Sally Eckhoff, who is both writer and painter, has published hundreds of pieces of written work in variety of media and shown her visual artwork in New York, Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Bologna, and other cities around the world. She grew up on Long Island and lived in Manhattan’s East Village for seventeen years, later making her home in Upstate New York. While working as an East Village artist and musician, she made her living as a typesetter, a poll site inspector, a silk cutter, an upholsterer, a crewmember on board a schooner, and, finally, a journalist at the Village Voice, where she ran the phototypesetting equipment until she was invited to join as an essayist and critic. F*ck Art (Let’s Dance), her first book, is a memoir of ten years of rollicking downtown life and art through the eyes of an outsider/insider—an adventurer to the core.
In 1994, Sally left Manhattan with the illustrator and musician J.D. King to make a home in a tiny backwater of the Hudson Valley. There, she returned to her childhood love of horseback riding, and began exercising and training horses for local clients, all while writing essays and reviews—and painting, of course. The lure of farms and animals drew her outward into a new area of study: a long and thorough inquiry into the history and lives of working animals in America. Sally traveled to from Fryeburg, Maine to Winnemucca, Nevada (home of American’s only pari-mutuel mule-racing track), taking lessons from draft animal teamsters along the way. She has driven oxen in New Hampshire, mules in Stuyvesant Falls, New York, and in what she sometimes describes as the purest experience of her life, a pair of professional logging horses in Hunt, New York, under the tutelage of (Farmer) James Brown, national plowing champion.
The result is an upcoming book full of history and stories tall and true: Beastly Life.
Because work, according to Sally, is the basis of art, these writings will be of particular interest to painters, sculptors, farmers, off-the-grid homesteaders, Long Emergency disciples, and storytellers of all sorts: sincere students of the handmade, wherever it can be found.
Sally Eckhoff’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Village Voice, Salon.com, National Geographic Traveler, Artforum, Details, the Utne Reader, Orion, the Bennington Review, and other national and international publications. She currently lives and teaches in Philadelphia, PA.