18Jul/130

Lunch Is Delivered in a Lunch Wagon

Posted by Sermarr

One of the great benefits of having my studio at the Foundry complex is that the lunch wagon shows up at noon in the courtyard because there are workers at all the businesses who make it worthwhile for the truck to come. We have a glass blowing company, and the plant company and other small businesses here Michael, the owner/driver , makes pretty good sandwiches. I went out today and had an eggplant parmigiana hero. Very good and I didn't have to stop to make lunch. Just thought you'd like to have another slice of my current life

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18Jul/130

“Secret Box” Is Rising…At Last

Posted by Sermarr

Well, pretending that I didn't have anything left to do on getting things in order in the studio worked pretty well on getting some progress on "Secret Box". The internal structure got done, although it is still far from stable in a traditional framing sense, it will work to hold up the walls and roof. And some of it is glued down and some is held up with clamps while I figure out what is needed next. Whew!

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18Jul/130

Art On Walls

Posted by Sermarr

I have been slowly hanging up a few pieces of art. The ones near the kitchen had to have a frame so nothing got on them. So a bunch of round ones appeared. "Keeping The Wolf From The Door" is still near the front door to the studio doing its job. "Fire In The Hole" is on one wall. "Not Me!" Is on a skinny wall near the fabric wall. "Two Joes" is on another wall. "How Much Of My Grandmother Is Still Here?" Has just moved in.

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18Jul/130

Not Much “Secret Box” Progress

Posted by Sermarr

I have been so tired that I've not been able to make much progress on "Secret Box". But I have very slowly been doing the investment of time and energy to put the things in place that I need to really work on it.
What I need is a working wood shop that can make cuts quickly. So I finally moved the miter saw from the front room I'm going to sublet in the front of the studio. And set up the sawhorses, dust collection system and moved all these things, including the hoist, out of the way. So now I can make cuts on wood! Hooray
Next I need a set of ready to use tools that can drill holes etc. Using the big drills is cumbersome and tiring so I went about setting up my Dremel which is smaller and capable of working with lots of different tools, including a drill. Then I set it up on my rolling wood bench so it's ready when needed

Then I had to take a trip to Home Depot on the subway (15 minutes one way) since I no longer have my car to get what else I needed and could carry back. Some of them are below.
Next I needed sets of paints ready for use with wood blocks or other objects. So I've been eating spinach and arugula and am now setting up in each air tight plastic box coarse topped big grout sponges that have a scrubby surface on them. They are too thick so I've cut them down using an electric knife. Then I needed a ready way to pour paint into them without making a huge mess and taking a lot of time to undo the tops of gallon buckets of acrylic paint. VoilaIi found it on my trip. A rubber pourer that fits on the top with an airtight seal and a pouring spout. Then I pour the right amount of paint on the sponge. This seems to allow the delicate blocks as well ,if I press down heavily, the ones that need more paint.
Then to cut the steel belted radials that I am using (yes,it's the ones you see on the side of the highway that big trucks have spun off;I collected some of these treasures on my Monument Valley trip) I needed some heavy duty metal cutting scissors. So again on my trip I bought Aviation snips (had to stand in the store looking it up in my smartphone trying to find out why they're called this) which cuts right through them. And I bought Duckbill ones. (You look it up,if you want to know!)
I have a few wishes as I'm trying to figure all this out: I wish I had more body strength to pick up a lot of the things necessary (like a miter saw and my 10' ladder) to do this work. I also wish I'd taken more workshop practical kinds of construction type courses so I could have learned some of this instead of proceeding tiny energy-consuming step at a time. And I appreciate the skill and knowledge that Sergio brought to me as my studio assistant.
So here are some pictures of all my improvised materials. I am trying to stay focused on working on it today as I have been getting distracted by all the thousand more things that need to be done to get the studio more "in order"

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14Jul/130

Secret Box…It’s Hard To Make A House When You’re Not A Good Carpenter!

Posted by Sermarr

Secret Box continues to grow in fits and starts. It is severely hindered because it is taking the form of a house and I am a very inexperienced carpenter. I build more instinctively than for stability. And it is beginning to be more difficult as I approach putting on the roof. But it continues.
I also went all the way to the end of the 7 subway line in Queens yesterday to a group art exhibition put on by Long Island City artists group. Flushing/Main Street ,Queens, past the World's Fair site,and truly a melting pot of Chinese and Spanish in a wild cacaphony of signs in Chinese/Spanish/English. A true modern US Main Street complete with a big Macy's and shopping mall and Chinese fish and vegetable stands. The show was held in the Flushing Town Hall, a restored city hall and some of the artists were there and talked about their work. As is sometimes the case it seems they are mostly led to obsess about however they do their work , both the content and the materials used, and the pieces take them where the piece wants to go. Like some other world invasion and channeling through the artists' hands. Those of you who are artists and are reading, I'd love some comments if this is true for you. So I met some people and volunteered for the LIC artists group. Good way to meet people

Back to Secret Box...I wish it would lead me in a different direction than constructing a house, but it's made up its mind and I guess I'll be a better carpenter when this is over!

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13Jul/130

Tribute To Bright Shining Lights In Our Lives

Posted by Sermarr

I am missing Dan Nadler, a bright shining light in my life; Dan died a few nights ago. He was full of joy in life and at life. He brimmed over with curiosity, intelligence, humor at our foibles and had the great storyteller gift that some are given. His eyes twinkled just as he was about to let loose with the knuckleball ending to a story which would smack squarely across the plate, low and inside and unreturnable. His passion for life was overflowing and the main tributaries it poured into were his love for his wife, their appetite for the far flung people and places of the world and for the history, beauty and significance of museum-worthy collections of ethnic silver jewelry and Chinese Export Porcelains These passions have bequeathed us memories of great stories, an online go-to spot if you're planning on taking a trip to some far out post;they've captured the essence to get you prepared and it's available at Nadler Photography, stories of how Serga wanted the latest piece of jewelry he'd scoured around and found, and beautiful collections housed at Museum of Art and Design and Winterthur, each with their own Nadler meticulously prepared book.
But most of all, for me, he has bequeathed this shining beacon: a belief that joy and passion can be beamed out to be shared and increased, that fellow like beings will recognize one another (I met Dan and Serga by happenstance in a NYC coffee shop and we became fast friends) and can enrich immeasurably life's journey by creating a virtual bonfire of beacons to sustain and energize us in our often dark, violent and ignorant world. It's as if he has said to all his family and friends in his death as he did in life "Tag,you're it now". I hope to pass this beacon forward.

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11Jul/130

FINALLY. Secret Box Begins to Be Made Faster

Posted by Sermarr

Today on and off throughout the day but especially in the late afternoon and after supper, my right brain really began to be focused on working on the Secret Box piece. I am working on cedar roof shingles. I picked them up at Home Depot and I love how suggestive their shape and the knot holes in them are. A home artifact. And Secret Box is about family secrets that people live with in their homes. So here are some pieces that have been worked on to add to the block painting I still have no idea how they're going to be assembled but I guess it will be figured out over time. These pieces are fascinating and fun to work on. And I love the smell and feel of the cedar. I also am frustrated because when I reach for say orange thread I have a hard time finding it. Things are still not in their right places yet. But they'll get there over time.

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11Jul/130

Art Hung On Walls Of Bathroom

Posted by Sermarr

I managed today to drill some holes in bricks and attach a board and hang two pieces of art I made in India. These were made very near the end of my stay and were forays in duochrome. Black and one other color on white

And The Princess is there too

Despite how uneventful this looks, it was a huge deal. And I learned a lot from it and strained my back. Where is big muscle when needed?

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11Jul/130

News of the Waterfront Near My Studio In LIC

Posted by Sermarr

Advertise on NYTimes.com
Building Blocks

Saving a Spot for Pepsi-Cola as a Tower Goes Up

Shannon Stapleton for The New York Times

The Pepsi-Cola sign, a fixture in Long Island City, Queens, once sat atop the company's bottling plant, which closed in 1999 and has since been demolished.

By
Published: July 10, 2013
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Pepsi-Cola hits the spot; eight full stories, that’s a lot.

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David W. Dunlap/The New York Times

The lower eight floors of a new apartment tower under construction were recessed to accommodate the sign.

Arquitectonica

An architectural rendering of how the sign will look with the new apartment towers behind it.

And that’s the size of a notch that has been carved into a 25-story apartment tower under construction in Long Island City, Queens, directly behind a waterfront billboard that PepsiCo has owned and maintained since 1936 and that is one of the most familiar features along the East River. The lower eight floors of the building have been recessed 12 feet, keeping them 45 feet distant from the back of the sign.

Building designs are influenced by zoning, financing, engineering and marketing. The 4610 Center Boulevard tower may be the first to be influenced by a swirls-and-curls, Depression-era, ruby-red, neon soft-drink sign.

“It is almost as if the face of the sign shaped the volumetrics of the building,” said Bernardo Fort-Brescia, a partner in the firm Arquitectonica, which designed 4610 Center Boulevard for TF Cornerstone, a development company run by the brothers K. Thomas and Frederick Elghanayan.

Once regarded as an eyesore, the sign is generally embraced today as a symbol of Long Island City’s industrial past, as a colossal work of Pop Art and as a way for those who live in the six buildings of TF Cornerstone’s Long Island City development to orient friends and families. (The back is not illuminated, so tenants are spared the film noir effect.)

It seems that if you keep a billboard long enough, it may turn into a civic cynosure. The Citgo sign at Kenmore Square, for instance, probably ranks ahead of the Old State House as a symbol of Boston. And the Pepsi sign was once considered for landmark status.

But the preservation of the sign involved more than an accommodating developer, an imaginative architect and a growing appreciation of popular history.

It reflects PepsiCo’s canny understanding, when it closed its Long Island City plant in 1999, that it owned an enviable bit of real estate. The Pepsi billboard occupies a site with no competing signs nearby. It is visible from two wealthy and well-traveled areas, the Upper East Side and the United Nations. And on the river’s edge, it will not be blocked by future towers.

The 147-foot-long sign was originally atop a factory building. Its letterforms, almost Gothic in their complexity, give the sign much of its appeal. This is a logo that originated in the late 19th century, and looks it. The “C” has a pennant and a big loop that trails back to join the bottom of the “P,” whose top resembles a horseshoe flying over a stake.

The letters are supported on an open armature, which emphasizes the sign’s mechanical quality. The bottle, sporting a slightly more up-to-date logo, was painted fairly crudely since it was meant to be seen at a distance. That adds to the charm.

In 2001, the Elghanayans, then partners in the Rockrose Development Corporation, were designated developers of the north end of the Queens West waterfront complex.

They were able to buy 21 acres from PepsiCo — except for a 60-by-200-foot parcel that PepsiCo carved out to serve as a permanent home for its billboard, on almost exactly the spot it once occupied, though much closer to the ground. “Pepsi was not going to sell the land to anyone unless they kept the sign,” said Jon McMillan, the planning director at Rockrose, who now has the same job at TF Cornerstone.

The sign was relocated for several years to the south end and reassembled in its current position in Gantry Plaza State Park in 2009. By that time, it was clear that the 4610 Center Boulevard tower would have to be built much closer to the sign than originally anticipated, given the way in which TF Cornerstone had pushed, pulled and laid out the overall 3.2-million-square-foot development.

Technically, the tower could have come closer to the sign. But Mr. Fort-Brescia, whose affection for the sign is evident, said that would have made it harder to read the billboard from across the river. Instead, he said, the cantilevered portion “creates a shadow box, so the letters stand out.”

“I didn’t want the sharp corners of a rectangle competing with the letters,” Mr. Fort-Brescia continued. “I chose to curve the corners so the building seems to fade away.” That the curves are also evocative of the streamlined Art Deco period in which the sign was erected is an added benefit, he said. But the design is not meant as historical allusion.

“This is all my impulse,” Mr. Fort-Brescia said, when asked if PepsiCo had requested or demanded such aesthetic deference. Besides, the sign will probably serve the developers’ interests equally well, since it confers special bragging rights on tenants.

“They’ll want to say, ‘I live behind the Pepsi sign,’” predicted Pablo Fernandez, TF Cornerstone’s no-nonsense job site superintendent. “People are funny that way.”

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10Jul/132

Baking Art: English Muffins!

Posted by Sermarr

I continue to have little ability to focus on much but reading. I did paint a second coat on my window inserts that make them blend in with the walls better. And today I made yeasty wonderful English Muffins, which if you've never had them fresh you can't imagine what a treat you're missing. It's a dough that has to rise twice and then the muffins are cooked on a buttered griddle. Yum!
Wish I had some art to write about/show. But it's not ready to be made yet. When it is, it will let me know

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