I left Detroit with a milk crate hiked on the back of my bicycle and a heavy portfolio full of plates swinging from the handlebars. I bought a bus ticket to Boston. One of my prints, a copper etching entitled “Elizabeth Mine” had been selected for the Arches Student Show back in May, 2015. The Arches show was at Lesley College in Cambridge, Willie Cole was the juror. I enjoyed the juror’s talk and was impressed with the student work, humbled to see my little print high up on the wall among other etchings, relief, and screenprints.
The Boston Printmaker’s Biennial was just down the street, and I stopped in with two college friends to see. We made quick use of the free wine and carrot sticks, and I soon realized that the proper etiquette was to eat after viewing the work. Oops.
I spent a few minutes examining a print called “Motherboard” by artist Ann Conrad from New Canaan, CT. The print is a mix of intaglio and relief, a large piece with rectangular blocks of vertical color, an analogue mimic of a digital script, in light blue hues with navy and orange emphasis. The forms seemed familiar to me, I recognized the shapes as cousins of ones my hands have made.
I left the show in a car, with confidence in printmaking; appreciation for the images, and feeling of security I had not previously realized in my work. I was prompted by the juror’s emphasis on technical innovation to delve into possible theoretical (or physical) overlays between film and print media.
However, my curiosity was thwarted by my characteristic groundlessness. (I mean literally, I was out of hard-ground.) With no job, a few friends with generous couches, and an excellent resume, I made my way to New York and applied for an internship at the Lower East Side Printshop. They wanted an interview. I wore a blue shirt that I bought at a thrift shop on Woodward for a Detroit Poetry Society performance.
I sold December for $700, serving coffee and donuts to rich folks until I made enough to pay for a small closet in Brooklyn. I still have the milk crate, and I will be back in the studio tomorrow, January 4, 2016.