Saturday, July 5, 2008

Injury Time

Around the time I finished the Fourth of July series, the 1994 World Cup was in progress, and I watched almost every televised match. With the close games (ties or one goal leads), I found the most exciting time was when the clock reached the end of regulation, but play continued. In soccer, the referee on the field keeps the time, and stops the clock during play stoppages, such as for injuries. So even when the scoreboard reaches the end of regulation, there is often additional time left. This is commonly called injury time or stoppage time. Announcers would estimate about how much time that was, but no one knew for sure except the man with the whistle. I always watched these moments intently, waiting to see if the score would hold or if one team would score and change that, never knowing exactly when the end would come.

On July 4, 1994 I cut the last block, printed it, hung it on my studio wall as the end of the complete set, and had a shot of tequila from a bottle one of the grads had. And with that, a project I had devoted a year to was over. It was hard to stop. I had trained myself to look for art inspiration, to find my print of the day, and the habit was not going to be easy to break. I considered producing a new series, which I gave the title Injury Time, which would continue the same format for an unknown period of time. It would eventually end, but just like those soccer games, I couldn't say exactly when. But in the end I decided to let the series end on its anniversary. Still, the habit was hard to break. Shortly after, I did another short series using the same black and white format, images from an outdoors store in town called Shawnee Trails. One of the painting grads worked there, and it was full of interesting objects. The eight prints shown above are that series. They look like images that could have been part of the Fourth of July, but were chosen for the visual rather than a connection with a particular day. Some of the prints weren't bad, but there seemed to be no point to the series. One might call it a bit of a hangover.

The ability to be inspired by everyday things around me remained, and has influenced my art to this day.

I don't expect to be adding any new prints to this blog, but there may be some additional entries. I recently had the 4th of July animated film transferred to digital. I'd love to do a little editing and get it posted on line- Information will appear here if and when that happens. If there are any more showings of the whole set, I'll post news and photos of that. And I may decide to do some additional blogs like this one, showing some of my other completed series work.

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4, 1994

Early on the morning of July 4, 1994, I walked over to my studio and carved this block. The text combines two different translations of a verse from Ecclesiastes, a biblical book that I often turn to when I need a good quote or a title for a print or exhibition. (years later I would base an entire print series on it) For me the quote was a good way to sum up the year that had just passed. There were good days and bad days. Sometimes that is out of our control. Enjoy the good, accept the bad, and get ready for the next day and whatever it brings. That was pretty much my philosophy when choosing the images and cutting the 366 blocks that made up this series.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 3, 1994

Closing up my studio at the end of the night. A reference to the impending conclusion of this series.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July 2, 1994

When I donated blood the previous day, I was warned not to drink alcohol for at least 8 hours. And I didn't. But later that evening I was at the Glove Factory, went downstairs to fill my water cup, and ran into one of the undergrad sculptors, who insisted that I come into her studio for a drink. She had a bottle of bourbon and a 2 litre bottle of soda to mix it with. One led to another, and another, and another. Eventually she wanted to go out to a bar. She was upset, claiming that her boyfriend had just dumped her. I didn't believe this (her sole reason for this conclusion was that he wasn't home when she called his house earlier in the evening) and decided maybe I should go along to keep her out of trouble. We started off at the closest bar (Sidetracks, a popular college student hangout), and eventually moved over to the Hangar, where a band was playing. When that closed, I figured the night was over, but she heard someone talking about a keg party at a house nearby and literally dragged me part of the way. (she also turned cartwheels in the street part of the way) I had only one beer at each location, so was gradually sobering, but she was still pretty drunk. I finally convinced her to call it a night around 4:30 am, and walked her back to the Glove Factory, where she picked up her bicycle and headed home.

The image in the print refers to the hangover I woke up with after all the events of the previous evening, much of which actually occurred in the early morning hours of this day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 1, 1994

I decide to participate in a local blood drive. I never had before, but had often thought about it. It was at a car dealership on the highway, with a shuttle that could pick up people around town, but I just drove my car. It turned out to be simple and relatively painless, and I would become a regular donor.

Monday, June 30, 2008

June 30, 1994

Some baling wire and wire cutters for class. I got the wire from Dillinger's Feed Store up the street from my apartment and studio, a few bucks for a spool like the one shown. After having seen some wire projects from another class, I decided to incorporate into my own summer sections.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

June 29, 1994

My studio chair. When I took over my studio in the Glove Factory from David Kirkland, he gave me some of the leftover furniture from the studio he moved into, Eddie's temporarily vacated space. That included two wooden chairs in various states of disrepair. One was in pieces, the other wobbly but intact, except that the wood seat was unattached. In fact, the seat seemed too small for the chair, just barely spanning the rim of the seat. To make it safer, I cut a piece of scrap lauan to exactly fit the rim, and then just placed the seat piece on top of that. It became the chair I used at my desk while drawing and cutting small blocks. Around the time I did this print, some time after Eddie returned to America, he saw the chair in my studio, and claimed it was his. He didn't want it back- he wanted it to go to Shona. However, Shona didn't want it, and eventually transferred to a different school. Eddie never reclaimed it for himself, so it remained my studio chair for the rest of my time in Carbondale.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

June 28, 1994

That summer the U.S. hosted the World Cup, which meant that all the games were played during convenient daytime hours for those of us in this part of the world. Unfortunately, most of these games were on cable, so I could not watch at home. However, we worked around that. Fellow grad Brian (from Scotland) and I got together pretty much every day to watch the early and late games. The early game was usually at the Island, a Chinese restaurant/bar near campus. We'd order the daily special (which was usually not that special) and a few beers and watch the game. Sometimes Armen joined us. The alternate location, especially for the late afternoon games, was the Cellar, where the food options were fewer, but the beer was fine. (sometimes soft drinks if we decided we needed a short break from alcohol) My notes for this day say that the U.S. team advanced to the next round, for the first time in many decades. Records show that we didn't play this day, so maybe it was the result of another team in our group losing that got us our elimination round spot.

Friday, June 27, 2008

June 27, 1994

I wandered into the studio space of Tamara, one of the undergrad sculpture students, right across from Laura's space. She was working on a project that involved attaching (with wire) small square pieces of copper and other metal, along with other random rusty hardware, to a piece of peg board. She was doing a series of these pieces. My notes refer to it as a landscape, but I don't remember if that was my association or her description.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June 26, 1994

Looking out a window of the Glove Factory into the parking lot. This time of year it was a lot less crowded. The only car in view is the old used one recently purchased by Brian.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June 25, 1994

Print paper often comes in large sheets, and sometimes we need the paper smaller. Rather than cut the paper with scissors or a knife, we usually tear it. This is done with some kind of straight edge- ideally a tear bar with a sharp edge, but my 42 inch metal ruler did the job on this day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June 24, 1994

John Lindt's MFA exhibition reception. The food, including these large marinated mushroom caps, was much better than average for these receptions.

Monday, June 23, 2008

June 23, 1994

Using my electric sander. I prepared woodblocks by putting on a very thin layer of wood filler, then sanding them smooth. These days I do it by hand with some fine grit sandpaper, but back then I used my small orbital sander.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

June 22, 1994

Making iced tea. I'm not a huge fan of the bottled iced teas, and the instant powders are even worse, so I usually brew it myself. That's what I was doing here, filling a half gallon jug with boiling water, and adding tea bags. It does take a while to cool afterwards, but the final product is much better than the alternatives.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

June 21, 1994

I came home to my apartment and noticed a harvestman (what I grew up calling a daddy long legs) on my screen door. What made it stand out for me was that it had 7 legs, so I guess it had lost one somewhere along the way.

Friday, June 20, 2008

June 20, 1994

A dream- hell's mailbox. From the outside, it appeared to be an ordinary shallow box stood up on its side, but when viewed from the inside, the box was much deeper and had no back. It was a portal to hell, but one used just for the purpose of sending mail back and forth between there and our plane of existence.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

June 19, 1994

Grad painter Kendra had taken a part time job in an outdoors equipment store near the campus, and sometimes I would stop there to talk to her. I saw this odd metal object on display and investigated. It was called an "expresso" pot. I don't know if that was the common mistaken spelling/pronunciation often seen in those days before our nation became coffee obsessed, or some kind of trademark. Either way, I guess the idea was to not let being in the wilderness keep you from having really strong coffee.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June 18, 1994

Two kinds of trains passed through Carbondale every day- a few Amtrak passenger trains (including the famous City of New Orleans), and 20 or more Illinois Central freight trains. Normally the same trains could be grouped another way- trains that stopped (Amtrak) and trains that didn't (the freight). On this day, one of those freight trains stopped. I don't know if there was a malfunction, or if it was waiting for something further up the line. The problem is that when a 200 car train stopped in Carbondale, there was no way to get across the tracks except the one shown here- a guy walked over to the train and climbed over the coupling between cars.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 17, 1994

Filling up. I kept a large plastic drinking cup (the kind that's often refillable or a "souvenir") in my studio, and regularly went downstairs to the drinking fountain to fill it up. Especially in the hot weather, when not even my multiple fans kept me from sweating as I worked.

Monday, June 16, 2008

June 16, 1994

One of my spring students was looking for her artwork from the GEC class, but said she couldn't find it. By this point all the unclaimed portfolios had been moved to a dumpster outside the Blue Barracks, so I told her where it would likely be and she went digging for it until she found it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 15, 1994

With the heat of summer building, I decided to go out and get a fan for my studio. The Glove Factory was actually a converted factory building with a brick exterior. On hot sunny days those bricks would heat up and bake those of us inside. The part of the building where the student studios were was not air conditioned- just an overhead fan in each space. Having this standing fan made a big difference.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June 14, 1994

Recording cassette tapes for people I know- one for fellow grad Kendra, one for my father. I don't remember what the tapes were of, but I'm pretty sure they weren't the same.

Friday, June 13, 2008

June 13, 1994

The foot and bike bridge over route 51. It connected the main campus to a bunch of dorms across the street. Also across the street was the Blue Barracks, where some of the art and design classes were held, but I thought it more efficient to cross at street level, putting me closer to the building's entrance, so that's what I typically did when I was going there from the campus. On this day I took the bridge more out of curiosity, since I had never been on it before.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

June 12, 1994

At the Newman Center for Mass. It's a common custom for the congregation to join hands during the saying of the Lord's Prayer, and such was the tradition here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June 11, 1994

Shaving, for something like the 340th time since I began this series of prints.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June 10, 1994

Grating some cheese. Since this is just a few days after returning from New Jersey, this is likely a wedge of Locatelli pecorino romano brought from the east. On a family trip to Italy we were introduced to freshly grated romano; after that, grated cheese from a cardboard container would never again suffice.

Monday, June 9, 2008

June 9, 1994

After a phone conversation with a friend, I was in a mood to re-read a favorite science fiction piece- Midsummer Century, a novella by James Blish. The quote and image relate to the book, as well as to the phone conversation.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

June 8, 1994

A caffeine boost on the second day of driving. I believe this can of soda came from a rest stop on I-64 somewhere in Indiana. With a relatively short distance to drive (about 300 miles) and no unusual conditions to deal with, I reached Carbondale by early afternoon.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

June 7, 1994

Relaxing on my king size bed in a motel in the Carrollton, Kentucky area. This is where I always stopped in my summer westbound trips. Having much more daylight (at the western edge of the eastern time zone, it was often light until almost 10 pm) than the winter trip, I drove an extra few hours on I-71, thus shortening my drive the second day.

Friday, June 6, 2008

June 6, 1994

Packing for my trip back to Illinois. I loaded most of it the night before, to save time in the morning, as I always tried to get on the road by around 6:30 am on these long trips.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

June 5, 1994

On our way home from the Jarger Invitational in South Jersey, we were asked to divert to the Shore area to see my grandparents, and to help plant my grandfather's garden. He had always been into planting vegetables and fruits (his previous house not only had several hundred square feet of his huge yard planted, but he also planted more in a large corner of his neighbor's yard), and his yard at his new place had a large vegetable plot right in the center of the back lawn. He had starter plants delivered, and my brother and I spent a few hours digging holes, and planting tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, beans, etc, following his exact directions regarding location, hole depth, manure, backfill. He even had us plant some collard plants, which he was sure he didn't order, but he figured he'd find some use for them. Our time at his house insured that we would be caught in the heavy summer Sunday afternoon northbound Parkway traffic.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

June 4, 1994

The Brillo Putter, a special object at the Jarger Invitational. When my brother took up golf in high school, he used old family clubs, and he had these with him at one of the invitationals. My cousin saw the Brillo and remembered it from his childhood, a conversation between his father and my grandfather, who had just acquired it, probably a premium through his supermarket job. My cousin did a whole routine describing the conversation- my grandfather's not knowing quite what to make of it. It seemed like a decent enough putter, but there was the Brillo logo stamped on it, but still it was a good putter, etc...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June 3, 1994

For several years my brother and I used to drive down to my cousin's house for the Jarger Invitational. Sort of a continuation of the summer vacations we took at the shore as kids, where we were often joined by my slightly older cousin, who lived nearby. After college, my cousin (the Jarger in question) took up residence in South Jersey on the outskirts of Philadelphia. The Invitational generally included a game of miniature golf, a short bowling tournament, an epic Monopoly match, 9 holes of regular golf (weather permitting), and large amounts of pasta. If time permitted, we would sometimes take the local rapid transit (the PATCO train, which we called the "speedyline") into Philadelphia to go to a favored brew pub, as we did on this night. The pasta and beer were demonstration sports only, not included in the overall competition.

Monday, June 2, 2008

June 2, 1994

I had plans to get together with Kathy in the afternoon, but she said we needed to stop by the Montclair State radio station first. She had promised she'd meet someone there for a quick game of chess. The game ended up being anything but quick. While that was going on, I took advantage of being in the station to check out some new releases, even taping a whole album. By the time she was done with the game, it was too late to do anything else, so we each went home, planning to meet one more time before I returned to Illinois. The image is from the end of the game, with her king in check.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 1, 1994

I had lunch at the lengendary White Manna in Hackensack. In my opinion, the best hamburger joint in the world. The perfect combination of meat, cheese, onion, bun, and grease. My father first learned about it when he worked in Hackensack, brought me there for the first time in the late 70's. Later I would have a job in Hackensack myself, but at the other end of the city, way too far to get to and back on my 30 minute lunch break, so trips there remained rare. Occasionally I have brought out of town friends there, to show them one of New Jersey's food landmarks. My last visit was a few years ago when work took me up to Bergen County, but I'm sure if I went there today it would be exactly the same.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

May 31, 1994

Driving on Route 3, I pass a prison work detail cleaning litter along the side of the road. In an odd coincidence, on this trip to New Jersey I had purchased a collection of the complete Vocalion (Columbia) recordings of bluesman Bukka White, and my favorite song of his is "When Can I Change My Clothes?", a song about his shame in being seen is his own prison uniform on similar public work details. (I have also seen this song listed as "Parchman Farm Blues" on other records, but on this disc that title is given to a completely different song.)

Friday, May 30, 2008

May 30, 1994

Went up to my friend Rich's house for a Memorial Day cookout. On the menu, obviously, were hot dogs, corn on the cob, and chocolate cake. I think I recall some beer being involved as well.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 29, 1994

Doing a charcoal rubbing off a cut woodblock, the one of my friend Kathy, started a few days earlier. It seems unlikely that I was finished with the whole thing, so maybe I was just checking the progress of the face, visible here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May 28, 1994

My college friend Jenny marries John in an outdoor ceremony in the Rose Garden at Hershey. A few other of our housemates from the Italian Studies House were also in attendance. The flowers were all in bloom and the weather was perfect. The one incongruous thing was that the top peak of one of the roller coasters in the nearby theme park was visible above the landscaping, so every few minutes we would hear the screaming of the passengers as the cars crested over the top. After the ceremony and the photos we reconvened at the country club, where the reception had about the level of chocolate that you might expect in Hershey.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 27, 1994

I arrived in the Hershey, PA area early in the afternoon and checked into my motel outside of town. I was there for the occasion of my college friend Jenny's wedding the following day. With a lot of time on my hands, I decided to go visit the Chocolate World tour. Fearing possible parking issues on this Memorial Day weekend, and being that it appeared to be straight 2+ mile trip down the main the main highway from my motel, I decided that I would walk there. This wouldn't have been a bad plan at all, except that I had brought my recently purchased shoes on the trip. They weren't broken in very well, and even before I got there, I was already feeling the effects. I went on the free tour, got my free Hershey bar (milk chocolate with almonds I think) and had to exit through the giant chocolate related shopping area. I was tempted by the many chocolate displays, but decided that the long walk home on a hot day was not the best time to be carrying a lot of chocolate, so I just bought a soda at the snack bar to drink on the walk back to my room. By the time I got there, my feet were covered with painful blisters. When I went out to get some dinner in the evening, I took my car.

Monday, May 26, 2008

May 26, 1994

My friend Kathy was perhaps the biggest fan of my art, at least since seeing my MA show at Montclair a few years earlier. When I invited her to sit for a portrait, she was happy to do so. She came over to my parents' house and we did the drawing in the living room. She sat on the couch and I sat on the floor with the woodblock. I did a pencil drawing on the block, with plans to cut it later.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May 25, 1994

I visited the adult training program in Hackensack where I used to work, and had brought some of my recent artwork with me, including the Fourth of July prints. They used the occasion to form a discussion group, with the clients seeing the images and imagining what the stories were behind them. One of the clients, viewing an image of a colander full of cooked ravioli, was convinced that it was a bowl of nuts. I decided that the image of a bowl of mixed nuts would be appropriate for the day, not to mention the staff and clients who worked there.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

May 24, 1994

During my trips home, I always brought a stack of woodblocks and my tools, so I could work on these prints while I was there. I cleared a section of the workbench in the basement to work on. On this day I found on the bench a small shoe polish tin that contained old coins, collected by my grandfather I believe. Mostly money from foreign lands, and the occasional token. The newest ones are from the 1920's and 30's. The oldest include a token from 1912 and some coins from the 1820's. All are very worn, so I doubt they have much value.

Friday, May 23, 2008

May 23, 1994

Going through a toll booth on the Garden State Parkway. No record or memory of where I was going to.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May 22, 1994

I went up to Montclair State to participate in a psychological experiment. It seems that the sister of one of the Hackensack clients was doing some grad work at Montclair, and needed some volunteers to take a test. My father figured I'd be a good volunteer, since I was at that moment staying just a few miles from campus, so I made an appontment to meet with her. The test, which I think involved looking at slides and choosing multiple choice response options, was in the new building on campus, constructed a few years earlier in what had been the only student parking lot in the center of campus when I first started going to school there

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May 21, 1994

Another item I picked up at the mall the day before was a new wallet, as the one I had been using was coming apart at the seams. On this day I did the transfer of contents from the old wallet to the new one.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May 20, 1994

My typical footwear of choice is sturdy work shoes- good for my need to spend much of my time on my feet, not to mention in situations (like many artists) where extra foot protection is a necessity . But eventually they wear out and need to be replaced. Shopping options in Carbondale were a bit limited, so I used my time in New Jersey to check out what was available at Willowbrook Mall. Success- I replaced an old pair, with the uppers starting to split from completely worn soles, with a new pair.

Monday, May 19, 2008

May 19, 1994

One of the things I always had to get adjusted to back in New Jersey was the supermarkets. All the ones in Carbondale were large, bright, spacious buildings, with wide aisles and few customers. On this day I went to the local Shop Rite, built decades ago during the first wave of supermarkets, with aisles so narrow that two carts would struggle to pass, dingy floors, and crowds of customers. And this was typical of most of the local supermarkets. A few years after this, a much larger modern replacement was put up next to it, and the original torn down.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 18, 1994

I had stopped for the night at a motel outside Youngstown, and after breakfast and gassing up, got back on the interstate heading east. Almost immediately I saw the sign for I-80 and destination New York City. Though at this point I was still almost 400 miles from home, seeing the sign for New York and getting on I-80 (which would take me to within just a few miles from my parents house) was the moment I always felt like I was getting close.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

May 17, 1994

Filling my gas tank for the ride home to New Jersey. This was probably in Kentucky, my usual eastbound stop in LaGrange for lunch and gas.