Lunch with Steve Miller and Hans Van de Bovenkamp in Sagaponack

If you didn’t know it already, the Hamptons is a pretty amazing place. This little rural enclave is brimming with intelligent people, excellent culture and wonderful opportunity unlike almost any other place in the world.

I just had a lovely luncheon at the Sagaponack studio of artist Steve Miller, along with sculptor Hans Van de Bovenkamp, motion graphic artist and filmmaker John Jinks and yoga instructor Becky Rosko (who is also Miller’s studio assistant), and I left feeling totally grateful to live on the East End.

It’s difficult enough to find good conversation and bright people in the world, let alone enjoy these things with people who have accomplished so much in their lives and careers. Where else does one have a meal with an internationally recognized painter (currently showing in Washington D.C. and just closed a show at ArtRio in Brazil) on your right and a world renowned sculptor across the table?

Steve is white hot right now in South America thanks to his “Health of the Planet” series featuring X-rays of Amazonian flora and fauna—as well as technological charts and imagery of the deforestation going on there—and a new clothing line with images from that series.

Steve Miller art books

Steve Miller art books, Photo: Oliver Peterson

At his studio today, Steve showed us his unique art books (in which he has painted each page) and several other works for his upcoming shows. One of those is a show of sculptures that will open next summer at Long House reserve in East Hampton. “Since the production time is so long, it’s time to start the planning stage,” he explained.

As a far less-established artist, but one serious enough to show at a selection of galleries here and points west, I was grateful to be with these men who have made very successful careers doing what they love. We talked about art, the benefits of growing older, the gathering environmental disaster in the Amazon, eating sea turtle, ayahuasca, Joseph Campbell, Derwood Hodgegrass, Timothy Leary, weight loss and the spiritual benefits of yoga (which extend well beyond flexibility, Becky tells me).

I would imagine a person starting out in the world of finance could find an equally fantastic meal in the Hamptons with powerful CEOs, hedge fund managers and the economic elite, just as a young actor could find herself at lunch with Steven Spielberg, Hugh Jackman and Alec Baldwin, or a musician might enjoy a drink with Jennifer Lopez, Billy Joel and Jimmy Buffet—if the stars were properly aligned.

Now, I realize my lunchtime companions aren’t the “Steven Spielbergs of the art world” (just keeping egos in check, guys), but they are among an elite few who have made a comfortable and enjoyable life doing exactly what they love on their own terms.

And that is something for which we can all aspire.

Visit vandebovenkamp.com to see Hans Van de Bovenkamp’s work, though you’ve definitely already seen it around the Hamptons.

Visit stevemiller.com to see Steve Miller’s paintings.

Steve Miller's studio

Steve Miller’s studio, Photo: Oliver Peterson

Steve Miller artwork

Steve Miller artwork, Photo: Oliver Peterson

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