Oto Gillen “Raisin on the Vine” at Tomorrow Gallery


Oto Gillen
Raisin on the Vine
October 21 – November 15, 2015

It was springtime and we had been on a walk up the riverfront in the early evening. We were about to cross the highway at Horatio Street when I turned south to photograph the new tower going up. I couldn’t tell how many floors had been added since the last time I had a good view of it.

We had finished our lunches and it was time to get back to work. As I carried my plate from the table, I noticed some grapes left behind on a paper towel. My friends had been sharing them, sitting across from one another, each taking half.

I think it was a day or two after Halloween and I was on my way to the subway at 8th Avenue. The block between 13th and 14th Street along 8th Avenue is always strewn with garbage. What caught my eye this time was a tumbling mass of thick black hair, catching leaves as it was blown across the sidewalk.

It takes two passes to completely fill the water pitcher. I pour the tap water in and then wash some dishes or wipe the counter down. By the time that’s done it’s ready to add more. I know it’s time to replace the filter when I can taste the signature flavor of the plumbing in my building. I clean the pitcher itself when I notice the bottom has turned slightly green.


I can remember my mother taking me grocery shopping on Canal Street as a young boy. She’d buy us fruits and vegetables and sometimes fish. I remember her saying that it was much cheaper than the supermarket and that the produce was fresher. I didn’t understand why. If I didn’t complain too much I’d have a pork bun or hotdog roll from the Chinese bakery and if the season was right we’d get some starfruit. I’m sure she found comfort shopping in Chinatown even though she was from Japan.

– Oto


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