song — shone a light on Alice Brock
and she became an icon - creating a
community out of a restaurant - being
a decent, responsible human being."
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Andrea Shea
Well it’s a long story…80 years long. It doesn’t just start at “Alice’s Restaurant” and it sure doesn’t end there.
After being in the restaurant business for many years I finally came back to Provincetown…my heart’s true home. I used to say, “When I grow up I want to live in Provincetown and paint pictures.” I guess My dreams have come true. When I moved here I was still vibrating from the trials and tribulations of walking away empty handed from the restaurant at Avaloch. Well I did find the key to the coke machines there in the motel, 4 or 5 of them. I rented a small apartment on the water with a shoe box of quarters. and I started to draw and paint. I was in Heaven. I worked in some Provincetown restaurants and I did some catering but mostly I walked the beaches picking up stones and daydreaming, drawing and painting. It has been 40 years of bliss living here. It is such a magic little spit of land.
Provincetown was the first “Art Colony”…the light is so wonderful. The people are pretty wonderful too, contrarians, cranks, queers and curmudgeons. A great mix of round pegs that stopped trying to fit into squares holes. Plenty of space to be yourself or invent a new self. I fit right in.
I started to buy some frames and show my paintings. I set up a little gallery in my front parlor and hung out a sign. I was amazed by how many people came and actually bought my art. It was inspiring, and exciting. I’d always made art but never showed it before. Then, I made a website so folks could pick out what they wanted and I would ship it out. I never made a real “living” but it certainly made a difference.
Unfortunately due to failing health I have acquired a tremor in my hands which makes it hard to write much less draw and paint. Very frustrating…I may have to change my style to abstract.
My health may not be good but my spirit is alive and kickin’ and cookin’.
I began drawing on beach stones many years ago. Right away I knew I was going to put some of them back on the beach. I imagined somebody walking along the seashore just daydreaming and looking at stones…and there! A stone is looking back. That vision really tickled me and it still does.
When I moved to Provincetown, I was in heaven. So many stones…and so much time. Pretty soon I was putting my stones all over the place.
I put them on the shelves in supermarkets and in sugar bowls. I’d leave them along the bike trails, drop them into coat pockets and put them on fence posts.
My friends have helped me spread these stones around the world. Some have been placed in famous museums like the Louvre, the Museum of Modern Art, the Hermitage and the Tate. One was carried to the top of Mount McKinley, others are at the bottom of the grand Canyon. One was tossed over the Great Wall of China. Any number may be found on beaches in Alaska, New Zealand and Venezuela.
Each stone is an original. Picked up, hand drawn and initialed by me. Each is coated with a waterproof finish. I’d like to think that coming upon one of these stone will cause an involuntary flight of fancy.
Arlo Guthrie’s song “Alice’s Restaurant” shone a light on Alice Brock and she became an icon for many during the 60’s. Alice returned to Provincetown and her friend Viki Merrick, also her former employee, spoke with her about one of her unusual projects.
BEING An Artist
I have never formally studied art or taken lessons, but all my life I have made things, drawn pictures and illustrated stories. Being an artist isn’t a career choice, it’s a compulsion. For me, the act of creating is vital and has given me endless pleasure. Until 30 years ago, I rarely showed my work in public.
I’m a serial painter. One is never enough. There are so many possibilities. I want to explore them all. I enjoy repeating images in various configurations. The dynamics of relationships intrigue me. In my mind, objects have personalities, shapes and colors can convey emotion and every carrot has a story.
Published by Chronicle Books
HOW To Massage Your Cat
As kitty gift books go, this is “the best, funniest, most inspiring of them all,” according to the Village Voice and thousands of dedicated readers. Author and Illustrator Alice M. Brock counsels cat owners to approach the cat quietly with palms “up and open,” beginning at the rear, the masseur works all the way around the cat using a “vigorous kneading motion” then rubs, presses, twists, and tugs the cat into a state of complete relaxation. We are assured that a well massaged cat may remain in a state of prolonged calm “for some time”.
– The Village Voice
Books are out of print. If you would like to buy a book with a personalized autograph, contact Alice. $50.00 includes shipping.