Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July 31, 1993

Struck a deal with Prof Ed Shay- I'd water his large vegetable garden while he was away, and I could keep any ripe produce I found. I seem to recall getting some decent tomatoes out of the deal.

Monday, July 30, 2007

July 30, 1993

The Allyn building had small room called the Vergette Gallery, a space available to any student who wanted to sign up for a slot. On this occasion there was a show by senior 2D major Brian Shaw. More memorable than the art was his reception, for which he hurled rolled streamers down the hallways and scattered balloons all over the first floor hall.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

July 29, 1993

Arson Garden performs on the front steps of Shryock Auditorium as part of the free summer concert series.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

July 28, 1993

We had a pot luck get acquainted party at Ed Shay's house for Kim Russo, the second finalist for the open painting position. I baked a pasta dish, a variation on a pastitsio, to bring to the event.

Friday, July 27, 2007

July 27, 1993

Watching a performance by the not quite yet well known Gin Blossoms on the Arsenio Hall show. The band was about a year into touring to promote their first major label album, a push that would finally help them break into national airplay on radio and tv. I had been a fan going back to their first small label album, popular at the college radio station where I was a DJ.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 26, 1993

Inking my brayer, in preparation for printing. Probably printing earlier blocks from this series. I cut daily, but usually printed the new Fourth of July blocks about every 2 weeks, unless I had ink out from printing something else I was working on.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

July 25, 1993

Mass at the Newman Center. What caught my eye here was how the outstretched arms of the priest reflected the outstretched arms on the crucifix above him.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

July 24, 1993

Today was the grand opening of the new Super Walmart in Carbondale, and I think the whole county was there. This image was inspired by a bit of architecture suspended over the whole length of the row of registers, all 40 of which were open on this special occasion.

Monday, July 23, 2007

July 23, 1993

I went along for the ride to drop off Erin Palmer at the Williamson County Airport, out by Marion. Erin was one of two finalists for a full time position to teach painting.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

July 22, 1993

The professor who was in charge of the figure drawing class gave me an open invitation to sit in whenever I wanted, even if I wasn't registered for the class, and I took him up on this often. Such was the case on this day.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

July 21, 1993

On this evening I receive two phone calls- one is obscene (a random prankster I believe) and the other is my friend Kathy. I much preferred the latter.

Friday, July 20, 2007

July 20, 1993

We had a big thunderstorm that night, the first since back in June.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

July 19, 1993

Making burritos. There are a number of ways of warming the tortillas, here I was trying one recommended by a friend, laying the tortilla directly on the burner of my electric stove, and flipping it from side to side to keep it from burning. One effect is that it cooks the spiral pattern of the burner into the tortilla.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 18, 1993

The nine floors of stacks in the library at SIU made it extremely likely that I'd find information on just about any topic that might interest me. On this Sunday, it was some reading related to Ecclesiastes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

July 17, 1993

Bought my first fresh roma tomatoes of the season at the weekly farmer's market in the parking lot of the Murdale shopping center out on route 13.

Monday, July 16, 2007

July 16, 1993

My upstairs neighbors, Tom and Linda, invited me out for free beer. They had joined the "Beers of the World" club at Garfield's, a regional chain. Getting all the beers on their cards punched would result in their names on a plaque and personalized glass beer mugs to be kept at the bar for their use. The problem was that neither of them liked any imported beers, the majority of the 25 or so on their lists. So they asked me to come, bought the beers, and had me drink them. I believe that the pictured bottle is a Guinness, and I recall also having a Red Stripe that evening.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

July 15, 1993

Instruments and amps belonging to the band Disappear Fear are draped with plastic, protection against the rain. The planned performance on the steps of Shryock Auditorium (part of a summer series) will be postponed.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

July 14, 1993

Early in the summer I had applied for a job at a facility near campus that served people with head injuries, an area where I had some experience. Didn't hear anything for a while, but luckily I was given a summer class to provide income. Finally was called in for a job interview this day, and went up this huge outside staircase to get to the office. They eventually called me back in mid August to offer work, but by then the semester was beginning and I no longer needed another job.

Friday, July 13, 2007

July 13, 1993

I was in the art department office and ran into Yeonsung Lee, one of my few fellow printmaking grad students. Lee, a native of Seoul, was quite fluent in English, but he asked if I'd proofread a draft of a paper (his MFA thesis I think) for him. So I did it right there in the office. My recollection is that there were few mistakes.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

July 12, 1993

A series of this size would eventually require a lot of wood. Many of my fellow 2D grads had pick-up trucks, and sometimes one of my friends would help me get plywood. But if no one was around I'd literally take matters into my own hands. The lumberyard was about 3 blocks from the studio building. If I couldn't get a ride, I'd pay for my 8'x4' sheet of lauan, then carry it down the street and up the stairs to my studio.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 11, 1993

Looking at the MFA show of Agostino Bonaminio in the Mitchell Museum on the campus of Southern Illinois University. I didn't really know Gus- in fact, looking back, I can't even remember for sure if I ever met him. (He worked in a different building) But I always checked out the shows of my fellow grad students. The work here was small, each individually lit with a tiny hanging light in an otherwise darkened gallery.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

July 10, 1993

I took the long hike across campus to the foundry building to check out the semi-annual iron pour. This was a big deal, drawing sculptors from all over the midwest. Molds were set up all over the parking lot, and sculpture students took turns pouring scrap iron (mostly old radiators they had pounded to bits with sledgehammers) in the top while others collected the molten metal into large ladles (a large bucket with long handles for carrying) and poured it into the molds. A good time had by all.

Monday, July 9, 2007

July 9, 1993

Using my power saw to cut up more blocks for the Fourth of July series. I put two images side by side on each block, so I would eventually have to cut 183 lauan boards for this series.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

July 8, 1993

I decided to walk down the railroad tracks on my way from Allyn (campus main art building) to the Glove Factory (studio building), something I had never done before. At one point I saw a man in a power wheelchair crossing the tracks by the Glove, about 100' feet ahead. His chair came to a stop right in the middle of the tracks and he started yelling for help. I called out that I was on the way and kept walking. Shortly after I heard the bells and saw the flashing lights and the rail crossing gates descending. Then I started running. Thanks to my years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities, it didn't take me long to take the chair out of gear and push him to safety. I asked if I could call anyone for him but he insisted that no one was home and begged me to push him to his destination where he could get help. This turned out to be about half a mile away, quite an ordeal on a hot July afternoon.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

July 7, 1993

Watching the news about the Midwestern Flood of '93. I was living in Jackson County, Illinois, which like all counties that bordered the Mississippi River, was declared a federal disaster area. Carbondale was in no immediate danger, on higher ground about 12 miles distant, but I did consider going down to the riverfront to help out with filling sandbags or whatever. But with summer class I didn't see having the time or energy. The biblical quote refers to how some of the damage was due to the river breaking through or overcoming the various improvements made by humans to tame the river.

Friday, July 6, 2007

July 6, 1993

At the Glove Factory, printing a recent block (portrait of Gian P.), cut while home in NJ between spring and summer classes.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

July 5, 1993

Since July 4 was on a Sunday that year, the legal holiday was observed on Monday, including summer classes being cancelled for the day. I took advantage of the occasion to sleep late.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

July 4, 1993

In honor of the holiday- a flag and fireworks. The cross because it was a Sunday and I went to church. The birthday cake could be for the country, but also for a friend who celebrates a birthday that day. The words are a nod to David Lasky's mini-comic story of the same name, which with its focus on the everyday details that are normally forgotten, was a major influence on this project.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Fourth Of July

Back in the summer of 1993 I had the idea to start a new woodcut series. The concept was to produce a woodcut for each day for a year. Each print would be about something that happened that day- something I saw, did, read about, had a dream about, thought about, etc. No two prints could be about exactly the same thing. All would be the same size, black and white. When to start? I thought about waiting for the next calendar year, but I didn't want to wait that long to get started. July 4 was only a few days away, so I decided to start it then. For the next year it was my major work, carrying me through two semesters and parts of two summers. Most prints were done on the day that inspired it, but if circumstances didn't allow that, I made notes/sketches and got to it soon after. In any case, I finished it on time, completing print #366 on July 4, 1994. I showed it as a full unit twice (University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University), then put it all away.

Over the years it was one of those projects that people would talk about, but I never found a good opportunity to show it. But then I was offered a space to show work a few years ago, a place with large walls but far behind a glass wall where viewers wouldn't be able to get up close enough to appreciate small framed works. And I had 3 weeks to prepare. I decided to bring The Fourth of July out of retirement, pinning the prints directly to the wall in the typical grid format. The aggregate piece (about 8 feet high by 22 feet long) was large enough to attact attention from a distance, and the bold black and white graphics made most of the individual prints readable even from 20 feet away.

Since then there continues to be interest in this work, enough so that I decided to post the whole series in chronological order on this blog. My plan is to post them on the dates corresponding to each print, so tomorrow I'll post July 4, 1993, and continue in this way through next July. With each I'll post a very brief synopsis of the image. Check in every day, once in a while, or next summer. The prints tell a story of a year in my life, one of many such stories I could have told. Some days are more interesting than others, just like real life.

All images Copyright 1993-1994 Paul Bonelli