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August 9, 2015

Space to Make the Things, Drew Ludwig, ’15Photo

by drewludwig
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The internship is going swimmingly. Backstroking at the moment and checking out the view of the summer so far. I am about halfway through. I have no return ticket to Providence, so I can take a bit longer to help the arts along around here. Maybe the rest of my life? Whoa commitment coming from someone who as been associated with such figures as Peter Pan and other mythical creatures whom practice the art of levity. Grad school turned me into more of an aspiring Dorthy from the land of OZ and you could kind of make the analogy that every art project I worked up over those two years at RISD was a little click of the red art shoes. There is no place like home … there is no place like home. 
 
The red shoe enemy … wicked witch of high rent
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Ok so I am here and trying my best to change the world through art but it is tough. Silly tough and requires me to think about it all day long. It is in every conversation and in every dream and rarely do I find myself thinking about much of anything beyond art, community and how I should be eating healthier food as last nights hot and sour soup from Shanghai Palace is really doing a number of me. URG I think MSG stands for “My Stomach Gurts.” That is a new word that combines gurgle and hurt. The really hard part is finding the space where I can transfer the thoughts into the things (art objects). Of course deep deep down I don’t think the things matter as much as the making of the things, but you still need space for process. We have plenty of space in town for the showcasing of the things at the linear end of artistic production: galleries, showrooms, large empty second homes, pop up galleries, murals, coffee shops, stages and an insane amount of theatres. We need more places for the making of the things and preferably in town as this is vital to our sense of self; our sense of community. And it only makes sense that something so vital should immenate from the core or center of town.
 
Photo of MSG kind of looks like fiberglass cocaine
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The printer I purchased is really really really sexy. 1500 pounds of metal and mysterious moving parts. I took a class at AS220 on the offset press in May once I heard I would have the money, thanks to the Maharam Fellowship, to bring a press to my home town where we (myself and the arts community) could start an underground arty art rag. Think of a world that is somehow better than the one we live in and then condense that into an ink through a process of your choice and then put that on newsprint repeatedly and distribute to the masses. This is what the Dumbsaint (working title) shall be. I can’t tell you exactly what it will be because it isn’t yet. The first step was to have the idea, the next step was to find the monies, then came learning of the machine, finding the machine and now I am on to uncovering the space where the machine and all the accompanying parts will rest and await whatever it is we decide to print. Back to the pressing issue (pun intended) and that is my search for a studio.
 
AB DICK offset printing press before and after
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Before I jump into that, I would love to tell you about the press. Here it is in all its glory before and after I wrapped it in beautiful black cellophane. Yes I think it is amazing as an object just sitting in a room but especially when cloacked. I am tempted to just ship it to Telluride and let it sit in a large space with lights on it. There is something amazing about it as a potential; kind of like Christmas morning if you are into the whole Jesus birthday thing. I kind of wanted to wrap everything in that warehouse. The warehouse is in Sacramento, CA and Telluride is in southwest CO. These two locations are separated by three enormous geologic features. The Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin desert and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 1200 miles along America’s “Lonliest Highway.” What could possibly go wrong? Nothing a little fossil fuel can’t overcome. The goal was to annhilate the time and space between myself and the press, unite and then travel back to Telluride together. Simple enough; find a car (I had one), a hitch (a friend had one that fit my car), a trailer (another friend had one) and some gas money (thank you Maharam) and the rest should take care of itself. The details uncovered after further consideration included lights for the trailer (youtube research suggested a $200 wire and a half day for install), the potential weight of the press (I wouldn’t know until I got there) vs the carrying capacity of the trailer (designed to carry an atv) and the good neighbor rule of returning everything you borrow (the trailer’s bearings would cost $200 to repack) in better shape than you found it. The logistics looked anything but easy. Not wanting to convince myself this was all a horrible idea taken way too far, I quickly hopped in the car with not much besides a hitch. Maybe I would buy a trailer when I got there? Maybe I would rent a uhaul trailer, maybe I would drive it to the middle of the desert and leave it for the vultures. Anything was possible and this felt like the right way to begin.
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Long story and many miles cut very short … there was no way my car could pull the press back to Colorado at the speeds I demanded. The good news is that there was no way any shipping company would pick it up unless I had been there to take off all the little nobby things, load up the excess parts into my car and bolt the monster to an oversized pallet. I wrestled that beast for six hours getting it ready for shipment and managed to loose only a few fresh layers of skin from my knuckles that had recently been exfoliated by that little bike accident I mentioned in the last post. Blood was spilt again! LIke a champaign bottle across the bow there are now drops of red on the offset.  
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So now I am back in Telluride looking under every rock for a place to have this press delivered. I am working with Telluride Arts, the internship, to locate space for not only myself but other artists in similar situations. I have met with the town about a few under used public biuldings as well as every commercial property owner and broker in town. I am not saying it is dire but I am currently pricing out building a subfloor in a friends dirt floor basement and looking into the medical draw backs of prolonged exposure to radon (an imperceptable form of radiation that creeps up through the ground) and offset printing inks. A lovely combo when considering martyrdom for the arts. 
 
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So stay tuned as I look for the space to make the arts. Also I will be putting on another party in the Transfer Space I spoke of in the first blog to raise more money in late August for the future maker spaces. First round was 20k … curious if we can do it again? Again and again until we have just enough to secure a permeant space free from radon and rodents for beastly offset presses and other art making machines. 

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