On October 1 I begin installing a new artwork at 99 Plymouth Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park across the street from Smack Mellon. Commissioned by the park in early spring I have been drawing, carving and printing birds that inhabit the park. This past month I began work on their habitat, first with the rocks that surround the marsh then I will make the grass. The piece will be big, there is a 12 and 24 foot wall in one area, and a second 20 foot and 12 foot wall in anther. I always get nervous that I do not have enough printed and cut paper, but I should also know that by now I always do.
I planned my schedule carefully for this piece. I spent March through July carving the linoleum block birds. In August I made multiple drawings. And the plan for September was to spend 30 days printing my heart out on my big, 33″ x 72″ press at LIU Brooklyn where I am a tenured professor. All went well until September 1. Dr. Kimberly Kline, president of LIU locked out faculty during contract negotiations. I had 48 hours to get my blocks, paper, ink and completed artworks out of my LIU studio. I managed to do that along with a small press. My bike, flat files and 20 years of artwork are still there and I cannot access them. Yes, the lockout is horrible and I technically went from a full tenured professor to unemployed and uninsured in about 48 hours. But as they say, “opportunity comes from adversity” and it is true. A friend offered me space in his studio, another friend use of his press. And while his press is smaller than some of my blocks I can do a great deal of work. Instead of printing some of the large piece I will hand draw them them onsite. This is certainly offering me the opportunity of new ways of creating my artwork. It is also showing me that no matter what happens with these negotiations, I will be just fine, but I worry deeply about my students. I have to pass through a whole lot of anxiety, fear and anger to get to the other side and it is not pretty. But working from home and at least making drawings, and txting with my students, everything feels right.