Archive for September, 2010

I have had a lot of people ask me if I am sad when I sell a drawing. I always find this a ridiculous question and want to ask them if they ever tell their boss not to pay them because they enjoy their job. Fortunately I love my job and I get paid for it. If I never sold work  I could never pay the rent on the studio or buy supplies. Plus I would end up like the Collyer Brothers with thousands of papers stacked floor to ceiling. I want my work out in the world, in homes, in museums, etc.

I have to admit though I will miss this drawing a bit. I sold it last night to my teammate and friend Blossom, hence the title, “Boston for Blossom.”

I gave you previews of this drawing some months back. “Boston for Blossom”  traces, literally, my rehab runs after breaking my foot in 2009, (my first major running injury) up to the 2010 Boston Marathon. It is a 7 month journey beginning with  alternating 400 meters walk/ run on a soccer field, to 22 mile runs along Manhattan’s west side many months later.

The process is very simple, but  time consuming. After my run, which I wear my garmin 305. I download my data to my Gramin Training Center, from there I upload the data to garmin connect. I output the mileage from garmin connect to google earth. I hook my computer up to a video projector and project the maps onto the large 60″ x 44″ paper on my wall, 10 feet away. I  draw over the map lines with either black, red, pink watercolor or pencil. Track work is almost always red, tempo runs usually pink and long runs black. Pencil, put in there for extra texture are recovery runs. Yes there are a couple of black loops on the track and this does not include every mile I ran for those seven months. But it does include the most important ones.

Blossom came and got the drawing last night and it is on it ways to Dot at Rabbet Framing in NJ. They are my favorite framer in the metropolitan area having framed over 30 pieces for me in the last couple of years, including one over 120″ long.

I now have room on my big wall to start a new long-term drawing. This one will be methodically color coded and include ever single mile I run from October 1 on. I am not sure of the end date but I have an exhibition in March that it could show up in.  I will also do a few “one-off’s” that is drawing that are of a single time run or race.

When you get sick of those terrible Brightroom photos and want to commemorate your race or your training in a high art kind of way, impress your friends with your athleticism and culture, call me, perhaps we can make a deal and you can have your very own GPS drawing.

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The Tunnel of Death

Two weeks ago I decided to give up my metrocard and travel only by bike. This is probably the best decision I made all year. I ride back and forth over the Manhattan or Williamsburg bridges to go to work, uptown to meet friends, anywhere I want to go. Today I had some business cards to pick up in Queens, about a 25 mile detour, between my home in Manhattan and my job in Brooklyn.

I ride a 10-year-old Giant mountain bike. I bought this bike when I lived in Taiwan. While it is nothing special, it is the only one of it’s kind in the states so I have a special fondness for it. I also love the disc brakes because I can ride in the rain and not skid out. But it is heavy and slow and nothing like being on a road bike.

This morning I rode up First Avenue to get to the 59th Street Bridge to Queens. For several blocks I passes 100’s of security people and vehicles because the UN General Assembly is in session. This includes Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and when he is here it seems like a  whole other level of security.  I get to 39th street and giant dump trucks line every side passage to block pedestrians. I had figured I could walk my bike when the streets got cut off but I was wrong. There were two cops in the middle of the street so I ask them if there is any solution to getting around. The cop looks at me and say, “well you can double back and go up second ave” (second avenue is one way going south, I am going north meaning I would not only have to double back several blocks, but as he suggested, I would have to ride against traffic for the next 20 blocks) OR “you can ride through the tunnel of death.” At first  I think he is joking. The tunnel runs from about 39th to 45th street bypassing the UN buildings for security sake.  The tunnel is completely dark-no lights,  two lanes, no shoulder and numerous signs saying “DO NOT  enter on foot or on bike.” Obviously this is illegal. I look at him again and he say’s “I bet you $5 you can make it though the tunnel of death before the cars come.” Then he yells, “GO!” and his partner yells “GO!” I have no lights, no reflectors, and no clearly no brains. At the sound of “GO” I take off like a freaking mad-women into the tunnel of death.

I am riding  my slow-ass mountain bike as fast and hard as I can to get through the tunnel before I am road kill. Then I hear this huge “woooosshhhh” of the speeding cars enter the tunnel behind me. “Oh Crap, oh crap, oh crap.” I am 2/3rd through, it is so dark I can’t see more than 20 feet, there is no way the cars see me. I am pedaling as fast as I possibly can. For a moment I think about how much money I have in my pocket; the cop can pull out his $5 from my flattened dead body. I seriously thought that. I thought about waving my arms to help the cars see me. But I just hit the pedals as hard as I possibly could until I reached the light at the end of the tunnel. Despite riding as hard as I possibly could, I strangely did not feel a bit of pain or burning in my legs or body.  It was not until I had crossed 59th street and was in the middle of the Queensborough Bridge that I realized how much my chest hurt as I think I took my lungs to a whole new level of oxygen intake. I had so much adrenaline going with my fear of getting run over that I never felt a thing.

I made it through the “Tunnel of Death” but that was one of the stupidest things I did all year. All it takes is someone to yell “go” and I  take off. I am just glad I lost the bet, he won, he said I could make it through before the cars and I did.

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