Last night I went home and dug out a picture that I took of Dash with his Polaroid camera a few years ago when we were doing a late-night at his house. He wrote in pen around the border of the image: “Moments Like This Never Last... Krills, Horse, Good Times, Great Oldies.” It stings to see that drug talk in the context of right now, but it also reminds me of his sense of humor and how alive and awake he was. It seems to me that he packed more living into his 27 years than many people do in 80.
Ryan McGinley introduced me to Dash at his place on 7th Street a thousand years ago, and Ryan has something to say here now. There will be a bigger tribute to Dash in our August issue. For now, he and his family are in all of our prayers, or whatever you might call the things we do that are like praying. Because we are doing those things right now.
Remembering Dash Snow, July 14, 2009
Photos and words by Ryan McGinley
He was the wildest kid I’ve ever known. He would tag everything and be running up on rooftops and climbing fire escapes. I remember when I first met him he had just done a fill-in on the side of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was insane. He climbed out on a tiny ledge on the outside of the bridge and did a huge Sace.
Dash and I bonded instantly over photography. One of our favorite books to look at and talk about was American Pictures by Jacob Holdt. We were always taking photos. We loved to document our adventures and then compare them later. He carried his Polaroid camera everywhere. His photos were from the heart--he had a loving obsession with taking photographs. I always assumed he shot Polaroids because he had the worst case of ADD you could ever imagine. I think even waiting a minute for the image to develop was hard for him.
I remember hanging out at Dash’s infamous apartment on Avenue C, where the walls were covered with Saddam Hussein masks, porno magazines, weapons, covers of the New York Post… His then-wife, Agathe, was always taking care of us, and especially of him. He needed a lot of attention. I spent a lot of time photographing their love affair. They were the first couple to let me take photos of them making love. They had a pet bunny, Gary, named after the graffiti writer Cinik, and a parakeet named Sergeant Slaughter. They would be hopping around when we were hanging out late into the night. When Dash was drunk, he would always tell you how much he loved you. And you couldn’t get him to stop singing Rolling Stones songs. Right before the verse, he’d nudge you and sing the words close to your face.
He was one of my first muses. He embodied everything that I wanted to photograph and everything that I wanted to be: irresponsible, reckless, carefree, wild, rich. We were just kids doing drugs and being bad, out at bars every night. I don’t think we ever saw each other in daylight. We were like vampires. We spent a lot of time sniffing coke in the bathrooms of The Cock (when it was on Avenue A) and The Hole (when it was on Second Avenue). It was so fun to be secretive about it. I’ve probably been in the bathroom of every bar below 14th Street with the guy. Sniffing coke off toilet seats, doing bumps off each other’s fists, and always waking up in the morning with his keys in my pocket or mine in his.
I’ve had so many adventures with Dash I just can’t even remember them all… Driving down one-way streets in Milan at 100 miles an hour, blasting “I Did It My Way” in a white van. Wearing matching pink agnès b. suits to my first art show in LA. Finishing all the drugs with him until the sun was up. Finding new and innovative ways to cover windows with towels, bed sheets, and newspapers so the night could last forever. And bathroom after bathroom after bathroom. Why do I remember the bathrooms the most?
Heroin, oh heroin, oh heroin. Taken the lives of so many great artists. Taken so many of my friends’ lives. I don’t know if you’re not supposed to write about drugs when one of your friends dies of an overdose, but those are all my memories of Dash. Drug and alcohol induced memories. It’s always been a bottle of Jack, a bag of coke, and some beers. And lots of bathrooms. That was just our relationship. That’s what our lives were. Adventures on drugs. And it’s what eventually led him to his death.