Prizefight In Russia Burt Young

Burt Young A Life

I met Burt Young, the artist, in his flat in Port Washington.

That part of him which is missing, emerges from his art.
That which he fears, his art pacifies.
That which stirs him is just in front of him, staring at him.

With each morning punch, he becomes a fighter again; with each brushstroke, he ponders how he can better himself, how he might better the world.

Boxing, like acting, like life, tears you down and builds you up to the person you are aimed to be. Having this wide range of emotions, his truth lends itself well to the rest of the arias played in his mind.

Everything about him is borrowed from boxing. Every brushstroke he makes begins in his heart. Earthy and with the warmest face that loosely holds tons of emotions, he blankets you with sincerity.

The boxing gloves on his bed are huge; like the size of his heart. He has it in abundance.

He often talks as if he has strep throat. Choked by his own visions.

Looking at his paintings, you realize he physicalizes them. With colorful worlds. With the things that really matter to him. This is where he rethinks life, revisits moral values, and corrects injustices.

The single thread weaved throughout everything he creates, coined down to every single person or thing he loves and misses. With each painting, he allows the memory of loved ones linger a little longer.

And so, with each answer of his, I find myself bowing towards him like a sunflower, sipping his eloquence and jeweled wisdom of life.

He is rarely stoic in his paintings, and yet in the company of women, he is a true Italian gentleman, a mensch. One whose word you cannot not take.

Young was a boxer in his late teens. When you’re a boxer at such a young age, fights give you your first death, so to speak; a physical, endless pain, a humiliation, a battle with your own soft spots, a black or white world.
Perhaps not on purpose, but the other worlds he creates – acting, writing and painting – become massively colorful, as we feel with each painting and role, he sheds a bit of his skin and becomes more human.

His upcoming play, “Artist Found in Port Washington Flat,” is scheduled to be performed at the Port Washington Library on January 5th and January 10th, 2014.  A one character, 90-minute piece, in which he appears on stage playing against a hologram of himself.

Given a privileged brief look into his recorded rehearsal, I come to understand that he is about to perform a kind of a mental surgery on himself, yet every one of us might find ourselves in that same place, as it is not confined to him alone, but to a supposed self. It is his truth but it is also A truth. Every human being’s truth.

He is not built to be opaque. Fully transparent, nearly naked, he peels himself, layer by layer, as he will emerge, smooth as an egg.

His words in the play are perhaps the punches that were left pulled in the rings. It is here where he may allow himself to be slow and heavy. Take the time, ponder, use his tears, be vulnerable.

Before trusting his character to speak, he got to know him very well, ‘who wrote it is a pain in the neck. See, there is no give and take on his part,’ he says.

The play takes shape with the conscious and unconscious. The least known will be exposed: like the sacred dialogue one has with his reflection in the mirror.

He writes it perhaps to find out why he wrote it. As I continue listening to him, it becomes clear that with each thing he writes, with each role he plays, with each painting he boldly paints – his art is necessarily inevitable and genuinely precise, with tons of personality, hunger and thirst to figure out the answer to ‘Who am I?’

This is how the artist Burt Young was found in his flat in Port Washington on a Sunday afternoon. Emotionally lithe by life and extremely physical in everything he does; more than anything, with a plethora of talent, tons of life-lessons, and endless ambition.



[The interview took place in December 2013]

 {Image: “Prizefight In Russia” By Burt Young}




2 Responses to “Burt Young A Life”
  1. Kika Stayerman says:

    Nina, thank you so much! Loved your conclusion. Thank you for taking the time to read and watch.

  2. Nina says:

    Brilliant ! An amazing, moving and intelligent interview. You’re talented my dove.I would say in conclusion : boxe is an Art when Art is a fight.

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