right now!     ian g. cozzens updates, news, photos, and thoughts

a short two day project

October 17, 2007 at 11:23 pm

…that has nothing to do with any of the other projects, except that it’s pushing the photocopy-collage-for-generating-form strategy, and it’s an easy way to get back into sitting at my desk, drawing, cutting stuff up, and working quietly. The best part of tonight was when Buio (the cat) jumped up on the desk and knocked apart the careful, rectilinear arrangement I had laid all the pieces out in. I was initially frustrated, but then after he got down and I looked at the patterns again, I quickly taped everything into place just as he had skewed it. Cat! so much better of a graphic designer than I am!

The idea of using this specific pattern (a relatively mundane one, the origin of which I will not reveal here…) to make further patterns was stolen from Scott Work/Death. He’s been on tour for almost two months now, and when I found another box with this pattern on it and remembered our earlier conversation about how rad it was… I couldn’t resist. I am sure that when he gets around to making his own pattern out of it, it will be completely different, so I’m not worried about stepping on toes here.

silkscreen studio at NUA…

October 17, 2007 at 11:00 pm

The new washout sink, next to the regular sink: previously there were two slop sinks (like the right hand one) in a different part of the studio — over a wood floor. The screens didn’t fit into the sink, water went all over the floor, and all over whoever was using the nearby sink for photo washing. (Now the photo darkroom has its own sink — in the dark! The photographers are happy [see below…].) This part of the studio used to be the kitchen for a restaurant that was here previously, so we took advantage of the tile floor to make a rugged cleanup area.

the washout sink

We also no longer have to pick up water in yogurt containers and splash it over the screens: innovation!

hose with sprayer head

Inside the silkscreen darkroom:

New screen coating table, built by Pete. Squeegees have their own shelf, on the left.

screen coating table

Storage shelves for ink and other supplies (no longer in the basement!)

shelves piled high with ink & supplies

The light table, which finally has a table of its own.

light table with foam cushions

Darkened screen storage is below this table, behind a dark curtain. The rack behind it provides storage for other screens.

Last but not least: one of the happy photographers, mentor Erik Gould! (if he doesn’t look happy, it’s because his hat is falling off…)

erik gould with a nice hat on

New Urban Arts 2007-2008…

October 12, 2007 at 11:13 pm

…has now begun! This now 10-year-old project, an art studio for high school students and young artists in Providence, is well-described on its web site: [link], where there can now be found this yet-again-revised ‘bio’ of myself, since I am one of the artist mentors there this year:

Jean Cozzens is a poster maker, silkscreen printer, and emerging
architect. She is originally from Philadelphia, PA, has now lived in
Providence for 8 formative years, and can occasionally be found in
Worcester, MA. Her many projects include: helping facilitate
participatory art installations, collaboratively rebuilding a
collective kitchen, persistently researching the architecture of
everyday spaces, making screenprints of all shapes and sizes,
practicing ways of interacting that undermine destructive power
relationships, and mentoring at New Urban Arts! Jean has received a
merit fellowship in design from the Rhode Island State Council for the
Arts and is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, where she
studied Architecture and Fine Arts. This is her third year at NUA.

Writing a bio is always difficult, even though the goal is to express what you are about, it always sounds somewhat forced. (Since this one is for the NUA web site, the next-to-last sentence is included at their request…)

Over the summer, the NUA studio underwent some renovations, including constructing an and expanded black & white photography darkroom, and a totally new silkscreen darkroom! I had the interesting experience of being the ‘client’ as my friend Adrienne served as the ‘architect’ for the new spaces — I’m not sure if she was pleased or not to have a client who knew how to read a drawing and made last-minute changes (in colored pencil) to the wiring diagram, a day or two before the electricians showed up. We definitely didn’t do that as an affront to Adrienne’s knowledge or prerogative as the designer — we did it because we knew that a certain arrangement of switches and outlets would make sense for the darkroom’s needs: a non-UV safe light (switch close to the door), a regular light for occasional cleanup (switch further away from the door), an outlet for the light table that is next to it instead of directly above it, and an outlet for a ventilation fan that is switched to go on with the safe light. We might not have been very good clients in that we didn’t know how to articulate these needs ahead of time — but Adrienne was a great architect in that she didn’t get territorial about it, but let us speak from our bases of knowledge to make the space more intuitively functional.

Various mentors and volunteers have also been doing a lot of the finish work on the space, if it can be called that — it’s still pretty rough, though luxurious compared to where the screenprinting facilities were previously housed. Andrew, working with some students, laid the vinyl tiles for the floor. Kate, Andrew, Jack and I retrofitted a sturdy metal table into a dual-purpose light-table-table and coated-screen-storage-rack. Our friend Pete came in and built a narrow table for coating screens. Andrew and students did a bunch of finish plaster work and painting. Jack and I built a rack for storing screens. I put up shelves for ink and materials… Now all the mentors & staff that will be using the silkscreen setup are working together to figure out some new ‘protocols’ for printing and for keeping the screens organized, so we can all be on the same page working in this awesome space…

It is a vast improvement over NUA’s screenprinting setup from the past two years, where you had to go into a dark and flood-prone corner of the moldy basement to coat screens kneeling on the floor, then sit in the basement on the light table for 10 minutes, while dust and grit fell on your head from the the floor above, while the screen was exposing. You also had to go into the basement to turn on our old high-pressure hose, then climb up a scary, dark bulkhead door into a gravel alley (where the neighbors’ dogs’ poop would go un-picked-up for days or weeks) to wash out your screens.

Now: you can stand up to coat screens, and there is a safe place to put them to keep them dark and dry while they cure. You still have to sit on the light table for 10 minutes, but it’s up in the main space, so people will hang out & talk with you, and it’s not cold, damp, or gross anymore. We also have a really, really nice washout sink, with a light on the wall behind its translucent back, and a hose that turns on right next to the sink, with a sprayer head that won’t spray water all over the place and get you wet!

It’s hard to remember sometimes how mediocre & crummy the situation was just five months ago, when I was printing the 10th anniversary poster. When I look back on the past month and a half, since I finished the ‘windows’ print at the end of August, it sometimes doesn’t seem like I’ve done that much, since I don’t have any new finished prints. But using the new NUA studio this first week of programs, and seeing how easy it is for other people to use, I’ve realized that a lot of my energy has been going into making the studio really good. It’s still in progress, and I know that a lot of stuff will get changed around, systems modified and adapted, etc, as the year goes on. I’m still really proud of the progress we’ve made so far, and especially of the process we’ve gone through, planning, negotiating, discussing, advocating for inches or feet in one direction or the other… another facet of the constant conversation that makes up the daily practice of New Urban Arts.

I’ll have some pictures of the new space here soon. I’m at the studio, 743 Westminster St, Providence (across from Classical & Central high schools), Tuesdays from 3-7 pm, if you want to stop by and say hi and check out some silkscreen process.

Print series update: all the ‘lost’ posters have been found. I’m waiting for Priority Mail tubes and then I will re-send lost ones, and send out prints to the couple of new far-away subscribers. There are about 8 subscriptions left, if you’re still interested in subscribing, contact me!

Right now I’m working on: getting stuff cleaned up and re-organized around the studio here, helping my friends tear down and rebuild their kitchen, finishing up some old projects and commissions, finding a server that doesn’t crash twice a day, printing some wedding invitation envelopes for Black Cat Graphics, getting photo documentation of my work from the past two years, rebuilding the rest of the website and finally creating a good image gallery…

… so the next print in the series is kind of put to the side for now. I have to tie up a bunch of these loose ends to give myself space in my head to think about it… when most of them are tied up, I can begin working on it again. I’m hoping to get it done in a mad push through late October, November, and mid-December…

We’ll see!

more pictures from the Magic City

October 7, 2007 at 7:49 pm

photos on flickr: building a city

community building day: working on the city in worcester

photos on flickr: cardboard buildings

photos from our installation this spring at the Dirt Palace window.


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