all is possible.
I showed the draft post to my friend. As he started looking through it, he handed me this.
“Mad Magazine, April 1976. You missed it when you did your post on infinite regression aka the Droste effect. I’ve got a friend who is a stone cold Mad freak. He gave it to me.”
I thanked him and said I’d add it to the post, which I have done. I then gently asked for his opinion on the Neufeld post.