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

[no longer] !

June 25, 2009 at 6:19 am

1) I am drawing? It is good. I am engaged, staying up late, forgetting to eat. (That doesn’t sound good, but it’s better than getting distracted by making cookies.) It looks like a house? Kind of, getting there.

advancing the drawing

The way that this happened was that Andrew OOO came over and sat at my second desk tonight, we drew at the same time. THANK YOU AO. (That also means that both my desks are cleared off. Also, not coincidentally, the floor is clear of clothes and the cat litter is freshly changed. This is a big deal.)

2) Yes, I am more or less where I was at 11 months ago.

I think that’s okay? or at least it’s gotta be.

3) Yes, this is the print series print #2. all right. it is, for real, happening.

4) And, francis d.k. ching‘s Building Construction Illustrated is the best book ever. Clearest explanation of everything he explains, of anybody I’ve ever seen. Plus the whole thing is HAND LETTERED. god damn.

5) best acronyms of “out of order” sticker:

messes up the formica

medical condition

band name?

colloquial translation

so they cheered Muntadhar al-Zaidi

somewhat overblown operatic production


my favorite.

thanks to cross-country internet architect friend Eric for the [brackets]!

old photos

June 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Well, I’ve been out of town for 22 days, off and on, since May 17th; of the past five and a half weeks, I’ve been gone for three of them. Yikes.

So, I haven’t gotten much done work-wise, and I’ve felt overwhelmed by trying to write about anything on this updates page. A lot has been going on: we had a family reunion (my mom’s father’s side of the family) in Maryland, I visited family & friends in Philadelphia and my brother Dan in New York. I returned to Providence May 27th and then headed up to Worcester for the weekend a couple of days later. On the way there, I got a call from my mom letting me know that my gran (my dad’s mother Jean, my namesake) had been taken into the hospital in a coma with a cerebral hemorrhage & was not expected to survive. Other than slowly progressing alzheimer’s & resultant short-term memory loss, my gran had been in pretty great physical health, so this was very unexpected and sudden.

photos of my grandmother Jean, c. 1940-41

I had just spent a lot of time with her in Philadelphia, walking around and talking outdoors in beautiful gardens and sunlight… so I didn’t rush back down there to be at the bedside (my mom and dad and brother were there sitting with her for much of the time she was in the hospital). She passed away two days later, still in the coma, pretty peacefully and painlessly, apparently.

I’ve been thinking about her a lot in the past month, obviously, and about life and memory and history and families and all that stuff… I’m not going to write too much about it here right now, but it has been an intense time. Even before she died, we had already made a plan with other family members to meet up in Dallas, Texas (where my dad and his brothers grew up, and where my gran had lived since 1954) to start sorting out stuff in her house. She had moved up to Philadelphia (where my parents are) on kind of short notice in February of this year, after she started to have some health problems that made it more hazardous for her to live on her own. There hadn’t really been a chance to bring any of her stuff (besides her cat Smokey, clothes, and some family photos) from Texas. We were planning to gather stuff that she might like (furniture, paintings, etc) so she could have them with her at the assisted-living place where she was living.

After she died, our trip to Dallas turned into more of a memorial and a remembrance trip. It was really great to have time to spend with that side of our family, since there are not many of us and we rarely see each other. We also started cleaning out Gran’s house in earnest. It was super full: from ordinary stuff like paid bill receipts and the tax returns from 1955… to discoveries like the box of letters between her and our granddad from world war II, which she had told us she’d destroyed. Also treasures like old drafting tools from my granddad and his stepdad, beautiful plaid shirts that I remember my gran wearing (and have now adopted), Kennedy & LBJ pins, a McGovern campaign poster…

The best part was seeing all the photos that I had never, ever seen before: pictures of my gran as a young girl, a champion swimmer in their local swim league (1930s swimsuits, oh man), as a young wife and mother… pictures of my dad & his brothers growing up, cute boys with buzz cuts in the 50s and early 60s (with the added treat that, as a teenager, before he grew his beard, my dad looked *just* like me!)…. my granddad as a very handsome young man with a high Morrissey-style puff of hair. We don’t know anything about my great-grandfather, since he abandoned his family when my granddad was three years old, but we found a whole photo album of pictures of him as a young man (with the same sticky-out ears that my 17-year-old cousin has), hanging out and going on road trips with his friends around 1913-14. His nickname? What else but “Coz”.

There were many more family memories & stories that came up… and all the implications of beginning to clean up & sort out a house full of the stuff that is the physical record of someone’s life. This is very intense for me to think about: I have a lot of stuff, I accumulate a lot of stuff, I make a lot of stuff. I guess I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around the meaning and importance of objects, records, physical ephemera… or around why it is so important, so meaningful, but at the same time so light and fragile. Incoherent thoughts — I will try & complete them at some point in the future.

This past weekend found me again in Philadelphia for a memorial service for my Gran (and I also got to attend my brother’s girlfriend’s little brother’s bar mitzvah!). Now I’m back in Providence, trying to finally get organized, and do some serious work of drawing and printing. It’s been damp & humid here, pretty gray… the sun occasionally breaks through, but the weather isn’t helping my generally low emotions that much. What does help, though: bike riding, helping out at my friends’ CSA farm where I am doing a work-share, being outside… and I’m sure getting some work accomplished will help as well, when that finally starts happening.

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