It’s around 9:30 and I’m walking up Tenth Avenue to my studio on West Twenty-sixth. The building that houses it started out as a bookbinding firm by the name of Wolff, which is still printed in stone over the first set of front doors. In fact, in the 1950s and ’60s, the whole block between Tenth and Eleventh was given over to bookbinding. The second entrance, the one I take, is in the middle of the block and has big glass doors. They lead into a nondescript lobby where there’s a small elevator, the slowest in Chelsea. Khan sits patiently inside waiting for the next passenger. He takes me up to ten.

My big, high-ceilinged studio at the end of a long corridor faces south. Entering it, the first thing I experience is silence. (Especially in contrast to the noise I just heard walking over.) The second is privacy. Because my name is on the door, no one can enter unless...


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