Friday, October 25, 2013

what a week

The last week has been exhausting...both mentally and physically.  In addition to all the normal daily tasks, several extra curricular things have happened to keep me on my toes.

Last Thursday was the reception for "Independent Study", an exhibit of work by Lander University's full time art faculty.  We were told it's the first time in 30 years there's been a comprehensive faculty exhibit featuring Lander professors.  The work exhibited in the show is amazing...and no, I'm not talking about my work.  

Jim Slagle created several large scale signs created out of cardboard.  That's his name up there and the sign spins to show that the name "Slagle" is spelled out both upside down and right side up.

His "You are beautiful" sign, also in cardboard.  You should Google "you are beautiful" to read about that project.

 Drawings by Elizabeth Snipes and sculpture by Sandy Singletary.

 Books by Asma Nazim-Starnes in the background and another Singletary sculpture in the foreground.

 There's one of my students accosting one of my sculptures in the gallery.  Jon Holloway's photos are in the background and Singletary's tree hangs in the foreground.

 The highlight of the night for me was getting to do a live drawing session with Dr. Tom Pitts, our art historian.  Tom would start a drawing on a piece of paper and hand it off to me.  I'd add to it and hand it back.  After a couple of rounds we'd give the finished drawing to one of the people standing around and we'd work on another one.  This collaborative drawing approach is what we do during our meetings to pass the time.  I stole this photo from someone's Facebook thing.

 I also stole this one.  That's most of the faculty in the photo, minus Elizabeth Snipes and Asma Nazim-Starnes.  From left there's Jon Holloway, me, Tom Pitts, Sandy Singletary and Jim Slagle.  

 The reception was very well attended and we had tons of our students come out to inspect our work.  Or maybe they came for the free beer.  Either way, there were lots of people.  Our faculty are very talented and really fun people to be around and work with.  And our students are also really great.  We have so many involved and enthusiastic students that it makes our jobs even more fun.  That's a group of students up there, from left, Andrew (Gordon), Sean (of the dead), Brandy (Cessquatch), Katie (Katertot), and Danielle (The Tavmanian Devil).  Everyone but Gordon was squatting down so they could make him seem like the tallest one.

 Greenwood held it's Oktoberfest on the same night as our reception so after we were finished being silly, we walked down the street, through the vendors and past the live music to Millhouse Pizza.  I think there were 3 tables of students but I only got a photo of one when I was leaving.  Some of the same people are in this one but there's also Ali, Ashanta, Octavis, Emily, Anne, Kayla, and Colleen.

45 minutes before the reception started, Octavis and I ran 3.1 miles around campus.  He was lucky enough to get a shower before the reception.  I was not so lucky.  Sorry to those who got close to me.

 And speaking of running, Lander hosted the Moonshine Run 5K last Monday night.  Ashley and Sean told me about it and several of the art people signed up.  We all pinned on our numbers and snapped on our glow sticks and lined up to race.  Mostly left to right that's Singletary, Sean, me, Ashley, Cessquatch, Lydia, Slagle, Katertot, Shawny, a photobomber and Octavis.

We lined up at the front of over 300 people and talked trash to the other runners.  There were a couple of firsts for me in this race.  This was the first time I've ever been in first place during a race (only for about 2/10ths of a mile) and the first time I've ever won 2nd place overall.  There's probably going to be an asterisk in the record books though.  The race took a crazy turn when one of the race workers stopped the race leaders and told them they were going the wrong way.  I was in 3rd place at the time and we all turned around and took off as directed.  Moments later another race worker told us to stop and go back the other way.  We lost at least a 1/4 of a mile and a good number of seconds during this mishap.  What we didn't know then was that some other racers behind us kept going on the cut-through.  Soon the second place runner fell back and I was right behind the leader.  Then we noticed a group of people doubling back on us as if they were in the lead.  When that group finished they realized they only ran 2 plus miles which must have been a huge letdown.  They thought they had amazing time results until they realized they were told to run the wrong way.  Once it was sorted out, they awarded first place to the guy in front of me (who I know was the first place winner) and awarded me second place.  But I have no idea what my real time was because of the screw up and because my running app crashed on me during the first mile.  Either way it was fun to run with everyone and to be able to cheer them on when they approached the finish line.  Slagle finished right behind me and I think Ashley and Cessquatch may have been the next ones to cross the finish line.  

There's most of the group after the race.  Octavis had to go to rugby practice and Shawny cheated and cut the course short so she could go home.

Sean and Ashley agreed to run with me sometime if I would play racquetball with them.  When the race came up it was the perfect time for all of us to run so on Wednesday I had to play racquetball.  The last time I played racquetball I was 16 and even if you're not a mathematician  you know that's a long time ago.  Ashley and Sean play 2 or 3 times each week and they are half my age.  I figured I was in for a beating.  

They led me to the athletic center like a lamb to slaughter.  I borrowed a racket and listened as best I could while Sean explained the rules.  We practiced a bit before starting a game they called "cut-throat" where all three of us played at the same time.  I was terrible.  Sean seemed confident.  I got hit by the ball a couple of times and Sean cracked me in the head with his racket, but eventually I started to get more comfortable.  Once I learned how to serve the tide turned.  Sean led us all until the final few minutes.  
 Once I started seeing the racket as a hammer, I was fine.  The ball makes a wonderful sound when you smack it as hard as you can.  

 Colleen watched through the glass and made these photos for us.  This one is my favorite.  it shows the two college students realizing they are about to be defeated by an old man.  The look on Ashley's face is priceless.  The final scores were:  me = 22 Sean = 20 Ashley = 16 or 18.

The celebration was short lived though.  After the game I had to go running and I could already tell my legs were going to be sore.  Then I had to change clothes and go install a public sculpture.

 Haley (H-Dawg) made this "Gear Tree" interactive sculpture for the Therapeutic Riding Trail at the Burton Center.  There was a mishap due to wind on installation day and the gears needed some rethinking.  Haley was able to find acrylic sheets and have a friend zap them with a CNC machine over the summer.  She painted all the parts over the last few weeks and we reinstalled the sculpture Wednesday.  The gears actually work and the acrylic will not break down.  This more colorful version is much better than before.

Late last night I loaded 5 sculptures in the truck and after class today I drove them to Columbia to the 701 Center for Contemporary Art.  Thankfully they had an elevator.  These 5 guys will be in the South Carolina Biennial 2013 exhibit Nov 7 through Dec 22.  

Maybe next week I'll get a nap.

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