boxing, and blocking

a fresh pile of tiny sawhorses

I want to share a recent interaction that I had with you. As some of you know, I am moving across the country in about a month, and I have been actively looking for people who are throwing away large and medium moving boxes. I see no reason to pay $5 per box to move. I scour the alleyways and dumpsters like the garbage day bums of San Diego so often do. Anyway, the other day I was riding my bike down my street and noticed the front porch of a neighbor that was covered in used flattened heavy duty moving boxes, as well as a pile of garbage bags full of packing materials… Jackpot! I knocked on the door and when no one answered, I left a note, asking them to “call me and I will take those old boxes off of your hands if you are getting rid of them”. Two days went by and I had all but forgotten about them when I received a call from the homeowner…

The woman who called, at first sounded sick, or maybe a lifelong heavy smoker: a kind of raspy and down and out tone in her voice. However, I quickly found that it was not the sound of a sick person, but instead, a woman who had clearly been crying, nay, sobbing, until very recently. She asked if I was the one who had left the note, and excitedly, I said that I was. Here comes the tragic part… She then proceeded to begin crying again, and explained to me that the home had belonged to her parents for 50 years, she had lived there with them as a child. It was now hers, and it was being foreclosed on. she had no place to go and had no idea what to do. her parents had left her this house, and she was now losing it. The boxes, as it turned out, had been dropped off on her porch weeks before by whoever owned or was about to own the house, and she just could not bring herself to pack up her and her parent’s possessions.

Stunned, I attempted to console this distraught woman while masking my surprise not only at her openness and emotional state, but at the fact that she bothered to call me at all. It was clear that this person had no one to talk to about this. she told me the whole story. Saddened and a apologetic, I ended the call with well wishes and a “sorry” and sat for a moment thinking about what had just happened. What a tragic situation. The stranger down the street is being kicked out of her home, her parents home, her family’s house, and has no where to go and no one to talk to.

Now, I have no knowledge of why this is happening. She could be a real deadbeat, she could be a drug addict, she could have been lying. No matter what the circumstances, this encounter made me sad. she was so distraught that she completely opened up to a stranger on the phone who had had the nerve to ask if he could have her old cardboard.

Yesterday, as I pulled onto my road, I passed two police cars parked in front of the house, the officers consoling a woman sitting hunched on the front stoop. I don’t know the circumstances here either but I can only imagine things are not going smoothly for this woman. When she had asked me why i needed boxes, I had felt a twinge of guilt as I explained that I was moving from my great apartment, to a new town on the opposite side of the country to begin a fantastic new job and phase in my life. My good fortune suddenly put into tragic perspective. “I’m sorry, I don’t know where you will go. Good luck.” sad.

Sorry to bring you down but this was a fantastically strange and powerful experience for me.

In other news, I’m currently working on little project in the studio as I gear up for a few final shows and a big move.First, as I showed above, I made a pile of tiny sawhorses…

These are for my installation at Art Produce. Aside from two larger pieces from my MFA thesis exhibition, the show features a spotting scope at a viewing station pointing out the window of the gallery and affixed on a site in the distance where I place a gaggle of these little sawhorses, to be viewed from afar.

setting up the scope

the initial batch were swiped pretty quickly during my opening, so I decided to let them steal them and make enough to replace them. quantity over quality.

Here are some children and their mother laughing at my work. “look children, arts”

My other funny little studio project is a big batch of building blocks (alliteration completely unintentional) for a project for the San Diego Museum Art’s Summer Salon Series. I will be showing on Thursday August 11th and the piece will also be displayed at the Horton Plaza on the 13th. both one time showings. The blocks are a part of a reinterpretation of an earlier piece (seen earlier here), in response to the question “what does a city need?” asked by the shows curators. This series is show along side the museum’s summer-long show of the work of Gustav Stickley. His theories on societal and architectural ideals are the basis for the Salon Series’ theme. I’m really excited about this brief exhibit. Last year’s were impressive and it seems like this year they have created a more cohesive show schedule around a really interesting topic. If you want to see what I have come up with, you will have to come out on the 11th. check it out at their website…

this was a part of an installation at the most recent Salon, and this was another part of that…

my hat has a tree on it. there are trees everywhere.

now for your enjoyment… this:

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “boxing, and blocking

  1. Wendy Maruyama

    man that’s a weird story. You could probably do a whole series of short stories theorizing on what exactly happened here.

  2. tragedy is real. it is not merely the stuff of fiction. we should be constantly reminded of this.
    thanks for sharing.

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