Van Sickle Bio

"Paris 1955"

I got there a little late, I wanted to be there with Hemingway and Josephine Baker, Picasso and Atget, Stravinsky, Duchamp, and Kiki of Montparnasse, they were no longer there, but it was still Paris and I was ready for its culture and society. I had spent 14 months in Korea and thanks to the G.I. bill I had $135.00 a month for my "education".

I started to draw very young, between the ages of 8 and 15 my grandfather taught me the basics of oil painting, and later I studied at the Art Students League for a few years (including drawing classes with George Grosz). So as soon as I was able I went to Paris, my main purpose being to study painting.

It did not take me long to find the ex-patriot, International, Bohemian, wine drinking, pleasure seeking crowd; most of my new friends had been chased out of their countries for political reasons, were escaping their own families, or were there to "study" with some noted teacher; they came on the G.I. bill, on their Junior year abroad or, they simply saved up the money and came, We met in that graceful, beautiful city and pretty much did the same dance that Hemingway and that crowd did three decades before.

I spent most of my time carousing, taking pictures and going to movies, a small group of us passed many hours each week at the cinematheque to see the experimental films, as well as catching the feature films in theaters when we could afford it.

We were impressed by the "Family of Man" photography show, entertained by Sidney Bechet and Chet Baker, awed by Bergman and Kurasawa and appalled by Senator McCarthy.

In Paris I became a photographer and cinematographer, the only reason I wanted to return to the U.S. was to make enough money to return to and live in Paris. Before I was able to do that, the 60's happened.