We're in a leap year this year, but 1994 wasn't, so I don't have a woodcut to put up today. Instead, a few special bonus images- a display of the first few dozen blocks (notice there are two prints on each piece of wood), part of an exhibition I did in Fall 1993, and an installation photo from a 2005 exhibition of the whole series at Kean University.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
I walked into the classroom at the Blue Barracks that was used for the studio portion of all the GEC classes, and found a bunch of sculptures hanging from the ceiling. They had been made with baling wire, something you could get cheap at the feed store in town. I believe they were from Kate Budd's class.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
My turn to charge the furnace (#2) in the hot shop. We students in the beginning glass blowing class rotated through this duty, whenever one of the furnaces needed it. Put on the protective mitts and glasses, open the door, and shovel in a sack of the batch. This solid material would quickly melt in the 2000 + degrees. This process was done in stages, and after it was all properly cooked, we would switch over to the new full furnace and start the process of charging the other.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Rearranging the furniture in my studio. The desk where I sat and did all of the drawing and cutting for this series always stayed in its usual corner, but other stuff moved around from time to time. Here I'm pushing a large table from one side of the room to the other.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Too real. That was the problem. An informal survey taken by one of the grad painters in my first year revealed that about half the 2D students in our year owned at least one gun. Kendra was among them, having a pistol she received from her mother, a graduation present to take with her from Kentucky to life in the big city of Carbondale. A few weeks prior to this day, she decided to use her gun as a subject for possible paintings. She removed the loading clip (so that it couldn't be fired and had no bullets), and brought it to her studio to do sketches of. When she wasn't actively sketching it, she wrapped it in a scarf and stuck it in the back of a drawer in a desk in her studio. Campus security guards wandered through the building at times, including overnight. One night one of these guards let himself into Kendra's studio, and started looking through her sketchpads. Seeing the drawings of the gun, he decided that they were too real to have been drawn without the subject, and searched until he found the gun, which he confiscated. This day was the next morning, when Kendra was summoned for a meeting with campus security, local police, and department faculty. While she had broken school policies by having a gun (even an incomplete one) on campus, the security guard had broken a number of laws with his illegal search. A compromise was worked out where there were no charges, and police held the gun until Kendra had the proper Illinois permit (she had one from her home state) and she promised never to bring it to campus again.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The glass studio hot shop had two glass furnaces, so there was always one ready to be used with a full load of prepared molten glass, and one that was being fed with sacks of batch- a mixture of glass pellets and dust with assorted ingredients that need to be cooked at a higher temperature for a few days before it can be used. This turned out to be helpful one day when there was an issue with the pilot light for Furnace #1. As we used the second unit I saw this- the gas line to #1 was disconnected and had this flame on the end, which I guess was being used to burn off the gas that would have gone to the pilot light.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
When I was in Armen's studio the previous day, he was working on a painting of a brick wall, half in shadow, and I went back this day to check the progress on it. Of all the grad student painters who were there in my years, Armen was the one who used the most traditional oil technique- doing an underpainting, then slowly building up color through a series of delicate glazes. Pretty much everyone else (as did I when I was still painting) took a more modernist approach, painting directly with full color and value. Of course, my woodcut version doesn't do justice to the effect his technique produced, but I still wanted to pay tribute to it.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I stopped by Armen's studio in the Glove, and he offered me some bourbon from a small bottle he had. I decided it was a good opportunity to try out my latest glassblowing project, a small drinking glass that I thought would be just right for whiskey. Turned out I was correct.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Someone was using the plate making machine to burn a photo based image onto an etching plate. The machine used a carbon arc to create the ultraviolet light, a very old technology that involves electricity arcing between two carbon rods that are gradually consumed in the process. Also makes a huge amount of noise, lots of toxic fumes- made me wonder why we even had the thing in the studio. All other photo based processes we did at the school (silkscreen, photosensitized litho plates) used a more safe ultraviolet vacuum table. This is the only time I remember the machine being used.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Plastered, literally. After being liberally smeared with cold cream on all surfaces that would come into contact with plaster, the process began at my feet. Laura dipped sheets of cheesecloth in plaster and started wrapping the front half of my body as I stood on a tarp. A few layers would be applied, then the process gradually creeped up the body. Three large tubs of plaster would be mixed to make enough for the mold. The process stopped at neck level. Although that much plaster was heavy, the mold supported itself. After letting it sufficiently cure, the mold was walked forward while I backed out of it. The resulting mold continued to stand on its own, supported on the wider base of plaster around the feet.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
On the way to see that John Woo movie back in late January, Laura had asked me if I could help her with her current project. She was doing a series of figural works based on wax figures cast from body molds. So far she had several female volunteers, but no men. After some follow up questions a few days later, I agreed. I had had a lot of my friends help me by posing for art projects over the years, and I figured karma dictated I needed to pay into the system. Eventually we picked a day to do it, and I had one preparation to make before then. I'm about as hairy an individual as has been seen this side of the stone age, so before being partially encased in plaster, I had to remove most of my body hair. Complete shaving wasn't necessary, just severely trimmed with scissors so that it wouldn't get embedded in the plaster.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
For reasons I no longer remember, I was taking a trip out to the Italian store in Herrin. Painting grad Brian Gibson handed me all the money he had in his wallet and asked me to convert it to olives. The store would put them in a cardboard serving dish and wrap it all with butcher paper. This is what I brought back to Brian, 1.5 pounds of kalamata olives. He ate most of them on the spot.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Watching the Miss USA competition on tv, while listening to an early album from foxcore band Babes In Toyland. There was something I liked about having that particular music, with its agressive, almost violent guitars and lead singer Kat screeching out her angry lyrics, as a sound track to the images of the women in bikinis and fake smiles parading before the audience. It's kind of a zen thing.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
John Lindt returns my glass. Our first day blowing glass, all we did was make a little bubble, but the next time we got to work a little longer, and I made this little glass piece. After the piece is finished being worked, it is quickly removed from the punty stick and put into an annealing oven, which very gradually lowers the temperature of the glass object from about 1500 degrees to room temperature (about 100 degrees there in the hot shop) over a long period of time; just cooling it in the open air would result in the piece shattering. I went back to the shop a few days later to pick up my cooled piece, but it was gone. It turned out that John (also in the glass class that semester) had accidently taken it, saying it was so nice, he assumed it was his. Later in my studio, I looked up to see my glass emerging in my doorway, John having brought it back.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
That semester the 401 Painting class was having the students do slide presentations of their artwork, one or two per week. I wasn't in the class, but I was invited to do one anyway and decided to do it. I figured I could use the practice, and since at that point in my art career I had just as much experience with painting as printmaking, it was an opportunity to show all the painting students what I had accomplished as a painter before switching over to woodcut in the early 90's.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Came home one day to find an odd message on my answering machine. It was from Chicago police, seeking information relating to a man who shared my last name, but with the first name Juan. Carbondale was over 300 miles south of Chicago, so I figured they were calling everyone in the state with my name. In my 100% Italian family there are no Juans, so I called them back regarding the case number seen in the image above and let them no that I had no knowledge of the man they were seeking.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
At mass at the Newman Center. A couple of rows in front of me a woman suddenly collapses and goes into a seizure. Eventually she was carried out by the people around her. In an odd occurence, I believe that day the Gospel reading was about Jesus curing a demonic possession at Capernaum. In the time when the Gospels were written people associated epileptic seizures with demonic possession, so it's possible that some kind of epilepsy was the condition that was actually cured. No one was cured this day in Carbondale.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I was woken up on a Saturday morning by an odd sensation. I heard a noise that was big without being loud. The bed began to shake a little, and I heard things rattling on shelves. By the time I realized what was going on, it had begun to subside. I had been woken by an earthquake on the New Madrid fault, 4.2 on the Richter scale. A few decrepit buildings nearer the epicenter suffered some damage, but otherwise no harm done. I have heard that scientists believed this fault line had the potential to someday have an earthquake more powerful than any that has ever hit California, but it didn't happen while I was out there.
Monday, February 4, 2008
When I got Chinese food in Carbondale, usually it was at one of the little take out shops on the Strip. However, word had gotten around that there was a slightly fancier place out on the highway that did a buffet, and on weekends it included all you could eat crab legs, at a typically Carbondale low price. So one night Eddie and I went to go enjoy that, along with the other typical Chinese buffet items.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
One day I walked into the little printing area of the Glove Factory, just outside my studio door, and saw grad painter Suzanne C. Thomas and a big mess. She had a whole bunch of braids made from hair extensions,and was rolling them both sides with black ink, sandwiching them between 2 pieces of print paper, and sending it all through one of the presses. Each such pass resulted in about 2 dozen images of braids. This was all part of an effort to create 1000 printed braids, something the print professor had challenged her to do. She was successful, though I can't remember if the results ever turned up in a finished art piece or exhibition.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Another very useful Christmas present that I got a few months earlier was a slide projector. The school had slide projectors that we could sign out for teaching and other purposes. I took advantage of this for classes sometimes, when one was available, but sometimes they were all signed out. Or sometimes I just needed to quickly look at slides and didn't want to waste time tracking one down. My parents decided that a Kodak carousel projector was too expensive, so got me a Vivitar, which uses a vertically mounted ring. Different, but it did the job I needed it for.
Friday, February 1, 2008
This semester I was taking another film history class, this time on the topic of experimental film. This could be defined as film that was experimental in its technical process or its narrative/images. Today in class we saw a film by photographer Man Ray, who applied his Rayograph technique (direct exposure of objects to photosensitized material) in this particular film.