Life Cafe Blog
A magnet for artists

Here are more items from my storage room. All kinds of creative people were attracted to Life Cafe and the East Village. In 1989, a painter stood across the street from Life Cafe along Tompkins Square Park and painted this street scene from the corner of 10th St. and Ave. B. Indeed, you often saw artists painting in the streets, and still do.

A painting by street artist of Life Cafe from 1989.

A painting by street artist of Life Cafe from 1989.

He came into the cafe carrying this painting and offered to sell it to us. We didn’t know him, but David Life and I were open and it didn’t cost very much, so we bought it. In fact, we regularly gave “loans” that were never paid back and free food to artists. At least we were getting a painting for our money. ┬áDo you recognize the signature or know something about this painter?

Detail of signature of street artist on painting of Life Cafe that hung in cafe 1989 to 2012

Detail of signature of street artist on painting of Life Cafe that hung in cafe 1989 to 2012

Another item from my stash is a letter with an unusual request accompanied by a painting from a local living on E. 7th St. I remembered being puzzled about how it arrived. I wondered who the author/artist J.T. Colfax was and why he felt it was so necessary that we received his message, except that plenty of people came in and if we hung it, it’d be seen, as he wished. I was always intrigued with the request and honoring it, left both the painting and his letter on display at the cafe for years. The artist never let himself known to me, however. I’d love to hear from anyone who may know who J.T. Colfax is.

A strange message left at Life Cafe by J.T Colfax in the 1980s.

A strange message left at Life Cafe by J.T Colfax in the 1980s.