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.

Friday, May 16, 2008

May 16, 1994

Moving Erin Palmer's couch. When Erin was hired for the previous fall, she moved into a house belonging to another professor in the department, who was away for the year. Now she was getting a place of her own, and John Siblik and I (and his truck) were talked into helping her move some bulky items from one place to the other.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 15, 1994

Grading the GEC class for final grades. The portion of the gradebook that kept track of attendance looked like this- X meant the student was in class that day. Other symbols covered absences, excused absences, and late for class.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May 14, 1994

Hanging out on the deck outside my apartment and talking with Jack, a neighbor who lived on the top floor of my building.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 13, 1994

Pouring beer from a tap on a keg. At this point I can't remember exactly what the occasion was. Perhaps a post-semester party at someone's house.

Monday, May 12, 2008

May 12, 1994

I get a copy of David Lasky's Boom Boom #1 in the mail. Dave and I went to college together, and shortly after graduation we collaborated on a number of comic related ventures, which went nowhere. I concentrated on my graduate art education (and woodcuts), while Dave pursued comics. He published many of these under the title Boom Boom, first a series of quarter page sized photocopied mini-comics, then a series of half page sized photocopied minis with 2 color card stock covers. Now he had gotten a deal to be professionally published, a full sized 24 page black and white comic printed on newsprint with glossy full color covers. Not only did the format look great, the story was by far his strongest work to date in both writing and art.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

May 11, 1994

Stephanie gets a tattoo. Stephanie was a senior art major, one who would occasionally hang out with the grads. On this day Suzanne was giving her a ride to a tattoo shop, where she would be getting a small tattoo of her own design. I was invited to come along, and having nothing better to do, agreed. The tattoo (seen upside down) was a small lizard/amphibian (purple I think) on her thigh. It didn't take long, and she was happy with the results.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

May 10, 1994

There was an annular solar eclipse this day around noon in my part of the world. Laura decided to try viewing it through her welder's mask, assuming anything that could protect her eyes from a close up acetylene torch could protect her from the sun. I don't know if that's true, but it sounded reasonable. Meanwhile, Armen constructed a basic pinhole projector. It was working well, so he punched a few more pinholes and he had multiple eclipses going on the cardboard screen. Once the main excitement was over, I left him in the Glove Factory parking lot and took a walk toward the glass house. The still partially eclipsed sun gave the sky a kind of surreal quality- bright blue, but at the same time dark like a thunderstorm was passing over.

Friday, May 9, 2008

May 9, 1994

Usually I would pay my bills by mailing off a check, but one exception was my electric bill. I would walk up to the local branch of CIPS (the regional utility), which was up the Strip, past the center of town, and in kind of an industrial district. I would pass the high voltage transformers and other equipment on my way into the building to pay my bill.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

May 8, 1994

Brian's perfect canvas. Grad student Brian was stretching a canvas (that's a staplegun in the upper left corner), I think as an assistantship for a professor, since he wasn't doing many canvas paintings at that time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

May 7, 1994

A sleepless night.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

May 6, 1994

One of the best things about my time in the Midwest was access to top quality barbecue. A few miles away in Murphysboro there was the legendary 17th Street Bar & Grill, winner of countless pork rib competitions on the local, national, and international level, and by far the best ribs I've ever had. However, some people didn't even think they were the best ribs in that town, and the main rival was the Midland Inn. On this night I went there for ribs with one of my fellow art students. Better than anything ever found in my home state, but not quite as tasty as the ones on 17th Street.

Monday, May 5, 2008

May 5, 1994

I spotted Laura R., one of the seniors in the 2D program, walking around with this odd collection of items on her back. It was a small backpack, and it included a variety of sticks, and a very large rolled up drawing, which stuck up well over her head.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

May 4, 1994

Sheryl Ellinwood's Blue House. Sheryl was in the MFA program for glass, and the instructor for the beginning glass class I was taking, resulting in a case of one grad student teaching a class with some other grad students in it. Well, she certainly knew a whole lot more about glass than we did. Sheryl was in her last semester, and this week was her MFA exhibition at the Mitchell Museum at Faner Hall. I routinely went to see the MFA shows, and certainly would for people I knew. The gallery was fairly dark, using spotlights to highlight her mixed media sculptures, such as this one in the shape of a peaked roof structure.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

May 3, 1994

The premiere of my animated 4th of July film, along with all the other films made by students for the experimental film class. As I have never owned a 16mm projector, it would also be the first time I'd see it. I was hoping to make it longer, include all the days up through the end of April, but the time consuming nature of drawing 24 frames per second, meant I only got up to the end of November, about 5 months worth of prints. Even with my opening and closing credits, that meant the whole film was barely over a minute. It was so short, that by the time they finished focusing it, it was pretty much over, so it was run a second time. I was pleased with the results, and it got a good response from the class and professor.

I modelled the image on the Varsity Theater on the strip, a typical Main Street type theater that every town of significant size used to have, now most closed by competition with multiplexes. This one also closed a few years ago, but at least the building will be refurbished and used as a home base for local theater companies and other arts uses.

Friday, May 2, 2008

May 2, 1994

I opened up the Daily Egyptian and found something interesting in the Police Blotter column- the names of 3 of my current students, one from my 2D class and two from the same section of one of my GEC classes. I had one of the students in common with another grad instructor, who revealed that the 4th student in the "gang" was in one of her classes. It involved a mugging, but they were caught trying to use checks taken from the student. One student (the girl in the middle represented by the elaborate hair style that she and her identical twin--also in my class--shared) missed no classes, bailed out by the twin I guess. Another (guy on right with the shiny gold accessories (I don't think the word "bling" hadn't been coined yet) missed one class, but I excused it when he came to the next meeting with copies of his various court papers. (the first time, but not the last, that I excused a student absence because they were incarcerated) The third student on the left (wearing the mask he had recently made for a class project) never returned to class. I ran into him several months later in a liquor store on the Strip, where he apologized for not finishing the semester, without naming the reason. For what it's worth, he seemed to be in the liquor store to buy something, not to rob it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 1, 1994

The first day of May, a month traditionally dedicated to Mary in the Catholic Church. This Madonna and Child image was borrowed from a medallion, the kind that we used to be encouraged to wear in May when I was a kid in Catholic school.