Archive for the ‘Studio Notes’ Category

Art for Haiti NYC project

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

In light of the current situation in Haiti, we are organizing an auction to benefit Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres/MSF) to support their current work in Haiti. The auction will be held on Wednesday February 10 at 7:30 PM, with previews Tuesday and Wednesday.

601 West 26th Street (@ 11th Ave.)
8th floor
New York, NY 10001

The money will go directly to Doctors Without Borders via their web site as a direct donation.

http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/haiti-share.cfm

We are currently looking for more artists and galleries to participate. If you think you can help in any way, please contact us at info@artforhaitiny.com

Bantam of Death and Redaction: We Participate as Artists

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

The Bantam + Mechanics project is in free fall. It is pretty par for the course for the De Pirro + Williams team to get hit with complications, but this particular obstacle is, without a doubt, on an entirely new level of complexity.

Just as we began to take the project out of the planning stages with our print shop live broadcast: Bantam + Mechanics: Precursor: A Press Play we were dealt a significant blow with the murder of Father Ed Hinds, who was integral to the project. Ed had maintained his empty family home in Chatham Township, New Jersey, so that he would have a place to live upon his retirement. In the interest of full disclosure, I won’t provide many details at this time, but the little farmhouse garage on Ed’s property had been slated to become the studio theater for Bantam + Mechanics after the large warehouse lease deal in Jersey City hit the skids.

It was sort of a blockhead move on my part to neglect the perfect locale which was almost literally in my backyard and instead seek another warehouse. The Green Village section of Chatham Township has a micro car culture scene of its own. The Green Village Garage, which is only a short walk down our county road, regularly displays quite a menagerie of amazing automobiles. The current lineup includes a ’69 Jaguar, a few ’60′s muscle cars, and ’81 Delorean, the latter being quite a distraction. This, paired with the outrageous toys of the Goldman Sachs types that fuel up at the garage and glide (or blast) up and down Green Village Road, make a Green Village location perfect for locating our garage. It hit me quite suddenly that I had been foolish to think our car would be better off in a big warehouse art studio space. It would be a pointless move that would have taken the project out of context.

I should back up a bit to outline a few aspects of this project before I go to far into the current collapse. Basically, Bantam + Mechanics is the next performance/sculpture/installation from the De Pirro + Williams collaborative team. This one has much broader scope than Circumambulator, but the genre is not much of a departure. It was clear that the next phase would be to move to full scale cars. I will attempt here to outline a wide-view explanation of the aspects of this project.

Both of us grew up watching others rebuilding cars. Ray Freeman back in St. John, Indiana, rebuilt cars on his own terms in his family garage. We want to follow this model and react against the current media trend of monetizing the hot rod and the chopper. Building a car is not driven by a profit motive, it is driven by desire and community. Growing up with Ray as a neighbor exposed me to something very different than what I had at home. My father’s garage was and still is utterly useless There are few times that I can recall ever using the garage for anything, especially automotive work. We used it for sculpture. Having said that, there was the infamous body work on the old red van that I assisted with, I believe that I would have been about ten years old. We welded eighth-inch steel sheet directly to the body of the van, replacing areas that had rusted out. The van was a beater, for sure, used for hauling sand and rocks, and taking ceramics to art fairs. It had a CB Radio with an antenna tall enough to strike a railroad viaduct.

These early experiences inform some common aspect of our two very different characters. Understand that this project is not quoting or mocking or usurping American car culture. It is not some tiresome multicultural mash up as is so common in contemporary performing arts and music. It is purely participating in it as artists rather than consumers or collectors. We participate as artists because that is what we are.

As artists we must take the act of rebuilding a car and imbue it with aspects of our collaborative and individual art practices. The activities in the garage become performance. Kaprow would see this as a performative of the everyday as artwork, and to make it such only two things are required. The first is our declaration, quite simply, that this act is art. The second is an audience that is aware of this declaration. Again, the reason for this is that we participate as artists. Within our lives and in this economy, we have limited time for anything other than work, family, and art. Therefore, the garage becomes the studio, mechanics becomes performance.

Audience is that critical issue that defines performance art from a private act. Social media and streaming technology are the perfect means for us to achieve an audience outside of a gallery space. The virtual space has finally become so powerful in our culture that we can use it and have an actual audience. As with the print shop episode, we can stream video live from our performance space and relay that video to an almost unlimited audience. The garage, in other words, would be fully wired. In addition to this wired garage, we fully intended to open the doors of our garage for events, visits by neighbors and friends, and even free, and likely incompetent, car repairs.

This is not to say that we would not or will not show aspects of the work in a gallery. In fact, this is another very important facet to the project. Bantam + Mechanics: Precursor: A Press Play is precisely what I am referring to here. The prints, drawings, video, etc. of this work is gallery ready. This extra stuff is really the artistic product that we will provide for public consumption. The restored Bantam roadster is not really the artwork, it is simply the intellectual focus.

With the loss of our perfect garage space, we are in a bit of a pinch. Without the proper context, we can’t enter the local car culture in the way that we prefer. The loss of the garage is a massive setback, however, the project is not on hold. In fact, the tragic death of Ed Hinds will serve to push the project forward more rapidly, and if it hits a wall during this next phase, it will likely be abandoned for something else.

There is a bit of irony the redaction prints that we produced during the recent print shop episode. We used a sort of burnout mark in ink to block out or disregard historical documents from the city of Hoboken. The print substrate was a set of turn-of-the-century blueprints for the construction of Hoboken’s (now redacted) shipping yards. The Bantam Roadster itself will carry this concept forward. The antique will be saved and likely destroyed at the same time. We will take the historical object and give it a new role as sculpture. The irony is now the project itself has become edited.

Bantam + Mechanics: Precursor: A Press Play

Friday, October 16th, 2009

How does one begin to enter the American car culture? In grade school, we drew flaming hot-rod Mustangs, Army tanks, and fast fighter jets. Now, as we enter this culture in earnest, with real desire, we follow that same path. Printmaking allows us to once again work together, and begin to define a path for this project. A literal blueprint is used, for example, in some of these prints, that is then altered or even destroyed by a artist’s mark. The blueprint is a plan, and the mark is the effort to take the pedestrian or commercial antique object and convert it to artwork. In doing this, yes, the antique is destroyed, but a new object is born. This is a model for what we will do with our Bantam Roadster in many ways. The new object, in our case, respects the original albeit antique automobile, but we do not fear the damage of provenance that will likely occur.

Our prints are marks of redaction and burnouts on historical documents and plain paper.

These prints illustrate the simplest reduction of what the overall long-term work will be.

http://www.bantammechanics.com/precursor/

De Pirro + Williams

Taurobolium: De Pirro + Williams

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Taurobolium from Nick De Pirro on Vimeo.

As promised, albeit rather late, here is the mostly edited two-camera video sequence from Taurobolium. Thanks to freelance videographer Brian McGinn, and Mark Remollino of Ambush for the camera work; editing by Project Studios. The original audio composition was created Brian Beard. This is documentation footage. The artwork is the performance, this is not intended to be a replacement for it.

Taurobolium was performed for the Hoboken Studio Tour event October 19. 2008. I just recently got my paws on the second DV tape, so the delay is now over. We created a small-scale poster campaign for the show using my big Xerox Phaser. The first poster uses the infamous Neumann emblem and the second poster usurps a Frederick Remington image of a steer being roped for branding. The Phaser can print wax right to heavy printmaking paper, so the posters had a good weight to them and looked like they came from a silkscreen shop.

 

 

Taurobolium Poster with Neumann Emblem

Taurobolium Poster with Remington Image

 

I might as well describe a bit of what this performance was about. At the time, the Neumann Leathers factory complex was the center of a development and zoning dispute in Hoboken. From the start, I was always skeptical and am still convinced that the developers will get their hands on the property very soon.Taurobolium was representative of the face offs that were very literally happening once a month at Hoboken City Hall. Ian and I wanted to create a face off of our own, borrowing loosely from the Agamemnon battle scene from Time Bandits. The minotaur is a anthropomorphized factory, and the gladiator is progress, development, etc. Taurobolium is a historical term describing a Roman practice of bull sacrifice, and in this case, the tragic figure of the Minotaur, with the unfortunate circumstances of his conception, is a perfect representation of the factory. Dirty, toxic, neglected, and exploited, the factory stands to loose. Progress wears him down like a matador wears down his opponent through tricks and choreography. The bull only knows the basic rules for fighting and can’t see what is really happening to him.

Visually, the piece consists of two performers, a twelve-foot clay powder circle ringed by a plaster powder stripe. The space is a derelict room in the Neumann Leathers factory on the ground floor. The space is unused and thick with dust. It also contains a massive tumbler used in the tanning process. The tumbler room is lit from the inside, so spectators can get a good look at its details. The Neumann Leathers logo crest is outlined in white plaster in the center of the clay ring. The bovine character’s body is coated in wet clay slip. Additional wet clay leeches out of a yoke around his neck built of bundled leather strips made in the former factory itself. The bovine mask is a modified and exaggerated bull skull with a maine and a tail that drags at his feet.

The opponent wears the clothing of a factory worker, including a leather apron, work gloves, boots, and coveralls. He is dusted with clay powder, and wears an elaborate Roman centurion’s helmet. He is a hybrid figure having the features of both destroyer of the minotaur and the maker of leather goods.

This battle, for me, is the perfect model for the labyrinthine machinations of a development project as it engages the target and destroys it. Every word and every maneuver is dubious. The old factory that served a purpose becomes an anathema and must be destroyed so that the future can take its path and forget its mistakes.

I suppose the factory itself is a labyrinth as well, with the Taurobolium at the center of the maze, but this is perhaps the first read of the piece. The factory is a maze in a very practical sense, an unknown black spot for most of the residents of Hoboken. If for some viewers, this is the maximum depth of meaning for the performance, we would be satisfied. The battle itself is intended to carry the underlying narrative of the battle between the future and past, or in the site specific context, development versus the past. Whether or not the viewer sees the link between themselves and the matador is another question altogether.

As the performance progresses, the audio track becomes more energetic and the face off of the performers gets a little more aggressive. It is all posturing and compensating; a chase. The clay and plaster drawing becomes destroyed by charging feet, and the bull eventually crashes into the center of the ring, wiping out the emblem.

A few links to other images and stories from the event are below. There was not much press, mostly because Hoboken’s art scene is pretty weak no matter what they tell you.

NJ.com’s Jersey Journal

Photo of one of the posters

Studio Tour Map

Vandals

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

On a regular basis I find vandalized corporate material around NYC. I am not talking about graffiti, which has its own dynamic. I am only referring to straight up advertisement damage. I like what I see. It is pretty pure expression in a form that is very different from graffiti, which can sometimes be pretty boring because it is getting more and more absorbed into corporate identities and campaigns. Ad vandalism isolates the attack element of graffiti from the creative or drawing side. Some of these are hacked up with knives, others appear to be some kind of solvent smear. For me, because of what I am into, they recall image hacking from ancient Egypt. One of the best that I have seen was a poster promoting a condominium in Jersey City that was re-postered with an anti-condo image with text that described lower class displacement. I missed my opportunity to get a good shot of that one, unfortunately. These are all iPhone shots at this stage. I don’t have the conviction to seek them out with a real camera. This is strictly off the cuff. I think my second solvent attack image is a little blurry. 

The Resolution and the Mongoose

Monday, May 11th, 2009

I made a little New Year’s resolution for myself. Working so much in NYC exposes me to so many people asking for help, either homeless or worse, so I thought that I might agree to help instead of hurrying by. I came up with a simple rule, if somebody asked and I had change, I would give them my change. Because I need my cash for tolls or even for emergencies, like a few days ago when the Christopher Street Station refused my MetroCard in every single turnstile and I had to put cash into the machine to get a stupid paper card.

It is quite a challenge to uphold the rules of this program because I am conditioned to ignore everything around me like everybody else. Maybe that is what this is really about. Surely my stupid pocket change is not really helping anybody, but there are studies that show that being ignored has very negative psychological effects on people. Don’t make me cite the study here, I just remember that it was about people who worked in retail like somebody at Sam’s Club who offers you a sample of some Italian sausage from a little grill. It drives people nuts when you walk by instead of just saying, “No thanks.”

I am usually either trying to see a client or rushing home as fast as I can, so have to force myself to stop, but usually I can do it. I was at the Broadway-Lafayette Station last week and a guy came right up to me and asked for change. I waived him off almost automatically. I immediately realized that I just broke my rules because I had change in my pocket. I started to follow him down the platform, but he turned around first and came back my way. He came up to me again as if he already forgot he approached me and before he could ask, he had my quarter. There is another guy who works with this outfit called the United Homeless Organization or UHO as it it written on his money jug. I understand that this is a kind of organized panhandling outfit, but that doesn’t change my exercise. If I have change, I give it. If the argument is that handing money directly to the person asking is wrong because it will not help him, I propose that without the cash in my pocket last week, I would have been standing in the Christopher Street Station trying to figure out how to get home.

I have seen several blogs that trash the UHO because the person asking for the donation usually gets to keep whatever they can get, minus fifteen bucks that they have to turn over to their headquarters, wherever and whatever that is. So, if that is not really a problem for me, then I guess the other complaint is that the organization pays some CEO for travel and expenses. Perhaps that is a problem, but again, because I am a quarter down at the end of the day hardly means that I have made a huge negative impact on myself or somebody else. Perhaps the president of the outfit is more than a pimp, I can’t say. Yes, obviously, a donation to a legit organization would be money better spent, but don’t tell me that another non-profit won’t spend the money on something other then direct aid to people on the street. I a pretty sure that people sitting in cubicles at most non-profits have a larger paycheck than I do. Is Lincoln Center a non-profit? The budget for their renovation is a cool 1.2 billion dollars. I heard the lead architect on WNYC last week talking about how the street is where all the city’s energy is and that Alice Tully Hall will bring the center down to street level, whatever that means. Does it really have to do that? Does Lincoln Center use all of its money for support of the arts, or does it pay somebody to drive people around or make copies?  Most of the sites that I checked out for background on the UHO were pretty callous, and one was actually about hanging out in the Hamptons, but the author took time out to belittle homeless people just to change it up, I guess.

1.2 billion is an amazing amount of cash, but I guess it is about the cost of a single B-2 Spirit, so maybe it’s not that great. I think 1.2 billion would be a nice number for some seed money to start a street-level arts micro loan program and still have enough money for your CEO’s expenses at the end of the year. Bloomberg was speaking at an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Lincoln Center today and he said that there were twenty-thousand ballerinas in NYC looking to fill the one-hundred ballerina positions at the center. Really, twenty-thousand, or is that just cute billionaire talk. If there are that many ballet dancers out there, how many painters are there that could use a micro-loan to get their practice up. It is unfortunate that we live in Sparta and not Greece. The stimulus bill has next to nothing for the arts, a mere fraction of the budget for the Lincoln Center facelift at 50 million dollars, and I’m sure most if it will go to Shakespeare theaters that do a great national service promoting English plays with American money. Perhaps there is a way to do a micro-loan program for artists and really take it down to the street level, after all, that is where all the energy is. If there was a sanctioned program, there would likely be a way to get art onto the streets for real. We could get those ballerinas out for a few open-air performances. Can you imagine a serious sculpture or suite of paintings right out in the street? They closed streets this summer so that people could walk and bike them, and in some instances there was spontaneous dancing, so why not fund the dancing and throw in some heavy duty visual art too. It sounds weird but it could work, and every artist I know has a shovel ready project. I have one that I could start tomorrow.

Speaking of that kind of thing, I recently saw a lost/stolen BMX bike up in Clifton, NJ on the side of Route 46. I turned around and grabbed it and tossed it in the truck. No seat, no brakes, it is a typical abused and abandoned bike. It was probably stolen, but it doesn’t look like it was garage kept, if you know what I mean. I guess I snaked it because I saw the Mongoose decal on the down tube, and that sealed it. I have wanted a Mongoose since I saw a Trend video with Dennis McCoy riding his Hooligan. The plan is to fix it up and ride it around the West Village and the Bowery as a sort of performance. I have no idea what direction it will take, but maybe it is a warm up for Bantam Mechanics; a sort of build project with a performance to get my feet wet before we start the big one. Besides, I really want to ride in NYC and a found bike could wind up staying in NYC when the performance is finished. No real loss, given that the parts I need will hardly amount to a substantial sum. Maybe I can find a reputable non-profit to accept the bike, or perhaps I can just give it to somebody who asks.

The Boss: POLAROID #4

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

 

De Pirro the Boss

The sequel to Get Serious, The Boss was also created as an identification photo at the Sherman Studio Art Center. Ian saved this one as well. Speaking of Sherman studios, I came this close to tossing a roadkill skunk into one of the glass furnaces over there one night. This photo features a Delille Oxygen welding cap, in effect!

Neumann Victory Italicized

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

 

The Neumann Leathers Tenants Association (NLTA) has won their battle for the future of the Neumann studio building complex. I should say, the NLTA is happy with the results of the Hoboken Zoning Board’s unanimous decision to deny approval to the Trammel Crowe Company’s proposal to develop a colossal condominium project on the Neumann site.  I should say, portions of the NLTA that are most represented by the group of small businesses that occupy leased space in the Neumann Leathers Company buildings are satisfied that they will continue to be able to have inexpensive space in a prime location without any kind of oversight or inspections of their premises that would normally be expected in a leased commercial space in such a competitive and densely populated market. I should add, many of the artists that are primary lease holders or sublease holders are also pleased that they can continue to provide, and in the latter case, work in, squalid studio spaces without fire code compliant walls or doors. They can continue to incorrectly and even illegally dispose of volatile organic compounds. I must assume that the building’s owners must be disappointed to not be rid of their toxic and poorly maintained structures, their absolutely decrepit parking lot, and their thousands of gallons of underground fuel oil.

The most recent mass email message from the NLTA proposes a new development project. Should I say another development project? The model and drawings have not been revealed, but one can assume that it will be more focused on supporting the existing Neumann community. I should say, one can assume that it will be more focused on providing space for the companies that can afford renovated loft space in a prime property in Hoboken. Perhaps, one should assume, that music rehearsal space and perhaps even sculpture studios may be considered too noisy for such a development. I am quite certain that commercial space will be available to those who can afford it, but how loud can I be?

Originally, the artists were the face of the NLTA, but it was plain to see then, and it is certainly the case now, that the small business contingent is the dominant voice. I should say, business contingent, if I am to include some of the multi-million dollar operations that are housed in some of the buildings on the property, for they are certainly not small. 

I suppose that now is a time to begin thinking about the future of the buildings on the property. I am willing to participate in a remodel of the property, but I fear that my small company won’t be able to absorb the additional costs associated with such a massive project even if it is a co-op, which has not been specified at this time. Given that the mission of Project Studios is to provide the most inexpensive studio spaces possible, the company is not posting record profits that could capitalize a major renovation.

I am happy to keep the Project Studios spaces on the third floor of Neumann Building H, and I will keep those studios available as long as possible. I estimate that it could be as short as one year, or as long as five, barring any arson or other maneuver of last resort from a would-be developer. I am currently seeking additional studio space for myself and for the greater Project Studios LLC company space for music and visual arts in another building or buildings in the immediate area.

 

DIY Etching Press: From Memory

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

 

The new (used) etching press has arrived. Remo and I unloaded it about a week ago and I finally got around to really cleaning it up and setting the micro-gauges so that I  can actually use it. I still need to level it, but the floor is so uneven, I will probably just put blocks under the feet. I apologize for the photos, I took them with my iPhone under fluorescent lights. I did all this setup from memory, and the last time I put a hand on a press was almost 10 years ago. I have my Dad’s awesome printmaking book, but I have not taken it out yet. The press itself is a joint venture between Kivetz, Ian Williams, and myself. Here is a little description of what I did to fire it up.

Step one: Get yourself an etching press. I guess you could build one, but it might be faster to buy one. To build one you are going to need a GTAW machine, Engine Lathe, and Milling Machine. You can probably buy most of the bearings pretty easily, but I digress. I bought a used one from a guy up in Teaneck. It was in his garage, just about completely walled in with junk. It was a pretty serious job extracting it. Remo had a good time because he appreciates humorous situations. We loaded it on my trailer, took it down the turnpike, and then rolled it right into the shop on a pallet jack. This press has a 28″ x 48″ bed. Not too shabby, but the real nice thing about this press is the size of the rollers. It also has a gear reduction crank case and no captain’s wheel. I am pretty sure I can make a big wheel for it, but I am not sure if I can secure it without removing the crank case. I would like to keep them both if possible. 

Martek 28\

Step 2: Polish that old hulk. I cleaned up all of the visible metal on the press with non-woven abrasives and steel wool. I removed some pieces to better clean them, but I didn’t go crazy. W-D 40 all around. The blankets are from the previous owner, and they are pretty moth-eaten and there is no sizing catcher. Add blankets to the shopping list. Also, the Martek label fell off.

Step 3: Zero out the press by bottoming out the top roller against the bed. Once you hit the bed, take up the slack in the threads so that all the play is out, but the roller is not lifted. I am talking about maybe a half turn or less. You can now move your gauges to the zero mark and lock them down.

Step 4: Cut some grid paper and cover that newly shined up bed. You could be all 17th century and leave the bed exposed, but let’s make it easy and register everything on a nice sheet of 1/8″ grid.

Lexan Sheet on Martek Press Bed

Step 5: Get a sheet of Lexan and cut it to the measurements of the bed. Cover the grid paper to keep your grid and your final print media clean. I just used some clear packing tape to secure it to each end of the bed. Note: Lexan is not all that easy to work with. You are also going to have to be aware that you just added thickness to the bed, so your zero mark is not zero any longer- not that it matters.

Step 6: Run a few test prints to get your pressure set. I don’t have a sizing catcher, and the pusher blanket is in pretty bad shape, but I was able to get a print. The main issue is that the studio is a sculpture shop, and I don’t have everything for proper printmaking yet. I was not able to soak my paper, so I just spritzed it and blotted it. Apparently not enough sizing was removed and the print was pretty light with a good amount of ink left on the plate. I am pretty sure my pressure was good, but it probably could have been a bit higher. Having proper blankets would have probably helped also, but I am pretty sure this was a paper issue. I was happy just to smell the ink again.

Here is the print. Again, lousy iPhone image, but you get the idea. The plate is a “full sized” Revere zinc plate that has been exposed to the elements for about 10 years or more. It had cardboard against it at one time, so it etched naturally. I am working the image very slightly, adding dry-point marks. Eventually, this will become the substrate for an image of the American Bantam rooster, or maybe not. I am planning some Bantam prints no matter what. I just never know what any plate is going to look like when it is done.

First Dry-Point Print from the Martek Press

Epic Fail: May 18, 2008

Friday, March 27th, 2009

 

Periodically, events that occur outside the studio can impact your art practice substantially, or so the story usually goes. This changed my life, that really opened my eyes to new possibilities, and so forth. I am pretty sure that my artistic tendencies represent a set of core values that I have had since I was very young, so events don’t seem to influence my practice any radical way. Drama, in other words, has no place. It is all rather matter of fact.

Then I received the call. The first thing that entered into my mind after hanging up the phone was that I had made the wrong decision. The studio’s business model was dangerous and could easily be destroyed by a single event. There was too much risk. I always knew that a fire in the building like the one I experienced in the former Union Tools building studio in Columbus would spell the end of a studio space, but I never considered a stranger’s suicide as a possibility.

I still know very sparse details, and as requested by those close to the individual, I won’t disclose personal information because it is not relevant. The story as I understand it follows. A member of one of the bands using the rehearsal studio that connects to the Project Studios main space was going through some kind of emotional difficulty and decided that the only option remaining for him was suicide. He was found hanging there the following morning by a band that had booked practice time. They called Chris Gibson and the police, and that ended it. Astoundingly, the band went ahead with their rehearsal once the coroner left the scene.

By the time I received that call from local band guru Chris Gibson, everything was all wrapped up. The body was gone. The police had taped off the studio, photographed the scene, and finished their work. They left behind only two scraps of yellow police line tape. It was somehow similar to that scene in American Psycho when Patrick Bateman returns to his old apartment only to find that everything was normal and everything that happened there was erased by his former landlord to avoid damaging the property’s value. Then I started thinking about how the timeline played out. I invented a narrative. “I just can’t spend another night on a studio couch,” he must have thought. I can imagine just looking at a piece-of-shit couch and thinking, “That’s it, fuck it.”

At the time, my main studio was still up on the third floor, and basically, every other studio space opened into mine. I never had any theft issues, and I don’t mind the artists who lease from me using my tools, so I didn’t build walls until I moved downstairs. For the purposes of this story, the only thing you really need to understand is that the rehearsal space in question has a door that opens directly into my studio with nothing more than an implied barrier between my studio and a common walkway.

Artists are selfish by nature, and paradoxically want to please others and maybe even serve the greater good, but when I think about this event, I admit that I lean toward the selfish, or at least, consider myself within the invented narrative even though I have no real part in it. The thing that still drives me crazy is that this guy had to walk right past a pretty substantial sculpture (Plaster Neumann) to get into the space where he killed himself. I can’t help but think that if the work was better, perhaps the outcome would have been different. Would you still do it if you had to walk past Caravaggio’s Conversion of St. Paul? Would some art that was actually good give you pause enough to not kill yourself five minutes later? This is the selfish artist’s thought patterns.

In the end, this has had no influence on my work in any way. I think about it sometimes, and wonder how this guy’s friends let him get to that point, but in the end, it is was his decision. I am annoyed that he chose to do it within my studio, but I guess it is difficult to think through how it will affect other people once you have crossed that line. I wonder if a better sculpture could have done some good in this situation. I doubt it, but it is an interesting proposition.