Ever carved a woodblock for a print? Let’s just say it’s not the easiest thing you could choose to spend several evenings a week putting your visually tuned/technically apt side to work. It hurts, strains some seldom-used muscles. Most printmakers today work in linoleum or by more automated means.
Which makes it, well, more valuable to my thinking, more interesting. I got the chance to try my hand at it (pictured below) in a sit-down with Nashville printmaker Martin Cadieux (picture, immediately below and right) at his place a couple weeks back and carved out several of the lines in the letters in the t – h – e – 2 – n – d – h – a – n – d logo/mast type stylization, with an All Hands On twist, that Martin’s put together to go along with a special collection of past broadsheets we’ll be offering as one of many bonus gifts with donations toward publishing our 10th-anniversary book, slated for the spring, via a Kicksarter.com program we’ll be launching later in November. (It follows with our upcoming, 35th broadsheet, featuring a story from “All Hands On” by Chicago writer Michael Zapata.) Essentially, Martin’s designed and carved a block for printing a set of 30 special envelopes for the packaging of the collection. They’ve turned out nicely, as you can see in the lead photo above. I met Martin when I happened to be tabling next to him at the last of the Walden Artisan Market events at Chapel/Eastland in East Nashville, shortly after I moved to the neighborhood. I couldn’t have been seated next to a more appropriate artist, to say the least. Stay tuned for more about the book.
TUESDAY: Chicago folks, don’t miss our newly reconstituted “Nerves of Steel” event — at a venue that couldn’t be better, the Hungry Brain. Details about the second installment at the venue here: http://the2ndhand.com/events/events.html.
And FRIDAY: Atlantans, myself and THE2NDHAND contributor/Keyhole mag editor Gabe Durham, along with Missuer Andy Devine, will be reading as part of the Solar Anus reading series there, curated by among others Mr. Jamie Iredell, whom you’ll remember from a mini-sheet of somewhat recent vintage. I’ll be reading from some of the ongoing work I’ve been posting in fragments here. Speaking of which.
Work in progress:
Charlotte wasn’t exactly all open arms and jubilation for me, in essence. All the same, the context for my return afforded entrée into a world I’d never known there. The ramshackle structures into which I was thrown as member of a NASCAR pit crew–socially, I mean, structures of meeting and greeting near nonexistent, a man a man not if he had the wits to outsmart Zeus but rather if he had the physical strength to best whatever foe happened to be standing in his way, whether three-foot concrete wall, rival for a woman’s affections or unemployed former tire carrier–carried enough a priori respect to make it fun to worry about keeping oneself fed and clothed and suited. A little fun, anyway. Not that the last required much worrying.
By the end of the week I was signing a $900 month-to-month lease on an apartment in a mixed-use building downtown. My neighbor to the immediate south on the hall was a young lawyer whose apartment was also his office, likewise the folks across the hall, a pair of former college roommates from Rock Hill, just past my hometown on the south side of the border, who’d gone in together on a graphic design business, building websites and such. The elder of them — Rob Rene was his name — was the artist of the pair, and I found out he was a race fan when I ran into him loading some stuff in Friday: bed from my mom’s, which I tied to the roof of Tacklebox’s Ford, some clothes. After I gave him my brief intro spiel, he sort of exclaimed, “I’m standing here in my own apartment talking to a bona fide member of a Cup pit crew whose background is in performance art?”
“And fryer art, too,” I said.
“My life just got a lot more interesting.” And he was off to find his roommate/business partner, Matt Caudill, who was strangely less outgoing than Rene. One always assumes the more sales-oriented person will have the people skills. It’s not always true.
But Matt was a fan, too, and came at me with a myriad of questions I had no answers for other than those directed at sussing out the real qualities of the job, many of which I was too new still to really know all that well. I could sense his disappointment. “Check back with me a month from now,” I said, and he nodded.
“Dover this week?” Matt knew the schedule.
Indeed it was – I was getting on a plane with several other of the guys, including Tacklebox, tonight for Delaware, and the relatively short track, after the mammoth Talladega, presented great opportunity for Bascombe to shine, to hear the crew chief talk about it all week long as a sort of pep-talk refrain to we team members: “Team Bascombe rules the shorts,” Huggins echoed that pep talk on a sports talking heads television program Thursday night that I’d caught at a less-than-lively but not quite lonely downtown bar. When Huggins came on the feature program, the bartender, in response to the shouted pleas of several men at a big table in back of the place, shut down the house music so all could hear the man’s strategy talk, which consisted of less actually talking strategy so much as talking around strategy with platitudes like the one above for the host, who joked and in only a minor way cajoled his path through the majority of the interview; he was ultimately the takeaway for viewers, or most of them, anyway. I didn’t think much of the silliness, but did at least perk up at the mention of “personnel changes, particularly in the pit crew area” in a question from the interviewer about Bascombe’s perceived good chances on Sunday.
Huggins, from whom I’d only gotten a sort of all-business attitude to date, here turned on some performer’s charm and “didn’t exactly regret the decision to fire my son,” he said, “since we’ve really shuffled the team around for the better, with an addition of a fantastic young tire carrier — who’s also quite a good driver, I understand, great addition to the team nonetheless, not the error of judgment I may have thought it was at the get-go.”
This was me he was talking about, of course.