Friday, September 21, 2012

Last Weekend was Quite Interesting

Saturday, September 15th
     Last Saturday I wanted to go to Portsmouth, NH, to photograph at Strawberry Bank.  I arrived there just before 1PM, and was told they were closing at one for a special event.  Well, it’s a long way for me to drive to Portsmouth, so I couldn’t make the trip for nothing.  So I figured I’d go check out Don Gorvett’s new galley.
     If you don’t know Don Gorvet, he is a print maker who primarily works with reductive woodcuts.  This is a link to his website:  While a student at USM Don came and gave an artist talk to one of my drawing classes.  The talk was open to friends and family and other students, and he gave a great talk.  I enjoy the bold and animated lines in his work, so I thought I’d go see what he was up to.
     What a great visit!  Don was very interested in AIB’s MFA program.  I think he’s going to recommend it to a young printmaker who works at one of his galleries.  We talked a lot about printmaking and art, and the various ways of making prints in conjunction with photography.  And then he gave me a long talk about supporting yourself as an artist.  He said if an artist couldn’t find a way to turn their talent into “currency” they would end leaving their art behind for some other profession that pays.  He said artists are terrible at thinking of their work as currency.   He said currency is the result of one’s labor, and if the result of one’s labor is a work of art, then the work of art is the currency of the artist.  And he said he hated seeing artists grovel at the feet of gallery owners.  He said artists should see their work as valuable and take pride  in actively promoting it.
Sunday, September 16th
     Sunday I went back to the Old Man’s house (see July 22nd post).  This is an old farmhouse and barn in Buxton that I drive by regularly.  An old man used to live there, and I would see him outside with hundreds of cats.  There was something about him that made me look forward to seeing him when I drove by.  But one day he wasn’t there.  And for a long time after, as well.  When the house went up for sale I knew the Old Man was gone.  I felt sad, but now I knew I could photograph his house.  A couple of the images I brought to the June residency were taken at his house.
     This summer the farm was sold.  The place really needs a lot of work, so I thought the chance was great that the place would be torn down.  But instead the barn began to swarm with workers.  I don’t know why, but I just had to see the inside of the Old Man’s house before all trace of him was cleaned and painted away.  So I got my courage together, along with my camera and my weird request, and went to meet the new owners.
     Mellissa Perrin welcomed me right into her house, told me to go anywhere and everywhere, and to come back again.  She didn’t think my request was weird.  But maybe that’s because she has a BFA in painting.  Or maybe it’s because she likes the old man, whose name was Bud, too.  She said, “He died here, so I know he’s still here.  This place has great energy!  And we’re going to fill this barn full of horses and turn this place back into what it once was.”  She hopes the cats come back.  I told here they were around, because I'd seen cat trails in the long grass.  Hopefully when the barn is done, and before the snow flies, the cats will come and let new people to care for them.
     September Farm is what Mellissa calls the place.  And I think the name fits.

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