History: Citywide Studios Part 6

An ongoing description of my two years living in an art studio warehouse 2001-2003

But the events with public attendance were rare. Usually Citywide Studios was only populated by the artists who lived or worked there. The rough neighborhood and the resulting security measures prevented causal visits. It was a place that required effort to get into.

The building occupied the corner of Pierce and 15th Avenue. The parking lot was entered from the Pierce street side. Getting into the lot meant pulling up to a massive barred gate, kept locked at all times. Opening the gate was a strictly manual process-it meant getting out of your vehicle, using keys to open the lock, pushing the gate along its track of rollers, getting back into the car and pulling into the lot, and then hurrying back to roll the gate closed, and locking it.

The parking spaces were literally at our doorsteps. I’d get out of my van 3 steps from my door.


History: Citywide Studios Part 5

An ongoing description of my two years living in an art studio warehouse 2001-2003

The 2/3 of the room I made my working studio filled many additional functions. On of the primary uses was display space.

For many of the months I lived there, I signed up to be part of the First Friday gallery tour. Buses would come and deliver patrons to tour my studio.

For these events I would clear as much as possible out of the front space ahead of time.  I’d mop the cement floor with Spic and Span, and 409 the heck out of the bathroom.

I hung a new exhibit of work every month, originally my own, but in time I expanded to include guest artists as well.

In addition to First Fridays, every spring a weekend arts festival was held called Art Detour. Then I would be open all day Saturday and Sunday as well.


History: Citywide Studios Part 4

An ongoing description of my two years living in an art studio warehouse 2001-2003
The barred security door to my unit, and my own heavy exterior door, were orange-the color of ambition. And I was ambitious. Where others would see a rudimentary living space plunked down in the ghetto, I saw the  fulfillment of a dream to dedicate my whole lifestyle to painting and art.

The scary local populace, primitive facilities and seasonal discomforts meant nothing compared to the excitement of have 2/3 of my home as studio space.
In the final 1/3 of the room is where I crammed all my non-art possessions, discretely separated from the studio by a partition assembled from bookshelves and cabinets.

In time in my back room I obtained a loft bed and installed my computer table beneath it. I had a double burner hot plate to cook on. I had a coffee pot and an electric kettle for endless cups of tea. I even ended up getting a 5′ refrigerator/freezer, which enabled more home cooking.

I had a TV on a rolling rack, a VCR, and one big chair for lounging purposes. The stereo was out in the studio. The uncomfortable futon I had arrived with devolved from serving as the bed to a couch, then to an outside couch, then to the dumpster.

to be continued

History: Citywide Studios Part 3

An ongoing description of my two years living in an art studio warehouse 2001-2003

My unit of the building was one big open room, probably about 15′ x 35′, if I remember correctly. Some day I’ll have to confirm that.

Cement floor. 20′ high ceilings with immense exposed wooden rafters. A little half bath was walled off  in one corner, and an industrial sink installed in the main room. A swamp cooler provided the only climate control. No heat, and no air conditioning in the Arizona summer. Very challenging.

The shower was in the unit next door. To get there I had to walk outside through the parking lot and use keys to open a barred gate and heavy exterior door. That shower was well secured.

Inside the shower room it was well tiled, with lots of colors and whimsical chunks of broken ceramic sculptures incorporated into the walls. The whole building in fact was painted in bright colors. It reflected the style of the landlady.

to be continued

History: Citywide Studios Part 1

From 2001-2003 my home was a warehouse studio space in downtown Phoenix. A friend stated that I lived in a shed.

The rent was only $230 a month, which allowed me to go part time at my corporate job. I worked three 10 hour days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday) in the most depressing role I’ve ever held-credit card retention. In a cubical, tied to headset, accountable for ever minute of my time. Trying to prevent people from closing out their over-extended credit, or moving away their high interest balances. I shuddered in horror when my company proudly announced customers now owed over a billion dollars in unsecured debt.

Unfortunately I was very effective in this evil pursuit. I’ve always been a very dedicated worker. Good performance gave me leeway with the management; they tolerated my nonconformist appearance and attitudes because my numbers were good.

Away from the job, my life revolved around my art.
-to be continued

Writings: A Sandwich for A Witch by Patricia Janes

It was an early autumn day, as an old raggedy woman strolled away from her home. Her thin, stringy, yellowish grey hair hung loosely around her shoulders as she tightly wrapped her musty, threadbare shawl around her shoulers. Her bulbous, wart covered, long and pointy nose dripped a clear viscous fluid in the bitter wind. Her ashen, paper soupbone -thin arms tugged tighter at the frayed woolen fringes of the woolen shawl. Her knarled grey fingers looked like knobby tree stumps. Despite the cool, chilly air, the old woman had one thing on her mind; lunch.

She was hungry and searching the woods for a meal; a special meal. She heard rumors that the woods were inhabited by juicy young fairies and elves, and she was determined to find one.

It wasn’t long before she found a fairy. She was a thin girl about six years of age; not as hearty and plump as she preferred her meals. “But she’ll d0”, she muttered to herself. Her long chestnut brown hair was tied in the back with a pony tail. Her cheeks and hands were dirty from playing in the leaves. The knees of her flowered print leggings were brown with mud ,and her shoelaces were untied. Before the girl knew what was happening, the hungry old hag lifted the fragile young girl over her shoulder; she dangled like a limp rag over the old woman’s boney shoulder. The brown haired girl was overcome with shock; she was imobilized with fear.

”I must have one of those long tasty hard rolls to complete my sandwich”, she muttered to herself as she walked briskly towards the deli. Inadvertantly she tugged at the girl’s hair as if she were nothing more than a sack of potatoes. “OWWWWW!” yelped the girl.
Within minutes, the old bat was eyeing all the choices behind the counter; tomatoes, pickles, onions. Viscous green drool poured from her salivary glands as she stared at the pasta and potato salads. A fishy odor filled the air with each breath she took.

”May I help you” asked the man at the counter.

”Yes, l’d like a long ,hard , roll, mayo, oregeno, onions and tomato”.

”What meat would you like; turkey, ham or salami, madam.”

”I have my own, thank you.” Turning around towards the frightened girl, she waited impatiently with an open roll in one hand and a salt shaker in the other. “Now if you don’t mind, please step into that roll. Place yourself between the onion and tomato, Then I shall sprinkle some salt and pepper.”

The man strained from the counter to look behind the old woman; seeing nothing he simply shrugged and computed her bill. He suspiciously inspected the credit card she provided. It had an expiration date from 1985. “I am sorry but we cannot accept this card, do you have another” he asked. At that, the old crow became argumentative and threatened to boil him in a pot of steaming brew. Concerned, he called for security. Seeing an opportunity for rescue, she screamed. Immediately, upon arrival, The security guard restrained the old woman and contacted the police. Apparently, the senile, old woman had a habit of wandering away from the nursing home where she lived. It was discovered that she was responsible for the abductions of a handful of other young girls, claiming that she was simply looking for her supper. In her bedroom at the facility, the putrid remains of flesh, greasy fat and bits of bone, as well as slimy strands of assorted colored hair, were recovered from a huge plastic trash bag, stuffed under the bed.
-Patricia Janes