Living

Five questions with artist Mike Howard

You grew up in Phenix City, but ended up in New York City. How did that happen?

After the Marine Corps, I attended the University of Georgia and was then accepted to The Whitney Museum Independent Program in New York City.

I was married at the time with a 1-year-old daughter. While attending the Whitney program, I landed a great job with sculptor Donald Judd. Judd had just had his retrospective at the Whitney Museum and purchased 101 Spring Street. So, I hung out with Jasper Johns, Barnett Newman and Andy Warhol.

Are the you the only person in America who splits time between New York City and Hurtsboro?

Most likely! But I do recommend it. It is the perfect balance of environments and lifestyle.

It looks like you have been painting a lot. What are you working on now?

Hunting scenes, tractors, hayfields in Hurtsboro and views out of my studio window on the waterfront in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

As a competitive senior cyclist, how much do you ride these days?

I travel in the winter to the Brian Piccolo Velo in Florida and get 40 miles a day when I'm in Columbus out to Fort Benning. I only race 500 meters and the 200-meter match sprint. So, most of my training is on the track or velodrome. To train, sprinters do short intervals and sit down for 15 minutes and another short 200 or 500 meters and sit down for 15 minutes.

I also loosen my legs riding an easy paced 40 miles after intervals. I am retiring this year and plan to do longer scenic rides.

What is the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?

The Phenix City Riverwalk. It's prettier than the Columbus side of the river.

Vital stats

Name: Mike Howard

Age: 69

Job: Artist

Hometown: Girard, Ala. — one block from the Dillingham Street Bridge.

Current home: Red Hook, Brooklyn and Hurtsboro

Family: Wife, Mary Howard; daughters, Mary Michael Howard, Molly Mastrangelo, Sonia Slivinski; grandchildren, Joey, Krissy, Christina, Moonpie, T bone, Johnny and Joseph; brothers who live in Phenix City, Sammy Howard, Pat Howard.

Education: Central High, 1962; Columbus College, BS, art education, 1972; Rutgers University, Masters Fine Arts, 1975.

Favorite book: “The Stranger” by Albert Camus. I read this book in the Marine Corps and when I started college in my first English class we were asked has anyone read anything interesting. I raised my hand and said. “The Stranger” by “ALBERT CAME US,” mispronouncing the last name.

Favorite movie: “Breaking Away” (a great cycling movie) and “The Phenix City Story” — also, Martin Scorsese’s favorite.

Favorite restaurant: The River Cafe in Brooklyn and The City Grill, Hurtsboro.

Favorite quote: “Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only 10 of them.” — H. L. Mencken

Best concert attended: Led Zeppelin, 1973, Madison Square Garden.

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